2012 is quickly drawing to a close. I thought it fitting to share my favourite chocolate cake recipe at this time. I call it my 'celebration' cake as it is one that can be easily dressed up for festive occasions and is always well-received. It is an easy recipe, perfect for beginner bakers, and looks impressive.
One advantage of this recipe is that it uses only cocoa powder for its chocolate flavour, instead of actual chocolate. This means that it is a relatively cheap chocolate cake to make - a plus if you like to host gatherings and feed many people, and need to watch your budget.
All the ingredients for the cake can be mixed by hand in a large bowl. The frosting glides on smoothly and leaves a nice sheen. My adaptation also means that the cake as a whole is not too sweet - something that many people seem to appreciate. The coffee inclusion enhances the chocolatey taste of the cake.
One important point to note is that this cake is rather sticky. The base of the baking tin needs to be well-greased, lined, and greased again. All the ingredients must be at room temperature before the mixing begins.
Celebration Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2t baking powder
1 1/2t baking soda
1t fine salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2t vanilla essence
1 cup hot coffee (1t coffee powder + 1 cup boiling water)
125g unsalted butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup milk
1t vanilla essence
For decoration (optional):
Shaved dark chocolate
Dark chocolate drops
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease two 9-inch round baking tins. Line the bases with baking paper, and grease again.
2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure all the ingredients are well-distributed.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Stir in hot coffee.
5. Pour batter equally into prepared baking tins. (I poke a toothpick into each tin and make sure that the height of the batter mark on each toothpick is equal.).
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing cakes from baking tins and placing them on wire racks to cool.
For frosting and decoration:
1. Melt butter in a saucepan. (Turn off flame before butter totally melts so that butter does not burn.)
2. Stir in cocoa powder.
3. Alternatively add milk and icing sugar. Stir well.
4. Whisk mixture till it turns a lighter colour and is slightly fluffier.
5. Leave frosting to cool in a fridge for about 15 minutes before use.
6. Frost one layer of cake (dome up) before placing next layer on top (dome down, so that the top of cake is flat). Frost top layer and sides.
7. Decorate with shaved chocolate and chocolate drops as you wish.