So, all day I’ve been trying to think of a super interesting introduction for this post. Some exciting reason why I made this cake; something that would knock your socks off, make you rush into your kitchen and bake this immediately. But I was totally stumped.
Then I got to thinking: does a girl really need an excuse to bake a yumbo chocolate cake? Ehhh, I think not! No one should ever need a reason for chocolate. Ever. End of story.
So treat yourself and make this cake, it’s seriously good. The spices add subtle and interesting flavours, giving the cake an exotic twist. In fact, it’s so rich and dense and unusual you could serve it as a posh chocolate desert cake at a dinner party and all your friends would be mucho-impressedo.
I found the recipe in The back to basics cookbook by Maureen Tatlow and it’s an old style cake recipe. Now, I’ve always vaguely known that true bakers match the weight of the ingredients to the actual weight of the eggs they’ve used, but let’s be honest, how many of us ever do this? It works really well, but I’ve included actual quantities for those us you who need a non-efforty, super-fast chocolate hit.
Eastern inspired chocolate cake
3 free range eggs
200 g (7 oz) soft brown sugar, plus a little bit extra
50 g (2 oz) cocoa powder
150 g (5 ¼ oz) self-raising flour
4 cardamom pods
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Grease and flour your cake tin. I used one tin, approximately 30cm across, but you could use two smaller ones or one large loaf tin depending on what you want your cake to look like, just adjust the cooking times accordingly.
Weigh the eggs in their shells. Measure out the same weight as the eggs of the butter and the sugar. Weight out 50 g (2 oz) of the cocoa powder, then add the flour to the cocoa powder on the scales, until the flour and the cocoa together weigh the same as the eggs did.
Open the cardamom pods using a large knife. Simply lay the pod under the flat of the knife and lean heavily on the knife, once the pod pops open, collect the black seeds and grind them in a mortar and pestle. Sieve all of the dry ingredients: the flour, cocoa, cardamom, nutmeg and pepper into a bowl.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, cream the butter until pale. Add the sugar and cream until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk the eggs with the milk and vanilla extract, then beat the mixture into the creamed butter and sugar 1-2 tbsp at a time. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. The batter should have a soft dropping consistency, add more milk if it is too stiff.
Transfer into your baking tin and pop into the oven. I you’re using two sandwich tins, bake for 25-30 minutes, however if you’re making a loaf make this approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let it cool on a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar.
If you want to be all fancy-pants and impress your friends, serve this with loads of whipped cream (or crème fraîche) and some chocolate shavings. But don’t worry, it’s also great just as it is, with a bog standard cuppa tae.
You might also like:
Irish coffee cake
Sweet chicken tagine with minted couscous