Monday, 31 August 2009
It was a Sunday evening at the end of August and felt like summer was over. My housemates and I were slumped on sofas in need of something to perk us up. Chocolate cake! Bringer of happiness and lovely kitchen smells!
This is the most basic cake recipe based on twice as many ounces of flour, sugar and butter as eggs. I would normally think of food in terms of grammes and kilos but the formula for cakes is so much easier in ounces. It is worth using a good cocoa powder (don't even think about using drinking chocolate - this will result in bad things) and I borrowed a Green and Blacks one from my housemate.
Even though I made the cake itself with margerine I used butter in the icing because I think that the texture of butter is much more noticeable in the icing. Out of laziness I didn't cut greaseproof paper into the shape of the tins to line them but just placed a square of it over the tins and dolloped the mixture in. This resulted in the cakes being a pleasing flower shape and if I'm not planning on icing the sides of a cake (which I hardly ever do anyway) then I will carry on doing it this way.
6oz Golden caster sugar
4oz Self-raising flour
Beat the butter briefly to soften it (don't put it in the microwave to melt it, I've done this and it gives the finished cake a funny texture) then beat in the sugar until its smooth. Add the eggs one by one with a bit of of the flour and cocoa mixture between each one. Properly you should fold the flour in so as not to lose the air created by all that beating but I just stirred it in and the cakes did not seem heavy.
Tear two squares of greaseproof paper, larger than the sandwich tins, and place them on top. Spoon the cake mixture into the middle and spread it out a bit but don't worry about making it reach the edge of the tins, the wobbly edges will be part of their charm.
Bake at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes. If you can't put both tins on the same shelf then swap them over halfway through.
I played this by ear so can't give exact quantities with any confidence but I beat about 75g of butter until it was soft and then added about 200g of icing sugar. At first it looks like this it far too much but keep beating and eventually it will yield to a smooth paste. Then I stirred in 50g of slightly cooled melted dark chocolate.
I know you should wait until cakes are cool before icing them but I couldn't wait and the warmth of the two layers hugging the icing caused it to begin to melt just a tiny bit which emphasised the generally gooey goodness. From now on I'm going to judge cakes according to the volume of 'ooh' they create. This one did well.