As I inch towards 30, I realise that I was far less knowledgeable and yet more confident 10 years ago. In our last year of college we decide to celebrate each of our bdays in a special way. Instead of buying a cake we baked them. Our friend Juieen’s mother opened her home and kitchen to us and gave us absolute freedom to make a mess! Brimming with confidence we decided to bake a marble cake for Deepa’s bday. I knew a basic cake recipe and decided to double the ingredients so that we could have our marble. Little did we know how particular one must be about measures and temperature. We went by Deepa’s dictum “how bad can a combination of sugar, butter, and chocolate taste – not bad at all!”. We ended up with a cake which was cooked at the top and raw at the bottom. We decided to put it back inside for some more time and then ended up with a burnt top/bottom (can’t remember). We cut out the burnt half and wrapped it in a nice piece of paper for Deepa so that she could taste how bad the butter, sugar, and chocolate combo could be and proceeded to make up for the lost half of the cake by topping it with crushed Pure Magic biscuits. In didn’t look too bad and tasted pretty okay as well. See, none of us even bothered to google a recipe – we had such faith in our (non-existent) abilities. I don’t take any such risks now and try and abide by a recipe as far as possible while baking.
I baked Nigella’s Quadruple Chocolate Cake for my friend’s 30th bday. It is THE CAKE for all chocoholics. It is a moist and sinful cake. Here’s the recipe as it appears on Nigella’s website:
For the cake
- 200 grams Plain flour
- 1 teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 275 grams caster sugar
- 175 grams unsalted butter soft
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
- 80 ml sour cream [I used regular cream from a local dairy]
- 125 ml water boiling
- 175 grams Dark chocolate chips (unless you prefer milk)
For the syrup
- 1 teaspoon(s) cocoa powder
- 125 ml water
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 25 grams Dark chocolate (from a thick bar)
- Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C, putting in a baking sheet as you do so, and line a 900g loaf tin (mine measures 21x11cm and 7.5cm deep and the cooking times are based on that) with greased foil – making sure there are no tears – and leave an overhang all round. Or use a silicon tin.
- Put the flour, bicarb, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the processor and blitz till a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.
- Scrape and pour this beautiful batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When it’s ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester, or a fine skewer, will pretty well come out clean. But this is a damp cake so don’t be alarmed at a bit of stickiness in evidence; rather, greet it.
- Not long before the cake is due out of the oven – say when it’s had about 45-50 minutes – put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You may find it needs a little longer: what you want is a reduced liquid, that’s to say a syrup, though I often take it a little further, so that the sugar caramelizes and the syrup has a really dark, smokey chocolate intensity.
- Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack and, still in its tin, pierce here and there with a cake tester. Then pour the syrup as evenly as possible, which is not very, over the surface of the cake. It will run to the sides of the tin, but some will have been absorbed in the middle.
8. Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Now take your bar of chocolate, wrapped in foil if you haven’t got much of its wrapper left, and cut with a heavy sharp knife, so that it splinters and flakes and falls in slices of varying thickness and thinness.
9. Sprinkle these chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake.