family · recipes


chocolate cake

I’m not afraid of spiders,
and lions don’t make me quake,
but there’s one thing I cannot pass,
and that is, and that is,
a chocolate cake!

But why are you afraid of a chocolate cake Grandma? was something I often wondered, when in early childhood, as I followed my grandmother around her garden she would recite this and other childhood rhymes to me. Now, many decades later, I have come to understand the essence of this verse clearly. One of the most divine (and irresistible) experiences of life, is certainly a slice of fresh, lavishly iced, rich chocolate cake.

My preference is for chocolate rather than cocoa in a chocolate cake and moist fudginess (the sour cream takes care of that). Turn out one of these, and let’s see if you have the courage to pass it.

1 cup boiling water
125g dark chocolate, broken up
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g softened butter
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease a large bundt tin or two loaf tins.
  3. Combine water, chocolate and bicarb in a bowl and stir until chocolate is melted (it foams up and becomes light and airy). Leave to one side.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and gradually mix through the chocolate mixture.
  6. Sift the remaining three dry ingredients and fold into the mix alternately with the sour cream.
  7. Beat the egg whites until peaks form and fold into the mixture.
  8. Spoon mix gently into prepared tin(s) and bake for40-45 minutes (loaf tins) or 1-1 1/4 hours for large tin. Test with a skewer to ensure cake(s) are cooked through.

Our cake was topped with a chocolate icing – melted butter and chocolate, icing sugar, vanilla essence and 2 tbsp of boiling water, but it is equally good dusted with icing sugar and served with fresh thick cream.

slice of chocolate cake

Postscript: if you reside with locusts, as I do, this recipe is brilliant as the end result will be a large generous cake, or two regulars (one for now and the other for the freezer – if it makes it there)