This is my favourite chocolate cake by far. The sponge is chocolatey and squidgy, and the ganache is really light and fluffy, the combination of which makes for a light, non-sickly but still indulgent dessert, perfect for a celebration. When I made this cake for Sam’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how many people that said ‘wow, there’s no way I could make that’, and ‘you’re so clever’ (I’m really not – if things go wrong, I just smother them in chocolate and nobody complains – I dropped a block of cheese on this one getting it out of the fridge, but I covered it up with more ganache), so I thought I’d write this easy chocolate cake recipe up in a step by step way so you can see just how simple it is to make. And then you’ll all be making it for everyone’s birthday from now on, and everyone will think you’re really clever too. Here goes!
For the chocolate fudge sponge cakes:
17 5g butter, softened
175 g light brown sugar (or if you don’t have that, golden caster would be fine)
3 large free range eggs, beaten
150 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder (not hot chocolate!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, melted
For the ganache:
250g double cream
200g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and get all the ingredients weighed out and ready. Butter two 20cm cake tins (loose bottomed is better), and add a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom, and a strip around the edge, just to make double sure you can get the cakes out. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, beat the eggs, and weigh out the flour, baking powder and cocoa.
- In the food mixer or with an electric hand whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until it’s really light and fluffy. Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa together, then turn the mixer down and alternate spooning in, say about a couple of tablespoons of the dry ingredients and pouring in a bit of the eggs, – this is the best way to keep in the air and stop it curdling.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate, and if the mixture seems a bit thick, stir in a splash of milk.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, level the top and bake for around 25 minutes to half an hour. Press the tops, they should spring back – don’t leave them any longer if you can possibly help it – you want them just under if anything.
- While the cakes cool, make the ganache. Measure out the cream, then heat it gently in a saucepan until it’s warm enough to melt the chocolate (you don’t need to boil it or anything). Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the warm cream. Stir until it’s melted and then pop into the fridge.
- Once the ganache is cool, whisk it until it’s light and fluffy.
- When the cakes are completely cool (don’t even attempt to ice them until they are – you’ll just get a huge, melted, soggy mess), split the icing roughly in half, spread half on the bottom layer, gently pop the top cake on, then pile the rest on there.
- Decorate however you fancy. I used mini walnut whips (without the walnut) from M&S, but shards of grated chocolate look great, or just leave it plain.
Et voila! An easy chocolate cake recipe that’s literally a piece of cake. Do let me know how you get on if you give it a go.