For some reason I’ve always been vaguely wary of chocolate cake. I never order it at restaurants, or take a slice when relatives offer it up as a dessert. Unconsciously I guess I just reject the notion of eating something so rich and so completely full of chocolaty goodness. Yet inexplicably this cold weather and the exclusion of all remotely rich foods from my diet after Christmas, has obscured this apprehensive outlook. I opened recipe book after recipe book, scoured websites, friends and family for the ideal cake to cook. Again and again chocolate cake seemed the obvious choice.
A big problem is the expectation of perfection that goes with a chocolate cake. When making chocolaty flavored food, so many things can go wrong. The richness, the wrong consistency, clashing flavors and over coffe-ified. People anticipate, as they bite into a chocolate cake, to experience a cake that fulfills their chocolate cravings without any alterations or substitutions. So needless to say the pressure was on. Thankfully this recipe proved my fears unfounded, and I spent the afternoon sampling slice after slice. Get ready for the classic chocolate cake courtesy of Crazy for Chocolate by kitchen library (adapted slightly).
Btw: This brings me to another point. Despite the name of the blog, I haven’t strictly made anything that called for a bulk of the flavor to come from chocolate. Hmmm…I’m thinking chocolate soufflé? (okay I admit it’s a weakness of mine).
1 cup brown sugar
1tbs instant coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup self -raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °f. Grease two pans (8 inch) and set aside.
2.In a large bowl, using electric beaters, beat the butter and brown sugar together till creamy and then beat in the coffee power. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition and then add the vanilla essence.
3. Sift in all flours, baking soda and cocoa alternatively with the milk. Once beaten in, stir in the chocolate chips and pour into the round pans. Bake for 25 minutes all until a skewer comes out clean. Allow 30 minutes to cool and begin on icing.
Icing: (adapted from Williams and Sonoma)
1. Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowel over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Beat together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the milk, the vanilla essence. Add the chocolate and beat until combined. If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.
3. Spread the top of one cake with the icing and place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining icing all over the outside of the entire cake.