Saturday, September 15, 2012


The Superb Chocolate Cake

There was a bit of a cake-baking frenzy around here last week.

Billie turned three, and instead of getting overwhelmed hosting one mammoth party I opted to bake three cakes for three celebrations. That way, we also got to try out three different cakes.

We kicked off the cake-a-thon with my old reliable and extremely Easy Chocolate Cake. It has already featured on these pages, but a friend - caught out when her husband brought a dodgy store cake home for their daughter's birthday last week - had trouble finding it late at night. Make this for any occasion, particularly when time is short.

The second cake was a surprisingly healthy number with no dairy or oil in the cake at all. Just lots of dates and walnuts and eggs. Oh, and a cream icing. Details to follow.

But now I would like to introduce you to my new SUPERB CHOCOLATE CAKE. Still quick and easy, just beefed up a bit to make it more interesting for the adults. And a bit larger to cater for those bigger mouths.

Basically, it's all about the cocoa. Don't be shy. I've ramped it right up to create a rich, satisfying chocolate cake. The icing here makes a difference too - melted chocolate and cream. COCOA NOTE: If you can, invest in the 'pure cacao' stuff. Pricey, but it tastes so much better.


2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 cups cocoa
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
125 g butter, melted

Icing: (If you don't have cream and chocolate to hand or prefer a simpler icing, refer to one included above under Easy Chocolate Cake)
1/3 cup cream
250 g dark chocolate
30 g butter
Preheat oven to 180c/350f. Grease a large round cake tin with a removable base and line the base with baking paper. 

Sift dry ingredients together into large bowl. Create a well in the centre and pour in milk, vanilla, eggs and butter. Mix well with an electric beater or by hand until there are no lumps and you have a nice silky smooth cake mixture. 

You may now lick the bowl...

Pour into prepared tin and place on middle shelf of oven. You may want to put an empty oven tray on the rack beneath it to catch any drips (sometimes these tins leak). Bake for between 60 and 80 minutes, depending on your oven. Check it after one hour with a skewer. If the skewer stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean, you're done. If not, pop it back in for another ten and test again.

Remove cake from tin and cool on rack before icing.

To make icing, place ingredients in small pot and melt gently while stirring. Once smooth pour over cake. If you place a plate under the cake you will catch the drips and can then smooth the extra icing over the cake when it has set a little. Place in airtight container until ready to serve.

I'm proud to say our modest party last Sunday at the local park managed to demolish most of this large cake, helped by the lack of other sweets I'm sure. I wound up serving a table of savoury party food, partly because I ran out of time but also because I've noticed how little interest guests have in the birthday cake by the time it comes round. This way, most people came back for more. And the kids weren't stuck on ridiculous sugar highs.

Ready, steady - eat!

Billie's Third Birthday Party Menu:

Super Patties (Billie's favourite dinner, and I was surprised how quickly they disappeared)
1980s Cheese Ball with crackers (very popular)
Hommous and carrot sticks and corn chips (can't go wrong)
Brie and Camembert (Billie's favourite cheeses)

The finished product, complete with Billie's requested out-of-season blue berries and the popular letter B