Moist. Dense. Decadently chocolatey. I don’t know anyone who has stopped at having just one piece!
If you watch Junior Masterchef and loved the look of Donna Hay’s chocolate cake challenge, this recipe might just be the next best thing. From what I saw on on the show both the ingredients and method look remarkably similar. And so does the cake itself.
Best of all it is easy to make and uses just a few pantry staples, plus good quality butter. It is versatile enough to use as a ‘mudcake’ to be covered in royal icing for birthday cakes, can be layered with buttercream icing or baked in a muffin tin for lunchbox-sized treats. I have made it dozens of times now and it always turns out, so it’s one of my favourite last minute party cakes. If you like mudcake, you will like this slightly lighter version.
I chose the Rocher icing for this cake (recipe below), because hazelnuts go so well with chocolate and the broken up wafer from the chocolate gives the icing an interesting crunch. If you are allergic to nuts you may choose to use just a plain ganache icing, which is just as easy to make and just as delicious (recipe below also).
I like to serve the cake while still slightly warm in the middle, as the vanilla and cocoa aroma is much more intense then and the cake is even more spongy and soft. To achieve a similar effect after the cake has cooled down, you can reheat pieces in the microwave on medium for 20 seconds.
Considering I found this recipe on an old Cadbury Cocoa box, it seems it’s worth trying those packet recipes from time to time. Leftover cake can be kept in the fridge for upto 5 days, but I’m sure it will never last that long…
For the cake:
- 1 cup water
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- 125g unsalted butter, chopped
- ½ cup Cocoa
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 1¼ cups self raising flour, sifted
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan forced, 350F, Gas Mark 4). Grease a 20cm round cake tin and dust with some flour. I recommend measuring out your dry ingredients first, placing flour aside in a small bowl for later.
Combine water, sugar, butter, cocoa and bicarb soda in an 8-cup capacity saucepan - this is important because the liquid will double in size as it heats up. Stir contents over heat, without boiling, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 2 minutes – this is where the mixture will rise and bubble. Turn off the heat and transfer liquid to a bowl. Cool to room temperature, mixing from time to time to incorporate the thin coating that forms on the surface (this takes about 30 minutes).
Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until just combined. Sift in flour in 5 batches, whisking to combine after each batch.
Pour batter into the greased tin. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the cake has risen and a test skewer comes out clean.
For the Rocher icing:
- 5 Ferrero Rocher balls, crushed
- 75g dark chocolate buttons
- 40g butter, softened
- 10 hazelnuts, crushed
Place dark chocolate buttons in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on medium for 40 seconds to melt.
Place butter, melted dark chocolate buttons, Rochers and hazelnuts in a bowl and fold to combine. Spoon icing onto cooled cake and spread with a knife.
For chocolate ganache icing:
- 200g dark chocolate buttons
- ½ cup thickened cream
Place dark chocolate buttons and cream in a saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until chocolate has melted – do not boil. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before spreading on the cake. It is a good idea to prepare this icing about 5 minutes before the cake is due to come out of the oven.