Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Happy (if slightly belated) New Year! If any of you have gone back to work this week, you have my sympathy. I went back yesterday and we took down the office decorations and got stuck back into e-mails. It's like Christmas never happened. In order to ease those post-Christmas blues, which crept up on me decidedly early, I bring you my ultimate chocolate cake. It's rich and fudgy and all kinds of awesome. It's not a grown up's chocolate cake. This is a chocolate cake for your inner child. This is the cake to eat before the diet, before you spend the first day back at work guzzling water and blueberries whilst drooling over Foodgawker.

I had a very nice Christmas, it was busy and went far too quickly but it was really good. Now I'm a little sad because it's cold and dark and I have nothing planned to look forward to. I really like plans, like, seriously love them. I like diaries and wall planners and something written on each day. I'd go mad in a world full of empty days in my diary. Nick is quite the opposite; he is laid back and will see what happens when it happens. I do not like this; I was on Expedia by 28th December trying to find a city break for Easter because the idea of returning to work and having nothing was too much to bear. I think that's why I like blogging so much, I always have posts and recipes to plan and ideas to develop. It keeps me busy. I've already written a massively long list of recipe ideas for the coming weeks and I can't wait to get baking.

I took this cake over to my parents the day after Boxing Day and held it on my knee during the 50 mile car journey. It was precarious but worth it. I love this cake. I want to marry it and have little chocolate cake babies, it's so delicious.

I was sent an amazing array of cake decorating goodies from Dr Oetker and I decided to dress up the chocolate cake with the gold shimmer spray and gold balls. The gold shimmer is amazing, I loved how it looked against the chocolate sponge. I don’t think the photographs do the shimmer justice, it looks great in real life. Once I’d finished spraying the cake I was looking out for other things to turn gold. My prediction for The Cake Hunter 2013 is gold and more gold (I jest, or do I?)!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake
(sponge recipe adapted from 'Lomelinos Tårtor' by Linda Lomelino)

For the chocolate cake:
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
400g plain flour
170g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
470g caster sugar
1 large egg
350ml whole milk
225ml boiling water

For the fudgy frosting:
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
120ml double cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
90g unsalted butter, very soft
300g icing sugar
pinch of sea salt
  1. For the cakes: Pre-heat the oven to 175 C/350 F. Grease and line three 21cm cake tins and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add all the other ingredients and mix until smooth.
  3. Divide between the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cocktail stick comes out clean.  
  4. For the frosting: Put the broken chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat the cream until just boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Leave for a minute and then stir until smooth and glossy. 
  5. In a jug, dissolve the cocoa powder in the boiling water and then stir into the ganache mixture. 
  6. Beat the butter until pale, then add in the icing sugar, chocolate mixture and salt. Mix well then beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Leave to set slightly before assembling.
  7. To assemble, pop a spoonful of frosting on the plate and then place the bottom layer on to secure. Using a palette knife, spread a third of the frosting over the cake, place the second layer and another third of frosting on top followed by the last cake and the remaining frosting.