I was feeling a little naughty and decided to indulge in some good old chocolate. There is so many chocolate cakes out there but this one called to me to try it as it looked so tall and impressive in Nigella Lawson's cookbook, Nigella Bites.
As the recipe called for the best bittersweet chocolate, I scouted high and low for some around town. The regular bake shops seem to have no couverture dark chocolate stock and none of them could advise me of the actual cocoa mass of the chocolate they sold. So I turned to the supermarkets and found Lindt Extra Dark 70% Chocolate Bar and Droste Extra Bittersweet 72% Chocolate Pastilles. I decided to go for the Droste since most recipes always call for Dutch Chocolate.
As advised by Nigella in her recipe, she uses a stand mixer and in her case, her Kitchen-Aid, so I had to dig out the old Kenwood Mixer from the cupboard to do it's job. It made things extremely easy since I could measure and weight my ingredients while mixing the batter.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
For the cake:
400g plain flour
250g golden caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
50g best quality cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
142ml/small tub sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
125ml corn oil
300ml chilled water
For the fudge icing:
175g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
250g unsalted butter, softened
275g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended.
Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you'll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk; the freestanding mixer comes with its own bowl), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed.
Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins. Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, melt the chocolate in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on medium should do it or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.
In another bowl, beat the butter until it's soft and creamy (again, I use the Kitchen Aid) and then add the sieved icing sugar and beat again until everything's light and fluffy. I know sieving is a pain, the one job in the kitchen I really hate, but you have to do it or the icing will be unsoothingly lumpy. Then gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.
Sandwich the middle of the cake with about a quarter of the icing, and then ice the top and sides, too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.
This is the end result of my efforts, not perfect but very edible. I loved the fudge icing as the bittersweetness of the chocolate complemented perfectly with the icing sugar so it did not feel so sweet. The cake is extremely tall and I had some slight problems icing and storing it. The cake was not too rich so it was a perfect foil for the very chocolatey topping.