As I mentioned in a previous post, I baked a chocolate cake the other day and it was a great success. Here is the recipe, which is a trivial modification of one that appears in Nigel Slater’s “Real Food” (Amazon links: UK, US). “Real Food” is a cookbook that I genuinely treasure. The modification I have made for this recipe is to omit the espresso but I will point out where it should be added, in case you want to give that a try.

Ingredients:

  • 180g fine dark chocolate, chopped. (Do not skimp on this in any way! I use Nestlé’s Menier Dark Cooking Chocolate.)
  • 140g butter, diced.
  • 5 free range eggs, separated. (I hate this bit!)
  • 200g golden caster sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder.
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • 90g plain flour. (Fun fact: I used gluten free flour and it had no ill effect on the cake as far as I could tell, so make one for your gluten intolerant friends! My friend said that it was the best gluten free cake that she had ever had!)
  • 1 small espresso (about three tablespoons of very strong coffee - I’ve not ever used this)

Method:

  • Line the base of a 8” springform cake tin with baking parchment, buttering the tin lightly so it stays in place.
  • Get the chopped chocolate melting in a bain-marie (that is a bowl heating in a pan of boiling water) for two to three minutes (add the coffee in this time if you are bothering with it) and stir gently while adding the butter until everything has melted.
  • Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (definitely do this, it takes about half an hour and strong arms without one) until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Take care not to knock out too much air from the egg whites when you do this. In another bowl, mix the baking powder and the flour. You need lots of bowls on the go for this one.
  • With the chocolate off the heat, add the egg yolks and mix together.
  • Slowly add the chocolate mix to the egg white mix, again taking care to keep as much air in as possible. Last of all sift in the flour and cocoa powder mix.
  • Stir the whole mixture with a large metal spoon (I actually used my housemate’s wonderful rubbery cake spoon, it’s quite the marvel.) slowly and tenderly. The smell should get you going enough to want to take care of this baby. It will feel light and fluffy, you have to take care not to over mix it - just fold in the flour. Scoop into the lined tin, sigh gently, and bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC for thirty five of the most beautiful minutes of your life (in an aromatic sense).
  • Let it cool in the tin before turning it out.