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March 10, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Sweet Scoop

Hello, and welcome to The Sweet Scoop! I’ll be your baking hostess, taking you through a year of fortnightly columns, featuring cakes, biscuits, desserts, pies and all manner of sweet treats. I focus on recipes that are both simple and delicious; ones that don’t require complex equipment, expensive ingredients, or difficult/time-consuming techniques. Although baking is often represented as something complex and mysterious, a ‘you’ve either got it or you haven’t’ situation, nothing could be further from the truth. If you follow a recipe and don’t accidentally leave it overnight in the oven, then baking is as simple as high-school social studies.

This cake is a good example of that. I’d hate to be seen to be over-selling myself, but this cake is amazing. Actually amazing. I’m very fussy about chocolate cakes. I hate it when they’re dry, and when they’re not chocolatey enough. I even hate Nigella Lawson’s chocolate cake.

Ever since first making this one, I’ve made it for every birthday/occasion I can, and it’s been stunning every time. It is deliciously decadent: deeply chocolatey cake, filled with cream and jam, and topped by a ganache. It’s simple to make, and uses basic cupboard ingredients. And if you leaving out the filling and icing, it’s vegan. Cakes don’t get much better than this.


Chocolate Cake


For the cake:

1 ¼ cups flour

1 ¼ cups white sugar

¾ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon white/cider vinegar

1 cup of strong coffee (instant is fine)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a greased tin and bake (about 30 minutes). The cake stays fairly moist, so watch carefully. It is done when the top is soft and springy, when a skewer comes out clean, and when it shrinks slightly from the tin edges. Leave to cool, then slice in half horizontally (I use a long knife, but some swear by dental floss). Fill with jam and whipped cream, and cover the top with ganache.


For the ganache:

100 mL cream

100 g dark chocolate

Heat the cream in a pan until just boiling. Turn off and add the chocolate, which will melt. Stir until smooth, then pour over the cake.


For the filling:

jam (optional)

whipped cream

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