Episode 36: The Quest for Perfect Chocolate Cake

There are still so many recipes I want to try, but these are all a good place to start!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake from Tarunima Sinha

This is a pretty damn good chocolate cake. Very slightly adapted from Tarunima Sinha, via Ravneet Gill’s Pastry Chef’s Guide. I’ve tried making it as a layer cake which also works – just do 2 – 3 tins and decrease the baking time to about 20-25 minutes. You can 100% do this without a stand mixer, but just be aware that the sugar likes to be really clumpy so you may need to give it a sieve or get in there with your hands to break it up.

  • 100g milk chocolate (mine was about 35% cocoa)
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter (I used salted)
  • A pinch of salt (make it a large one if your butter is unsalted)
  • 160g plain flour
  • 200g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 180g eggs (3 UK large)
  • 100g sour cream, buttermilk or even Greek yogurt
  • 125ml cooled coffee (I opted for home made cold brew)

Ganache

  • 300ml/ 290g double cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 200g chocolate – I like a mix of dark and milk here, or a dark chocolate that’s around 50% cocoa. (I found my 72% cocoa one a bit too strong on its own)

Cake Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160 fan / gas 4. Grease an 8 in/ 20cm cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolates and butter together in a bain marie/ double boiler or cautiously in the microwave (stopping every 10-30 seconds to stir and check).
  3. Pop the flour, sugars, baking powder, bicarb and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. Beat them on their own to break up any large lumps.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined.
  6. Add the coffee, sour cream and eggs and beat until combined.
  7. Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean-ish.

Torta Caprese

This is for when you want a cake that needs no icing or decoration (other than maybe a drizzle of cream) – just a simple, very chocolatey, moist and fudgy, delicious cake. Adapted from Emiko on Food 52. Emiko says you can scale up or down this cake very easily, which is right. Just adjust the number of eggs then the rest of the ingredients accordingly. For example, 3 eggs would need 125g of the other ingredients, 4 would need 167g and 5 would need 208g. Just be aware that if the cake is large you may need to bake it for longer, or if a smaller cake you could increase the temperature very slightly and bake more quickly. This cake also happens to be gluten free.

  • 208g ground almonds
  • 208g dark chocolate
  • 208g butter
  • 208g sugar (I used caster/superfine but granulated would be fine)
  • 5 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C / 320F / 140C fan / gas 3. Grease and line a cake tin – mine was 20cm/ 8in and springform.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter gently in the microwave or on a double boiler/ bain marie set up.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar really well, ideally using a stand mixer so you don’t get sore arms, until tripled in volume.
  4. Fold in the chocolate mixture and the ground almonds into the egg mixture, gently.
  5. Transfer to the tin. Place the tin on a baking tray in case any fat leaks out. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until mostly set but still a little fudgy in the middle.

Benjamina Ebuelhi’s Hot Chocolate Halva Pudding/ Self-Saucing Dessert

This is arguably not a cake but what we Brits call a “pudding”, ie a squidgy, possibly slightly stodgy, delight. The amount of sugar in this is outrageous but it actually was surprisingly well balanced thanks to the sesame and cocoa flavours. Perfect for a special occasion or treat. I do have Benjamina’s fab book The New Way to Cake. but happily this is also featured as a genius recipe on Food 52. I haven’t written it out here as I didn’t adapt or change in any way (other than using brewed coffee not espresso powder). It’s perfect. Use good chocolate if you can, it will make all the difference. Also a good cocoa. Mine is Dutch processed Green and Black’s.

Published by Kate

Home baker and now podcaster!

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