This is a guest post by Simon, Kimberly’s loving boyfriend, and occasional master baker. You can follow him on Twitter @Simonrclark.
I haven’t baked for absolutely freaking ages, and it was my birthday last Thursday, so I opted for a four day weekend and decided to bake a cake to take to in to work with me on Wednesday (my Friday). I’m a person who enjoys a good sugar hit of a dessert, so I opted for a recipe I’ve tried and tested and gorged myself on more than once, The Foody’s Moist Chocolate Cake. It’s chocolate throughout, and when I say ‘hit’ I’m not joking – there’s a full pound of sugar in total, so I like to call it the chocolate diabetes cake, but I’m hesitant to call it that since I tweeted it and am now being followed by some diabetes charity – maybe they think I’m morbidly obese?
170g (6oz) Margarine
170g (6oz) Caster Sugar
110g (4oz) Self Raising flour
85g (3oz) Drinking Chocolate
3 Eggs, well beaten
A little hot water
110g (4oz) Icing Sugar
50g (2oz) Margarine
50g (2oz) Drinking Chocolate
Water or milk if necessary
170g (6oz) Icing Sugar
50g (2oz) Drinking Chocolate
A little hot water
I haven’t included measurements for water or milk since I find these will depend on the exact mixture you end up with, so it’s best to add a little at a time to get the consistency right. If it gets too wet you can always add a bit more flour/chocolate/whatever.
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, then sort out a couple of 8″/ 20-ish centimetre tins by lining their bottoms and greasing them, and start with the base.
Sometimes I like to bake topless – this is mostly due to the roasting effect of baking in a small windowless kitchen with halogen light bulbs. For some reason Kimberly likes to photograph me when there is clearly yummy food in the vicinity. If you don’t want to see my ‘hot bod’, look away now…
Mix the flour and chocolate, sieving them so it’s a nice fine powder. I presume this helps them mix as well as removing any lumps, but I end up making clouds of the various ingredients. Though the taste and smell of chocolate clouds is far from unpleasant, it does leave the first bit of brown mess on the kitchen, a light dust.
Next mix the margarine and eggs well until the mixture’s light, stiff and sticky, with a bit of the flour to avoid curdling. As I strive for fluffiness, spatters of unmixed fat yolk punctuate the layer of chocolatey silt on both me and the kitchen.
Gradually add the rest of the flour mix to the egg and margarine. I always do these two in the wrong order putting the flour and cocoa into a massive bowl, and the wet mixture in a smaller bowl, so I end up transferring it back in the the bigger one. It doesn’t seem to make any difference to the end product, however, other than making even more brown mess and losing a bit of the mixture.
Add a little hot water to get the mix to a good consistency, and spread out half the mix in each tin. This I find a bit tricky, and it is apparently the point at which my left-handedness becomes a disability. That or I’m just cackhanded like everyone says. You need to make sure it’s not just a dollop – vaguely central, roundish, flat and smoothed on the top. Not easy when you dealing with a sticky mixture that won’t come off the spoon and trying to spread it on a paper lining slipping around in a greased tin…
The actual baking is the best bit of making yummy treats like this, as it’s where the magic – or ‘chemistry’ as it’s sometimes called – happens. Whack the tins in the oven, and watch the bases bake and grow for about 25 minutes, or until firm but springy to the touch. Mine always expand but barely reach the edges, but it always tastes great so I presume I’m doing it right. Kimberly insisted on doing the skewer test to see if it was done, but since this is a moist cake it’s supposed to be a little bit gooey right in the middle. Apart from anything, I’d rather err on the side of moistness, since if you overcook it you can end up with really dry bits which won’t have such a lovely texture.
When they’re done, turn the bases out onto a cooling rack and let them cool while you make the filling. This bit might seem easy since all you need to do is mix all the ingredients together, but it’s actually quite hard work to get it all mixed together and creamy. Water and or milk can help but don’t make it too runny, or when you sandwich the bases it’ll squirt out the side, which is a total pain. I find it hard to make the filling soft enough to get to the edges without leaking excessively, but it’s easier to fill in the gaps than take the whole damn cake apart and start trying to refill it.
For the icing mix the ingredients, gradually adding the water, again aiming for that magic consistency – too runny and your creation will be standing in a pool of it’s own brown chocolate. Usually I’m pretty good at the icing, using a knife dipped in hot water, but by now it was getting late and I was hot and frustrated so Kimberly stepped up with her weapon of choice, the silicon icing wand, and finished the job.
On Wednesday morning I had to take the cake on the tube so was expecting to have to carry it on my head or something, given how busy it’s been, but surprisingly I had plenty of space, so the biggest problem was bleary-eyed commuters eyeing up my wares. In the office, the thing disappeared very quickly and was met with much praise, and questions including if Kimberly had made it (she’s provided far more baked goods to my office than me, for shame). Happy birthday to me!