So there I was, minding my own business, working hard at the dining room table whilst refereeing the dog and cat because Mr E is painting the lounge ceiling, whilst also, y’know, keeping an eye on social media, when someone went and mentioned cake.
Then that was it. I couldn’t concentrate. I just wanted cake. And the more I tried to concentrate, and stop the dog and cat wrestling, and come up with interesting ways to say ‘amazing’ without using the word 20 times in one article, the more my brain was going ‘cake… cake… caaaaake…’
So I gave up and made cake instead. This is my usual chocolate cake mixture, with an extra egg thrown in as they seemed a bit small. And now I’ve added that extra egg, I think I’ll always add it, as it makes a lovely, tender sponge. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature and, if you’re in a hurry because you NEED cake, then crack on with the frosting as soon as the cake goes in the oven, as it will take a while to cool.
The frosting, by the way, is a weird ganache/buttercream hybrid used to trick Mr English into thinking it’s ganache when I don’t have any cream in the house (he hates buttercream). If you leave it in the fridge too long it gets a bit grainy, but allow it to warm back up a bit and it whisks up delightfully and tastes delicious. As usual, this sponge will be best when made with love, and with everything at room temperature.
For the cake:
170g salted butter
170g golden caster sugar
4 free range eggs
125g self raising flour
50g good quality cocoa powder
For the frosting:
200g good quality dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4.
So firstly, make the cake batter. Beat the butter and sugar until they’re significantly lighter in colour and look nice and fluffy. Then mix in the eggs a dribble at a time. Finally turn down the mixer (or just stir gently if making by hand!) and mix in the sifted flour and cocoa.
I used one taller 22cm cake tin, but feel free to use two shallower ones. Make sure they’re lined, then just dollop half into each tin and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes for the shallow tins, up to about 40 minutes for the deeper, single cake. Check by pressing gently on the top of the cake to see if it springs back, or stab it with a skewer – it should come out clean.
Meanwhile, crack on with the frosting. Melt the ingredients gently together in a bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Turn the water off as soon as everything starts to melt, then keep stirring until it’s all lovely and glossy. As soon as it’s cool enough, pop it in the fridge and remember to give it the odd stir.
When the cake is done, allow to cool before cutting in half. Take the frosting out of the fridge and give it a good whisk to make it nice and fluffy. Spread some of the frosting in the middle, then sandwich the two halves together. Spread the rest of the frosting all over the cake, then decorate however you like – a smashed up Crunchie bar gives lovely texture – I also added some chocolate sprinkles.
And that’s it. The next time somebody mentions cake, you’ll know exactly what to do.