There are certain times when chocolate will only do. Valentines Day or a birthday are such occasions. However, I also use this cake as a dessert by adding, cream, ice cream and even custard. It is one recipe you should master, so that you can use it time and again! It gets better after a couple of days kept in a dome…. that is if you can keep people away from it that long.
320 g of very soft butter
260 g self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
260 g caster sugar
3 heaped tbsp of good quality cocoa powder
280 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs beaten
180 g icing sugar
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
2 Extra tbsp of milk
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease and line a 24 cm cake tin.
Beat only 260 g of the butter and sugar together until pale. In a separate bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the cocoa powder together. In a jug mix together the milk, vanilla extract and eggs. With the mixer running slowly (or by folding if by hand) alternate adding a couple of tablespoons of the dry flour ingredients, and then a good slug of the milk and egg ingredients. Keep alternating until both sets of ingredients have been used up. Run a spatula around the bowl, to check everything has been combined.
Pour into the cake tin and place into the oven for around 40-50 minutes. After 40 minutes just check with a skewer in the middle of the cake, to make sure it is cooked. If any mix sticks to the skewer just place the cake back into the oven, to cook for a little longer.
Once cooked, leave to cool firstly in the tin and then on a wire rack. It is important that the cake is cool for the next stage with the buttercream topping…. Or you will end up with a mess.
To make the buttercream topping, whip up the remaining 60 g of butter, 180 g of icing sugar, cocoa powder and additional 2 tbsp of milk. Whip it up until smooth. Then you can either divide the cake into two, and input a small amount of the buttercream before sandwiching the two halves together, then use the remaining buttercream to coat the top and sides. Or, you can leave the cake whole and just coat the top and sides with the buttercream.
I also like to add decorations like more flaked chocolate, sprinkles or with mini eggs at Easter time. This cake is also great as a pudding and birthday cake. It is so versatile and delicious.