When we set about on this Gluggable (…don’t say journey…don’t say journey) adventure and sat down to write our favourite recipes, I (Simon) was of two minds when it came to this one. I thought: “Does the internet need another chocolate cake recipe?” – but also, “There’s a reason why I’m holding a slice of chocolate cake in our first photo shoot.” Indeed, it’s not just any chocolate cake; it is my maternal grandmother’s chocolate cake – and if this journey (dammit!) was about sharing recipes we love to make people happy, then there was no question: This one takes the cake.
I’ve fiddled a bit with Gran’s original recipe, and I might do her Yorkshire “prudence” a disservice in suggesting full-on icing coverage (“A dusting of icing sugar is fine, pet”) – but it’s deeply satisfying either way. For a gluten-free version, you could substitute the flour with 220 grams of ground almonds.
FOR THE CAKE
250 grams all-purpose flour (or 220 grams ground almonds)
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cocoa
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
FOR THE ICING
1 stick unsalted butter
200 grams dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa), roughly chopped
3 cups icing sugar, sieved
1 tablespoon corn syrup
½ cup 35% cream
- Place all ingredients on your work surface and, while they come up to room temperature, preheat the oven to 350°F
- Butter and flour – or otherwise line two 8” (20cm) cake tins
- Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Gran, however, would just mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl, then beat in the softened butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs. Tip this into the thick mixture and beat until smooth.
- Evenly divide the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 35 minutes (until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean) – though take a peek after 30. It’s not a bad idea to switcheroo your cake tin positions midway through.
- Set the cakes (in their tins) on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before turning out.
- To make this icing, melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the simmering water – nor let any drips splash into the chocolate and butter as you don’t want the chocolate to seize.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and let it cool a little before pouring in the corn syrup, followed by the cream and vanilla. A note: You might need to add a few drops of boiling water or add some additional icing sugar, depending on icing consistency. It should be smooth enough to spread easily yet still hold in place and not drip.
- To build the cake, slab some (about a third) of the icing onto the centre of one cake half. Spread the icing evenly to the edge, then carefully set the other cake half on top. Resist the temptation to squish together – but a gentle smoosh is good.9. Here’s where Gran would wrap things up with a final dusting of icing sugar (and us, grandkids would share the leftover icing!) – but to continue icing, spoon half the remaining icing on top. Smooth evenly and then spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Leave to set for a few minutes, then dive in!