This chocolate cake recipe is my basic, birthday cake recipe that I generally use. It’s simple and easy, and despite using cocoa powder rather than melted chocolate, it really is delicious fudgy. I made a chocolate ganache for the first time to go with it, and while it made the cake very darkly chocolatey, I think I almost prefer the sweetness of chocolate icing to go with the fudginess of the cake.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk (or milk soured with 2 tsp vinegar)
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
for chocolate ganache:
100g dark chocolate
1 cup cream
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Blend the cocoa with the hot water, then stir into the butter mixture.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarb, if you like sifting. I usually just add the baking powder to the top of the cup of flour. Add the flour to the chocolate mixture alternately with the buttermilk, stirring briskly after each addition.
Pour the cake mixture evenly between the two cake tins, and bake for 30 minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, melt the chocolate and cream together, and let cool. I tried to beat mine a little to thicken the cream, but I don’t think it made any difference.
When the ganache is fairly cool, place one cake on a serving plate. Spread it thickly with jam – I used a delicious mulberry jam, but raspberry would be good as well. Pour a little ganache on top of the jam, and spread it over the cake. Place the other cake on top of the first, and settle it carefully – it may slide a little over the ganache. Pour the remaining ganache over the top of the cake, until it covers the top and sides (and is pooling a little on the plate), and put the cake immediately into the fridge.
If you serve it about an hour later, the ganache will be set, and the cake still slightly warm. Gorgeous.