I love chocolate. I love cake. But more often than not, chocolate cake is a bit disappointing. It’s a bit dry and flavourless. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, its too moist and rich. If I wanted a brownie I would’ve made them (and yes, I will definitely be making brownies. Lots and lots of them). I want a delicious, light and chocolatey chocolate cake. One that’s rich and full of flavour. Is that too much to ask?
This recipe is one my go-to chocolate sponge cake recipe. Its quick and easy to make and delicious with any manner of fillings and frostings. I’ve made this recipe countless times in various sized cake tins and have yet to fuck it up. Score!
Dark Chocolate Sponge
270g all-purpose flour
400g sugar (caster or light brown, or a combination of the two)
140g dark cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
200 ml espresso or strong, hot brewed coffee
120 ml vegetable oil
3 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Prepare two or three 8-inch round cake tins with butter, grease-proof paper, and cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
- Sift all dry ingredients into your stand mixer bowl (or a large bowl) and give a quick stir. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. Add the wet ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients.
- With paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may want to use the plastic splash-guard or a tea towel here!) or beat by hand until smooth. This chocolate batter will be very liquidy.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared tins. Sometimes I eyeball it but more often than not I use scales to weigh divided batter for even layers.
- Bake for 20 minutes (30 mins if using two deep tins) and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean, approximately 30 (or 40) minutes. Try not to over bake.
- Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
Recipe adapted from the amazingly talented Sweetapolita http://sweetapolita.com/2010/11/rich-ruffled-chocolate-celebration-cake/ You should check out her blog and you will see that I have been somewhat influenced by her style. Cough cough.
Note: These cake layers are rather deep and so I use cake tins that are 3” deep. If you only have sandwich tins just be sure to only fill your tins a maximum of 2/3 full.
Fill and over this cake with your favourite frosting or, if you’re feeling lazy, just serve with a splodge of cream, custard or ice-cream. That’s the stuff! This recipe can easily be halved to a make a 6” cake with either two or three layers (or single layer 8” cake, if you prefer).
I’ve made this cake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, salted caramel buttercream, chocolate orange ganache and chocolate fudge frosting, to name but a few. It was delightful in every permutation. And the possibilities are pretty much endless: peppermint ganache, fresh raspberries and whipped cream, white chocolate buttercream and strawberries, coconut buttercream, cinnamon frosting. I could go on but I think you catch my drift and, actually, its just making me hungry…
In fact, sod it. I think I’m going to go and eat some off-cuts I have from the cake I made on Friday. Just imagine me, all Nigella-esque, lit by the flattering glow from the fridge, placing delectable cake morsels in my mouth. Yeah, that’s exactly what it’ll be like. Definitely.