Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The incredible healing power of chocolate cake

You know one of those days? It’s dark and cold (January, ugh), you seemingly encounter every grumpy person in THE WORLD, everything you try to do is just not quite up to scratch (despite your best efforts, all you are good for is a duvet day), you yearn for just a speck of the positive, a ray of light into the hundrum…. Yep, yesterday was one of those. I think it is partly a delayed reaction to the naffness of the last few weeks and the overwhelming feeling that nothing is easy at the moment. There are unending tasks, unending dark evenings, mountains to climb ahead. I think I have the January blues.

I don’t know about you but when the blues really set in I reach for the cook books. When I discovered Lorraine Pascal’s recipe for’ I don’t give a damn’ Chocolate cake last night I realised I had found my food antidote to a dark, dull, depressing Monday night in January. Just the making of the cake was cathartic. Chuck it all in, blizz for three minutes and pour the gloopy, chocolaty mixture into sandwich tins (not forgetting to lick the spoon). Much as I am convinced fruit cake is the cake of company and natters over cups of tea, chocolate cake is the cake of sitting under your duvet, watching re runs of the Gilmore Girls and feeling just a bit sorry for yourself.

I didn't eat all of that, honest
So in case any of you are suffering from a case of the January blues too I thought I’d share a slightly adapted version of the recipe from Lorraine’s Home Baking Made Easy.

‘I don’t give a damn either!’  or ‘Stuff you January Blues!’ Chocolate Cake

Oil and baking paper for the sandwich tins (just line the base)
140g half fat creme fraiche (it is just after Christmas after all!)
130g butter or stork (I always use Stork for cakes!)
230g golden caster sugar (or whatever you have in)
2 drops of vanilla extract
4 eggs
180g plain flour
pinch of salt
40g cocoa powder
10g baking powder

Chocolate Buttercream:
80g good dark chocolate
130g unsalted soft butter
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

  • Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat it like a maniac with an electric beater until all combined. That’s it!
  • Pour the gloopy mixture into the prepared tins, bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins of until an uncooked piece of spaghetti inserted into the centre of the cake comes away clean.
  • Leave to cool for five mins before removing from the pans and peeling off the baking paper carefully.
  • For the frosting, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over some boiling water and set aside to cool. Meanwhile beat together the butter, vanilla and icing sugar until fluffy (this will take a while). Add the melted chocolate and beat until combined.
  • Spread frosting on one of the cakes and sandwich them together. Cover the rest of the cake with the remainder of the frosting.
  • Depending on how glum you are top with chocolate buttons, chocolate shaving, crumbled flakes – the world is your oyster.

And look, you just did something VERY well! Take that January blues!

1 comment:

  1. Nicola, this cake looks delicious! I completely understand what you mean about finding food antidotes : ) I was so sorry to read of your home being broken into. I hope you are starting to feel safe & restorred again - keep leaning on those truths you know - that your true treasure is safe in heaven.