The Best Chocolate Cake

This cake says "devour me." Can you hear it?

We recently improved out cable subscription, and now get a channel that shows old repeats of great cooking shows, my favourite being Nigella Bites. I love Nigella Lawson, everything she makes looks so wonderful and comforting; watching her is such a treat. It’s lovely to see someone really enjoy life through food, and although I didn’t realize it until now, I think she is probably one of my cooking inspirations. No calorie is ever at risk of being counted in Nigella’s kitchen, with lots of cream, butter and other delicious things finding themselves in many of her recipes.

The other day, I caught her making a chocolate layer cake, and I just couldn’t get the cake out of my head. Luckily, she has a recipe for it on her extremely cute and well organzed website. Her Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake is a slightly different recipe from what I saw on the old show, but this one seems to have been further perfected by her over time.  The only sticky part to making the cake was that because she is British, her measurements are in weights, which really makes much more sense when you think about it. However, North American me does not have a kitchen scale, and is used to using cups for baking measurements. Luckily, I found an on-line measurement converter tool that takes into account the density of different ingredients, and I share my conversions below.

This cake is a dream. I whipped the batter and the icing, and both ended up light and creamy, yet dense, if that makes any sense. There’s an extreme richness and sense of occasion to this cake, so I think it would make a great birthday cake. But it also did nicely as the piece de resistance of my Friday night dinner.

I do have to give a warning with this cake: it will be impossible to just eat one piece, so you may want to have people on hand to share it with immediately. Otherwise this cake will call your name over and over again…..until you’re staring at a plate of crumbs. Puting it in the fridge sort of dulls the cries, but I can still hear it right now.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

The cake:

From, measurements and instructions adapted.

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 round cake pans and lightly flour them.
  2. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and eggs together. Add in the sugar and get things fluffy and well blended. Finally, add the vanilla and sour cream and ensure that everything is smoothly combined.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients on top of the batter. Stir gently to combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be quite thick.
  4. Spread into the 2 cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Cool on wire racks, flip the cakes out of the pans after 10 minutes of cooling time.

The icing:

This recipe is my own.

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 squares semisweet baking choclate, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  1. Soften the butter and chocolate in the microwave, but don’t let it completely melt. Add the vanilla and stir well.
  2. Using a hand mixer, blend in one cup of icing sugar and half the cream.
  3. Continue adding icing sugar and cream until desired consistency is reached. Cocoa powder may be needed if you like things extra chocolatey.
  4. Whip a few minutes more to make sure the icing is velvety smooth and fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Ensure that the cakes are completely cool before icing them.
  2. Place the first layer of cake on a pretty plate. Spread 1/3 of the icing on the first layer.
  3. Place the second layer on top, and cover the top and sides with icing.
  4. You could add some decorations or fruit, but I didn’t have any, and it looks pretty great as is.

The first piece disappears............

4 thoughts on “The Best Chocolate Cake

  1. Eve says:

    I cannot believe I was within 2 meters of this cake and ended up not having ANY! Gosh! What was I thinking. That is it: I am cooking it as my birthday cake for tonight, wish me luck! xxx


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