Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Bundt

I have baked many a chocolate cake over the years. There is something about a chocolate cake however that is difficult to get just right.  Firstly, in my opinion it has to be dark, not pale and caramel looking.  Secondly, it has to be rich in flavour – if you close your eyes it should be rich and luscious and actually tasting of chocolate and thirdly and the most important – it has to be moist yet light and this is the difficult bit.  You can achieve a moist cake but often it is heavy and almost sad in texture.  If you achieve a light crumb then too often it is dry and difficult to swallow. Following many attempts I have now achieved the perfect cake. This cake makes 2 x 8inch cakes which rise beautifully, are light in texture and moist and rich. You will see I have included anise, coffee and vanilla but be assured they come together to enhance the chocolate’s richness and are not detected as single flavours. The cake tins need to be base lined and greased but don’t use loose bottomed tins as the batter is very thin and may leak. If you are making the bundt cake then I strongly recommend brushing with my chocolate lining paste to ensure easy release.  Bundt cakes can soon dry out because so much of their surface is exposed to the air so I prefer to cover this cake completely with a thin dark chocolate water ganache which will keep the cake moist and wholesome.    


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan. Grease and base line 2 x 8 inch sandwich tins.

In a small jug place the milk then add the lemon juice then set aside and allow the milk to thicken.

Place the coffee powder, cocoa powder, anise (or spice), salt and vanilla extract in a small basin and pour over the boiling water. Give a regular stir to allow the chocolate to dissolve and all the cocoa lumps to disappear.   Once you have a smooth mixture pour in the oil and bicarbonate of soda. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave in 30 second bursts stirring between each session or melt in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs until thick and mousse like. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture it will leave a trail. Sift the flour then fold this into the egg mix.  Once the flour is well incorporated add the chocolate mix, the melted chocolate and curdled milk and stir everything together until you have a smooth yet runny batter.  Don’t be tempted to add the flour, chocolate and milk all together at the same time as you will have a lumpy batter.

Divide equally between the two tins then bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are risen and springy to the touch.

Remove from the tins as soon as the cakes are cool enough to handle.

Cool completely on trays.

Once cool the cakes can be filled and sandwiched together with a whole range of fillings and frostings. A quick and simple filling is blackcurrant jam then a layer of fresh whipped double cream – a sort of Black Forest Cake !

Or – try a simple ganache that can be cooled and once thickened spread to sandwich your cake together. There will be enough left to decorate the top. You will require 100g Dark Chocolate and 100ml double cream.

Break the chocolate into small pieces then place in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the double cream just until  little bubbles form around the surface of the cream.  Do not boil.  Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for 3 minutes.  Take a small spatula or wooden spoon and stir the mixture until the chocolate dissolves and you have a smooth shiny cream.  This can be used in its liquid state to pour over cupcakes etc but if you leave it to cool then it will thicken and can be used to fill the cake and piped onto the top if you want to show off !

For the Bundt : Follow the same method as the sandwich cakes then bake at 160 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the cake leaves the sides of the tin.  Leave in the tin to cool for about 20 minutes before turning out.

To cover the sponge in a chocolate ganache you will need to break the chocolate into a heatproof jug and add the butter.  Pour over then the measured amount of recently boiled water and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Allow to cool to thicken to the consistency of double cream then pour over the cooled cake.  I find it easier to place the bundt on a cooling rack over a plate. Have a second plate ready.  Pour over the cooled chocolate then change plates – use the caught drips, transfer back into the jug and repeat until every part of the sponge has been covered.  Sprinkle over a grating of chocolate if you prefer as a finish.  Leave the chocolate to set completely.

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