Chocolate Cake



Ah, Sunday.  I love lazy day Sundays.  It’s the only day when I feel I can genuinely do very little and not feel the slightest bit guilty.  And today is one of those days.  A day when we have done nothing in particular except make chocolate cake.

There were two requests.  One for fresh cream in between the layers, the other for strawberries on top.  I can do that.

So, we start with the usual, creaming butter and castor sugar, only to find that we don’t have enough castor sugar.  In fact, we only have soft brown sugar.  So that’s what we make it with.  Then in go the eggs, shortly followed by the self raising flour, cocoa and baking powder, all sieved in, until it looks all sumptuous, pale brown and gooey.  But as I’m looking at it, I’m thinking it could do with a little more moisture, so we add a couple of splashes of double cream.

Now we all know as a child there was nothing more exciting when baking, than being allowed to quality control every stage of the proceedings, followed by what we used to call licking out the bowl, although we always did it with a spoon.  And so it is with my beautiful assistant, aged 4.  Each step has a small finger dipped into it and devoured with relish.

Eventually the mixture is poured into the tins, levelled off, and popped into a warm oven.

We wait. And wait. And wait.

Thirty minutes go by, and I feel brave enough to open the oven door.  A gentle push in the centre of the cake, and back it springs.  It’s ready to be released from it’s cosy cage.  So far so good.  Imagine our surprise, therefore, when on taking the cake tins out of the oven, the cakes have risen to resemble ski slopes.  How did that happen?

It reminds me of the time when we realised our last oven had eventually given up the ghost.  I had made some scones for afternoon tea, and popped them into the aforementioned oven.  Twenty minutes later, they were still lounging around on the baking tray with not an inkling of being baked.  I turned up the temperature ever so slightly, and left them for another twenty minutes.  Nothing.  In fact, they eventually ended up staying in the oven all night and still, nothing.  Which is when it occurred to me that the oven may indeed, not be working to full capacity.  Or, in truth, at all.

Back to the chocolate cake.  We take the ski slopes out of the tins, and leave them to cool.  Meanwhile, I thought I would just a have a quick surf on the internet to see how other people tackled fresh cream in cakes.  And I couldn’t find anywhere that just whipped the cream and put it in.  Everything seems to involve icing sugar and other fancy methods.  So I chose to ignore those recipes and just whipped the cream, popped it in between and atop of the cake, chopped up the strawberries, and threw then on top with my take of a ‘television chef’ flourish.

As a nod to my internet searching, I did sieve a small amount of icing sugar over the top of the strawberries and cream.  Well, it would be rude not to.






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