Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Perhaps it was the weather. Perhaps it was the back-to-school feeling in the air. Or perhaps it was the self-imposed frugality following our holiday. Whatever the reason, I really, really wanted to make a chocolate cake today. A rich, decadent, indulgent cake, that you can't even look at without feeling those calories.

So, having made most of Nigella's other chocolate cakes, I chose the Sour Cream cake in How to be a Domestic Goddess. A quick trip to the supermarket for the sour cream, and I was content, whisking, baking and icing.

The cake was, as chocolate cakes mostly are, very simple to make. It was also one of the less pricy of Nigella's cakes, using cocoa instead of 70% dark chocolate. The sponge itself is very light, while the icing is probably the best chocolate icing I have every tasted - rich and unctuous, yet without that sticky cloying that you get with many icings.

The sponge method, however, is unusual - the butter is mixed with the dry ingredients, almost like a crumble, and then the eggs, sour cream and cocoa are mixed separately, like in a muffin mix. Apparently, this is a modern chocolate cake method.

Sour-cream Chocolate Cake with Sour-Cream Icing


For the cake:

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g soft unsalted butter
40g cocoa
150ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 x 2cm sandwich tins, buttered and lined

For the icing:
80g milk chocolate
80g dark chocolate
75g unsalted butter
125ml sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon golden syrup
300g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot water


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a large bowl. Use and electric mixer to add the butter. In a wide-mouthed measuring jug, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, then slowly add this cocoa mixture to the ingredients in the bowl, beating until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 25 minutes; when they're ready the cakes should be starting to shrink back from the edges of the tins. Leave for 10- minutes in their tins on the racks, then turn out to cool.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave, or in a bowl over hot water. Let cool a little, then stir in the sour cream, vanilla and syrup. Add the sieved icing sugar and a little hot water, blending until smooth. When you've got the texture right, ice the cakes, top, middle and sides.


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