Chocolate can change lives. Period. Like the lines go in the film Chocolat – ‘so small, so plain, so innocent…I thought just one little taste, it can’t do any harm..and it melts…it melts ever so slowly on your tongue….and tortures you with pleasure…’ In the film, it changed the psyche of a resolute village, freeing them from their repressive tendencies. In real life, it has it’s way of getting to people’s head and making them happier, for those few moments at least.
From licking the cocoa batter to watching it cascade down the glass bowl and tasting a slice of that dark, bittersweet pyramid, a good chocolate cake makes life worth living. Everybody loves chocolate cake, and with this recipe, everybody can make a heavenly chocolate cake. It just goes by a simple dry ingredients + wet ingredients theory and since there is no butter involved, the cake keeps for longer. As for the topping, it’s a ganache, the easiest thing to make. Ganache is nothing but a concoction of chocolate and cream.
For the cake
- 225 g plain flour, sifted
- 85 g unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 350 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125 ml vegetable oil (canola, sunflower)
- 250 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 250 ml boiling water
For the ganache topping
- 200 g dark chocolate, chopped (more than 70% cocoa solids)
- 200 ml fresh cream
- 200 g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and line 2, 8 inch round cake tins with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift in the flour and cocoa. Add the salt, paprika, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
- Now, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the oil and beat further. Finally add the milk and vanilla essence and mix well.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold thoroughly, scrapping the bottom of the bowl. Meanwhile, boil 250 ml of water in a saucepan and pour it into the cake batter. You will have a rather runny batter; don’t be alarmed, it’s meant to be like that.
- Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for half an hour.
- For the ganache, bain-marie (double boil) the chopped chocolate and cream together. Heat a pan of water in a sauce pan and place a bowl on it. The bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Add the chopped chocolate and cream. Just let it sit until the chocolate melts into the cream. Remove from heat and let it cool. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours.
- After the cakes have been cooled, place the first cake on a plate, top side facing down. Take a dollop of the chilled ganache and spread on the cake and the sides, using an offset spatula. Place the second cake on top and repeat the same process until the entire cake is covered in ganache. Sprinkle the toasted, flaked almonds on top and stick it on the sides.
Adapted from Rachel Manley’s Easy Chocolate cake, BBC.