What better way to kick off the new year than with a rich, delicious cake? The brilliant minds behind “National Chocolate Cake Day” on January 27, were clearly thinking the same thing.
There is no shortage of excellent chocolate cake recipes. We found one by pastry chef Khashifah Ismail that is fast and easy to whip up to celebrate this special day.
Khashifah Ismail’s decadent chocolate cake
250g soft margarine
1½ cups castor sugar
4 tsp baking powder
4 tbs cocoa powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
400g dark chocolate, chopped
400ml whipping cream
2 tbs butter
Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a rack in the centre. Line two 20cm x 20cm square pans with baking paper.
Place the margarine and sugar in a bowl and, using a hand-held beater with a paddle attachment, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat between each egg. Add the vanilla essence and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing in slowly until well combined and lump-free.
Pour half the batter into each cake tin (note: always weigh the batter to get the exact amount into each pan) and bake for 35 minutes. Insert a cake skewer into the middle, and if it comes out clean, the cakes are done.
Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the tins.
Next, make sugar syrup by heating half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water until the sugar dissolves.
When cool, use a pastry brush to apply the syrup to both cakes as this will keep them moist and allow the chocolate ganache to stick to the cake more effectively.
For the chocolate ganache, heat the cream until just before it starts to boil, then remove from the heat and pour it over the broken-up chocolate, stirring all the while, so the chocolate melts.
Add the butter and mix well so the ganache is shiny. Leave to cool overnight.
To assemble: cut the cakes in half so you have four layers. Whip the ganache to a piping consistency, place it into a piping bag, and apply it until it covers the entire cake. Set in the fridge until firm, then slice, serve and eat!