Everybody needs one of these cake recipes in their repertoire, and most smart cooks have several to keep those discerning cake lovers in their lives happy. My Never Fail Christmas cake falls into this category too. Easy, no fuss and adaptable. What could be better.
This scrumptious simple cake is quick throw together and heaven for chocolate lovers. It is an ideal ‘occasion’ cake – birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, dinner parties… because you’ve almost always got the ingredients in the pantry and it is so easy to dress up.
You can joosh it up a bit by adding some extra spices like a teaspoon or two of ground cinnamon, cardamom or star anise powder.
For a moist berry version, toss in a punnet of fresh raspberries, or frozen but make sure you thaw them first. Another fun addition is cocoa nibs for some contrasting crunch. You can also change the shape – a heart-shaped chocolate cake for someone special, or a garland ring mold shape is great for dinner parties as you can fill the centre with ice cream balls, fresh fruit, cream or similar
Squares seem to be good for boys, don’t ask me why, and if you double the recipe and cook it in two, 22cm round cake tins, you can make an extra massive Black Forrest affair with layers of cake, cream and strawberries, and chocolate Ganache icing. The challenge is cutting it. I recommend using a serrated knife and don’t forget to breathe. For the everyday, just a sprinkling of icing sugar will do the trick or a spoonful of plain yoghurt with a splash of pomegranate molasses.
I sometimes swap the buttermilk for plain yoghurt, and for gluten free versions, replace all the flour with Almond or Hazelnut meal and add a teaspoon of baking powder with it. You’ll get a denser, heavier cake but it’s just as scrumptious.
Chocolate Mud Cake
Serves 12 – 14 small slices
220g dark chocolate 85% cacao, chopped roughly
25 g coffee granules or 1 demi-tasse espresso
125g self-raising flour
125g plain all-purpose flour
300g almond or hazelnut meal + 1 teaspoon baking powder
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
380g coconut palm or Muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
7 teaspoons vegetable oil
100mls buttermilk or plain yoghurt
Pre-heat the oven to 160degrees C.
Grease and line either a 22cm round cake pan or a 20cm square cake pan, with baking parchment.
Put the butter, chocolate and coffee in a saucepan with 160mls water, and stir over a low heat, until all the ingredients are melted and well combined. Remove from the heat.
Sift the flours, cocoa and baking soda, or place the almond meal in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre.
Add the lightly beaten egg, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. It should still be nicely moist though. Leave the cake in the cake pan until cold before removing.
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or freeze it for up to 2 months.