Monday, October 8, 2012

Never Give Up (on a cake)

I am nothing if not persistent and hate to be beaten by a recipe, a couple of weeks back I mentioned being defeated by Dan Lepard's Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake. I duly bought more ingredients and had another go - the results was another disaster, so bad that I wish I'd taken a picture, if not of the cake than at least of the mess it left behind. Both times the problem was that it erupted out of the (carefully measured with an actual ruler to check it was the size specified in the book) tin, pouring in a cascade of increasingly crispy sponge onto the tray I had carefully placed beneath it against just such an emergency.

The second time round I attempted to make some cupcakes assuming that less mix in the tin would help. I clearly didn't divide off enough mix because it still escaped, this time mostly managing to miss the tray. I found the results - which quite honestly looked like dog shit - some days later. Also I had forgotten about the cupcakes so they were also crispy. Had only the excess mix escaped it might not have been so bad, but once the cake started to go it totally overwhelmed it's ruff of grease proof paper and just kept on pouring so what little was left in the tin might kindly be described as sunken.

Clearing out my fridge at the weekend I found the bowl of left over condensed milk from that last bake. It was miraculously mould free, I also had just enough glycerine and chocolate left as well as the more usual eggs, flour, and sugar so thought I'd see if the third time might actually be the charm. I chose a bigger tin, a much bigger tin, and the results were - excellent. I don't know why I had so much trouble using the smaller size but it doesn't matter now. I much prefer this as a round cake - they always feel more generous and last longer. I also found some apricot jam at the back of the fridge (again mould free which was another happy surprise) so used that in the middle. 

As for the cake itself - well it's rich, but not to heavy, chocolatey, has a lovely moist crumb, and will probably be my chocolate cake of choice from now on. The persistence paid off.

Grease and flour a deep sided 20 cm ROUND baking tin. Stir 25g of cocoa with 50ml of cold water in a smallish bowl before adding 100ml of boiling water, 50 g of plain chocolate broken into chunks, and 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Stir and leave to melt. Meanwhile get another bowl and mix 175g of muscovado sugar, 125g of condensed milk (you weigh it rather than measure it) and 100g of soft unsalted butter and whisk together until very smooth, then beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons of glycerine. Stir together 200g of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder and tip half into the eggs and sugar mix. Beat thoroughly then add the chocolate, and finally beat in the last of the flour. Bake at 180 degrees/ gas mark 5 for about 50 mins or until cooked. 


  1. Well done for persisting! One sometimes wonders just who edits/proofreads/test-cooks these recipes.

  2. All the others have been so reliable from Short and Sweet and this is the sort of challenge I can rise to. Also it's helped me clear out the fridge...