Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A chocolate cake for people who don't like chocolate cake

I may have lamented here before that Pink doesn't like chocolate cake.

That doesn't stop me trying.

On Saturday, my father in law came for the day. He took us out for lunch (woo hoo!) so I thought I'd better have the wherewithal in to provide 'tea'.

Tea as it is in the Husband's family is something I never came across growing up. Sure, if we'd had a huge Sunday lunch, we would have a light meal - boiled eggs or something, but the Husband's family does this thing where you have a huge meal in the middle of the day and then, perhaps no more than 3 hours (if you are lucky) later, the table is once again filled to groaning point with ham, cheese, bread, butter, jam, sliced tomatoes, salad, pickles and the like, plus at least one kind of cake and may be some biscuits, and you are expected to eat. And eat. And drink tea. It can be quite hard going.

The worst time this happened was the day after the Princess of Wales died. I will never ever forget that day, not because I had any particular love of Diana, but that was the day the Husband and I were due to pay a visit to 'Nan' - his grandmother - a formidable lady probably in her late 80s (she is now 102 and still going, although not quite so strongly), and I woke up feeling not very well. Ordinarily, we would have cried off, but Nan was and is a huge Royalist and we knew she would have been upset by the news, so we carried on as intended. By the time I'd womanfully worked my way through an enormous roast lunch, I was feeling really poorly, and kept having to excuse myself to be sick, but we didn't want to worry her - or lead her to believe that I was pregnant (I wasn't telling her that I wasn't feeling well, and we weren't married at the time, so pregnancy would not have been good). Nan, you'll understand, is also not one to hold with diets or any of that sort of thing, so there was no option but to plough on through for tea. That I managed to keep a grip and put up a good enough show of eating that Nan didn't ask me if I was anorexic is a testament to my otherwise non-existent acting skills. It was not a good day. In fact, it turns out that I had viral meningitis, but that's a whole other story.

But back to the purpose of this post. Chocolate cake. I was determined not to produce some enormous feast for tea, but I did want to have a cake available. I was musing out loud about this to the Husband, when he interrupted. "Can it just be like a NORMAL cake. Nothing healthy. Just cake. Actually, can it be chocolate - but proper chocolate cake.". Poor man is obviously feeling the strain of living with woman on a diet, where cake made with pureed dates just isn't cutting it.

Well, Saturday wasn't one of my fast days, so I set to. Chocolate, he wanted, and chocolate he got. This started off as Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake, with icing from the Chocolate Malteser cake, both of which are in Feast. However, once I got started, I did fiddle about a bit (with apologies to both Nigella and the Husband) based on what I had available and to try and accomodate Pink, and I did (ssh) put fat-free Greek yoghurt in it rather than sour cream. But otherwise, a perfectly acceptable, made with proper butter and chocolate cake. And the best thing about it was that Pink liked it. She liked it so much that she wants it for her birthday cake. Praise indeed.

 200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
50g drinking chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
170ml 0% fat Greek yoghurt

20cm round springform cake tin, buttered and 'floured' with cocoa powder (Note: I started off thinking I'd make 2 sandwich tins, then decided I wanted one fat cake, topped with icing. Then once I'd baked it, I decided to split and fill it anyway. So may be it would be better to have done it in 2 tins to start with...)

Make sure everything is at room temperature, then pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz them up to a smooth thick batter. Scrape this in to the tin, then bake for around 35 - 45 minutes till a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool on a rack.

For the icing, you will need:

250g icing sugar
2 dessert spoons of cocoa
125g very soft unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of boiling water

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a mixer, then add the butter in cubes and start to mix together, slowly at first then as it starts to get combined, turn the speed up. Add the boiling water and continue to beat till you get a smooth buttercream.

I split the cake and iced the middle and the top.



  1. Yum! Wish my cakes would rise, must be a knack.

    1. Viral Meningitis? You poor thing... Is your husband of Northern stock by any chance, this post so reminded me of some of my family! :D

    2. Welsh & South London more than Northern - I'm the northerner and we never had tea like they do!

  2. I'm definitely one of those people who don't cake for chocolate cake, but I'll try this one!

  3. I'm glad to find that even British people feel alien to this particular tradition of 'tea'! The chocolate cake looks yummy and one I could even do with DS (not really practical to start fiddling with a bain-marie with a 4 yo!)

    1. ;-) it would be a very easy cake to do with kids - kind of chuck it all in and whizz it up. Ideal!

  4. That is a belting looking cake RJ!

  5. my mother-in-law does a mean tea - not a spare space on the table.. Think she has a deep-seated fear of anyone going hungry. Never going to happen!
    Love chocolate, but I'm with Pink on chocolate cake - strangely not really that fussed. Everyone else is though, so do make it a fair bit, and with birthdays coming up I'll definitely give this a go :)

  6. Hi RJ,

    Sorry that I laughed when I first saw your title because I have also baked a bread and butter pudding for people who don't like bread and butter pudding.

    However, this will not happen at our house because we are all chocolate cake lovers... I'm eying to bake Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake too and like the fact that you use 0% Greek yogurt for a healthier option.


  7. my kind of cake to be honest... I'm in the non chococlate chocolate cake camp.. great story too. I have suspected meningitis when I was a kid and this was in the day when they put you into quarentine... horrid experience I can tell you!


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