Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Fool Proof Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is always a hit at any occasion. I love it best as a late Saturday breakfast with coffee. This cake really does make a good first impression, as it rises beautifully. It also does not disappoint in the taste test.

The one thing I have learnt about baking cakes from scratch, is you must not be in a hurry to mix everything together and bang it in the oven. If you are in a rush - get a box cake. I think that Ina Paarman Chocolate Cake is the best I have tried.

This recipe started out as a Rooibos Tea Chocolate Cake, but you can make it with plain hot water or strong coffee. I make it with the tea, and don't worry for those who HATE rooibos, you don't taste the rooibos, it just makes this cake packed with antioxidant goodness.

Rooibos Chocolate Cake

Rooibos Tea Chocolate Cake

250ml boiling water
2 rooibos tea bags (this is what you can either substitute or leave out)
125ml cocoa powder
125ml oil
4 extra large eggs, separated
300g (375ml) sugar
5ml vanilla essence
240g (500ml) cake flour
15ml baking powder
2ml salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bowl number 1
Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and leave to steep until very strong.
Stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla essence and oil until smooth. Make sure you have NO cocoa lumps.

Bowl number 2 (this bowl must be big enough to take the entire cake mixture)
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. (This is one of things you should not rush).
Sift the flour and the baking powder and the salt together in to the egg sugar.
Pour the contents of bowl number one into bowl number 2. That is the cocoa, tea, oil mix into the egg, sugar, flour bowl. Beat well - again don't rush this step.

Bowl number 3
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.

Take of the egg whites and fold it into bowl number two, the cake mixture. Once it is mixed together, add ½ the remaining egg whites and fold in again, and then the remainder. Mix together until well blended. Don't beat it to death, but remember : you are the boss - mix with confidence.

Pour into your cake tins (***try to divide it equally - see confession below), which you have greased (I always use Spray and Cook) and line the bottom with grease proof paper (just in case). This is a "belt and braces" step, but you only have to have one cake stick to the bottom of the pan to be a convert.

Bake for 30 minutes, and test with skewer. Remove from the oven, let the tins cool for 2 minutes then take out of the tins and cook on a rack.

Simple Icing
100g of soft butter
250ml of SIFTED icing sugar ( you have to sift it)
½ cup of cocoa (I like it to be really dark)
enough milk to mix together

Put the butter in the bowl and mix until creamy
Sift in the icing sugar and the cocoa
Start stirring carefully.
As it comes together start mixing in the milk SLOWLY ( if you are making a coffee cake, use strong coffee instead of milk) a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture that can hold itself up.

Putting it all together.

Put the bottom layer on your plate, spread some of your icing on the top of the cake. Work carefully.
Place the top layer on and put the remaining icing on the top of you cake.
Garnish with whatever you like. I used some cherries.

*** Confession : You will notice that my cake has 3 layers. I had to do this because I was not a very good judge when dividing between the 2 cake tins, so the one ½ was very big.

I hope you enjoy this. While it might seem like lots of work, I did warn you that when making cakes from scratch you have to take your time, but the result is something you will be very proud of.

I thought you were trying to get into shape?
I am. The shape I've selected is a triangle.


Marisa said...

Delicious! I find rooibos adds a unique depth of flavour to baked goods and somehow adds lovely moistness too. Have not tried it with chocolate cake though - think I should add that to my to-do list asap.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I love this cake recipe. I first saw it in Ina Paarman's book of 1970somthing. This girl can cook. I am actually trying to find lots of her recipes online and to start to collect. (I know her cause I was living in Joburg for a while) Nice blo by the way

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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