Helloo there. Welcome to March (say whaat?!) and my first blog post for the month. It’s a rather celebratory post and this recipe is inspired by one of my personal foodie icons, Yotam Ottolenghi. This easy chocolate cake recipe is adapted very slightly from one that appears in his book “Sweet” (co-written with Helen Goh) and the reason for this cake post is that this week Cupcakes and Couscous celebrates its fifth anniversary!
Speaking of milestones, not only is it my “blogiversary” but we have also just celebrated my eldest’s sixth birthday. In both cases I am left scratching my head and wondering how we got here so quickly. Miss M. wanted to celebrate over the rainbow with a “Wizard of Oz” party. (Such a fun party theme, the Pinterest mom in me was in her element.) There were witches and wands and watery children (it was also a swimming party) and we enjoyed a busy afternoon of games (pin the heart on the Tin Man was a hit), cake and fun in the sun. Here are a few photos of our Wizard of Oz cake and some of the party decor.
But back to today’s amazingly delicious chocolate cake recipe. I have mentioned often that I am a huge fan of Ottolenghi bakes, like these semolina, coconut and marmalade cakes and these incredible macadamia and cranberry chocolate squares. This chocolate cake is my new favourite and, dare I say, one of the best chocolate cakes I have tried! From a practical point of view it is one of the easiest cake batters to put together as everything is mixed together in one bowl by hand, no beater needed! And most importantly it has a gorgeous texture and flavour. The addition of the dark chocolate ganache takes the cake to a new level of luxury.
So here’s to another year of blogging and here’s to chocolate cake! Enjoy the recipe foodies.
- the original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in a single 23cm round cake tin. I decided to bake mine in thinnish layers and made three 20cm cakes, but you could do either, or even two 20cm cake layers if you prefer.
- you can replace the plain flour and baking powder with 240g self-raising flour as per the original recipe.
- when it comes to icing the cake you can use the ganache when it’s still fairly runny for thinner, glossier ganache layers, or you can leave it until it is thicker and more spreadable. I prefer option 2 but it’s completely up to you.
CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE WITH DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
For the cake:
- 1½ tsp instant coffee granules
- 350ml boiling water
- 250g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 200g dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 250g castor sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 240g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 30g cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
For the ganache:
- 200g dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 200ml double cream
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
- fresh berries to serve (optional)
1.) Preheat your oven to 170ºC. Grease and line three 20cm round cake tins.
2.) Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water in a large bowl. Add the butter and dark chocolate and mix until combined and smooth.
3.) Add the castor sugar and whisk in by hand until dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until everything is combined.
4.) Sift in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk again until you have a smooth, runny batter.
5.) Divide the batter between the cake tins. Bake the cakes for 20-25 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before removing them. Allow to cool completely before icing.
6.) To make the ganache: Place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the double cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan and bring to boiling point while stirring.
7.) Pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Leave to stand for 30 seconds then whisk together until the chocolate has almost all melted. Add the butter, then whisk again until the ganache is smooth. Leave to cool and thicken to a spreading consistency.
8.) Place one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread a small amount of ganache over the top, then place another cake layer on top. Spread some more ganache evenly on the top of the second layer then place the third cake on top. Spread the remaining ganache on the top and sides of the cake. If it’s a very hot day place the iced cake in the fridge for an hour to set.
9.) Decorate the cake with mixed fresh berries just before serving.