In the past, all my chocolate cake photos look like black blobs that no amount of editing could help, rendering them useless to post. But at long last, I can take a decent photo. The secret?
Natural light of course. Something very lacking in my house. I have to tap natural light from a window at the landing upstairs. Not very convenient if you ask me. Climbing up and down the stairs to set up the shoot and ferrying my cake up and down is no fun I tell you.
This is the third time I am baking Nigella's chocolate cake. The first time, it was not very successful and neither was the second. I am embarrassed to say that I gave the second bake to my auntie and my brother. I don't usually give away a cake that I feel is not good enough. The cake was slightly over baked and everything went wrong because I was in a hurry.
I was held up at the Japanese Buffet and was way behind schedule. I hate it when my schedule is messed up and I came home feeling very chaotic and out of sync. When that happens, I can feel the ugly grip of depression and anxiety come over me. I know it is hard for most people including my partner to understand why I react this way. But hey, we are talking about chocolate cake today and there is nothing depressing about that!
This being a Nigella cake, it is very much simplified. As Nigella said and I quote " If you're going to get started, this is the cake you should begin with. Not just because it's simple - though it is - but because for me it is, the essence of chocolate cake : melting, luscious and mood-enhancingly good." I can't argue with that.
All the cake ingredients are supposed to be dumped into a food processor and processed until smooth and thick. And that's it. Pour batter into a pan and bake. But I don't own a food processor and I did not dare to dump everything into the mixing bowl to mix.
So I went the usual way of creaming the butter and sugar and blah..blah..blah... It was third time lucky as my cake turned out just the way it should be. And yes, Madam itchy fingers did tweak the recipe. Not even Nigella's recipe is spared my bad butterholic ways. Nigella is known to be very liberal with butter and fats and I am sure she would not mind one bit.
The only good thing I did which I always do is to reduce the sugar. In this particular instance, I used muscavado sugar which does not taste as sweet as regular caster sugar. The chocolate icing calls for a whopping 300g of icing sugar which I reduced to a mere 2 tablespoons.
This cake is moist, rich and chocolaty. It will be my go to cake recipe whenever I want something quick but easy to impress. Please go to Nigella for her original recipe.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Recipe source : Adapted from Nigella Lawson
For the cake :
- 200g self-raising flour
- 180g muscavado sugar (I would reduce to 160g if using caster sugar)
- 40g cocoa powder
- 200 butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 200g sour cream
For the icing :
- 10g butter
-150g chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 50g sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Grease and line the bottom of an 8" cake pan and set aside.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder together and use a whisk to evenly combine.
4. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after eash addition.
6. Add vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated
7. Fold in flour/cocoa powder and sour cream.
8. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 60 minutes or until skewer inserted into that cake comes out clean.
9. Remove cake from oven and cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Note : I tented the cake after 40 minutes and continued to bake until cake is completely baked. It took me 60 minutes.
To make chocolate icing :
1. Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler.
2. Allow to cool.
3. Add sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Stir to evenly combine.
To ice the cake, coat the cake with the chocolate icing on top and sides.