Where I’m living at the moment, it has been cold; I’m talking lots of rain, perpetually grey skies, chilly wind, fingers and toes so cold they go hard and numb, that sort of thing. And no – surprisingly, I don’t live in the UK. I think I feel colder here in 10 degree weather than I did when I was living through sub-zero temperatures in Germany.. That aside, this is my sort of weather. I absolutely love this weather!! If I hear that we’ve got a rainy few days ahead of us, I prep myself to do a lot of baking. Here is something I made this week.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Devil’s Food Cake Recipe
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10 – 12
for the cake
50 grams good quality cocoa powder (sifted)
100 grams dark brown sugar
250 ml boiling water
125 grams soft unsalted butter
150 grams caster sugar
225 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
for the frosting
125 ml water
30 grams dark brown sugar
175 grams unsalted butter (cubed)
300 grams good-quality dark chocolate (finely chopped)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced)
2. Line the bottoms of two 20cm square tins with baking paper.
3. Put the cocoa and 100g / half cup dark brown sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
4. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer or by hand (electric mixer preferable).
5. While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
6. Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
8. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g dark brown sugar and 175g of butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
10. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
11. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
*12. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula.
*Optional; I adapted this recipe for a single layer cake and not a two-layer cake as she has done.