take home chocolate cake

I'm a huge Ottolenghi fan, so as soon as I heard Ottolenghi had penned a baking book called Sweet with Helen Goh, I ordered a copy. Even though I've had the book for close to a year now, I've only made a few items so far because life keeps getting in the way. A few weeks ago I decided to make something
that was quick to put together and selected the take home chocolate cake from the book. 

It's a melt and mix cake so it took no time to make, in fact measuring the ingredients took longer than preparing the cake.

I'd read a few reviews reporting the cake took less time to cook than indicated in the book (1 hour) and that the resultant cake was very crumbly and dry. My cake took about 50 minutes to bake and I took the cake into work and waited for the verdict. The cake wasn't dry but it didn't hold it's shape when cut, instead exploding into a shower of crumbs. Despite this, the cake received a big thumbs up.

Although the cake tasted great, I wasn't happy with the texture so I re-made the cake on Saturday. I'm not a huge fan of melt and mix cakes so the second time I made the cake I made it the old fashioned way creaming the butter and sugar together.

The batter made that way was much firmer than the melt and mix batter and the cake took a little longer to cook, just over an hour. However when cut, the slice came out exactly the way a piece of chocolate cake should - deliciously moist and chocolately. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake you'll need to double all the ingredients but the bake time will stay the same. I used my own ganache recipe but the cake recipe is an adaptation of the Take Home Chocolate Cake found in Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh but made my way. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Take Home Chocolate Cake
100g 70% dark chocolate chopped into small pieces 
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature   
125g caster sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
135g self-raising flour 
15g Dutch-processed cocoa powder  
a pinch salt 
¾ tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in a little boiling water, then topped up with cold water to make cup

90g dark chocolate chopped 
 cup double cream
2 tsp golden or maple syrup 

Heat oven to 180°C. Grease a 17-centimetre round tin with butter and line with baking paper, then set aside. Melt chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between increments until completely melted. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated followed by the cooled melted chocolate. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then add the flour in batches alternating with the coffee mixture to make a soft batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don't worry, this is expected. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool. 

While the cake is cooling, you can make the icing

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave in 30-second increments, or over a bowl of simmering water, stirring between increments. Remove the bowl and whisk in the cream and the golden syrup. The topping should be smooth and quite silky. If you want a thin layer to spread over the cake, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating. For a thicker icing with a spreading consistency, leave it for about 1/2 hour at room temperature. The icing will thicken as it cools. if it seizes,just return the mixture to the microwave for a few seconds to loosen.

Spread the topping on top of the cake using an off-set spatula. When set, peel the baking paper from the cake and discard. Place on a serving plate and refrigerate until serving time. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving. With or without the icing the cake will keep well in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

See you again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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