This week I had the privilege of making a special birthday cake for the lovely Jools Oliver. Working for Jamie means I have known Jools for quite a few years now; she is such a lovely lady, incredibly down to earth and a wonderful inspiring mother. She has been very supportive since we lost Archie, her kind and heartfelt words have meant a lot. So when I bumped into Jamie a few weeks ago I mentioned I would love to make her a cake, as a gift for her 40th birthday and a way of saying thank you for her support. When I asked her favourite flavour, I was told ‘chocolate and coffee’. Dream combo. So I took that and went from there…
Needless to say there were a lot of chocolate and coffee components! Including salted pretzel coffee bean caramel, shards of marbled chocolate with chocolate honeycomb pieces and torched homemade marshmallow to finish.
I’ve never made a cake I haven’t delivered myself, so when I let this creation go I was so nervous. I knew it wasn’t being given to Jools until the following day and I just prayed it would make it and stay in one piece! I’m glad to report it did, minus a bit of broken chocolate shard, but I can deal with that. It was a potential mudslide of a cake I was worried about!
So for this blog post I am sharing the base of this creation, the recipe for my favourite foolproof chocolate cake. I use this recipe for all sorts, I even used it as part of our wedding cake. It keeps really well and freezes perfectly too.
MY FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 275g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 150g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 6 large eggs, free range or organic
- 150g self raising flour
- 30g good quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- A shot of espresso or tablespoon of vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180/ gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm spring form cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Bash up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter and sugar. Pop the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Give it a little stir from time to time, until it is all melted, glossy and smooth. Remove the bowl, and leave it to one side for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs in jug, and once the 10 minutes is up gradually whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Do this bit by bit, and whisk vigorously between each addition. Once the eggs are all incorporated sift in the self raising flour, cocoa and sea salt, then fold them in with a large metal spoon until just mixed together. Stir in the espresso or vanilla, if using, and then pour the cake mix into your prepared tin.
Bake in the middle of your oven for around 50 minutes, or until just cooked through. A skewer should come out clean, but still look like the cake is moist. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 – 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. I then slice my cake into 3 even rounds, and finish however my heart desires! Sea salt caramel and cream, black forest gateau, with boozy cointreau and orange frosting… the possibilities are endless.