Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Classic chocolate cake

If you've visited here before, you won't need me to tell you that dessert recipes are not front and center (g). The truth is, I'm a savoury person at heart. I have basically been making he same two cakes (banana bread and pavlova) for as long as I can remember. Why change a good thing, right?

But we made some really yummy chocolate cupcakes at my cooking class this month, so the Young Man's 14th birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the recipe some legs as a full-blown birthday cake.

It was rather experimental, given that I'm no baker and that the recipe I had was for four! But some Net research gave me the confidence to give it a go, even without a backup in case of disaster. Don't you love the adrenalin of the kitchen??!

Well, it turned out to be a bit of a comedy of errors. Everything was going well, but a conversation going on with the YM at the side distracted me enough to forget to add the cream to the chocolate before folding that mixture into the meringue. Actually, the cake was in the oven (!) before I saw the full container of cream still on the counter. Then instead of quadrupling the cream in the original recipe, I multiplied it by 6. And had the oven set too high! But the kitchen gods must have been smiling on me, as the cake turned out beautifully for all that, and we all agreed that the extra cream, which gave it a luscious smoothness, was a good innovation.

Whew. With my confidence back, I reckon I'm going to give this a go with some walnuts in it next time. Or would that be trying my luck??

Classic chocolate cake

120 g milk chocolate
120 ml whipping cream
80 g butter or margarine (unsalted)
4 eggs, separated
120 g sugar
4 tsp plain flour
80 g cocoa powder

To garnish
Fruit (berries would be my choice)
Icing (confectioner's) sugar to dust

1 Sift flour and cocoa powder into a small bowl and set aside. Lightly oil a 20 cm springform cake tin. Preheat oven to 170 C.

2 Break up chocolate and place with the butter or margarine into a medium bowl. Melt slowly by placing in a larger bowl of hot (50-60 C) water. When melted, add cream and egg yolks and stir until smooth.

3 Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Add the sugar half at a time, and beat on high until stiff peaks form.

4 Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture to the chocolate mixture and blend well. Add the remaining meringue and fold in only until the mixture becomes marbled. Sift the flour and cocoa mixture again into the cake mixture and fold in until just mixed.

5 Pour carefully into prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes with crumbs on it. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing.

6 Just before serving, decorate with fruit and dust with icing sugar .


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