These are not the photos I had intended for this post.
I had actually been hoping for something more like this, but without the glare - because in real life, this cake is a splendid looking creation:
Still, March so far has been such a month of highs and lows, cheers one moment and tears the next, that it seemed more reasonable to let everyone get their hands into the photo (and into the cake) than not.
I made it twice this week - yes, it's that good! And it's that easy! - and would have gone for a third, even if just for the photo op, but the rest of my life has been encroaching on my time in the kitchen lately.
I should have reason to make one more celebratory cake in the very near future, though, and when I do, this will be the one.
Easy Does It Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
The ingredients in the original recipe for this are measured by weight, which I recognize is not easy for everyone, so I've included approximate traditional measurements as well for everything but the icing sugar, which I find easier to eyeball anyway. In an ideal world, all of the ingredients would be at room temperature before you started, but please don't let that be the deal-breaker.
200g (1 1/2c) all purpose flour
200g (1c plus 2 tbsp) sugar
40g (1/2c) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
175g (3/4c) unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3c sour cream
75g (1/4c plus1-2 tbsp) unsalted butter
175g (6 oz.) best-quality dark chocolate
300g icing sugar
1 tbsp liquid honey
1/2c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment.
Place all of the cake ingredients in the food processor (seriously!) and process until a smooth, thick batter is formed. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake in the middle of the oven about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes 10 minutes in their pans and then invert onto a rack to cook completely.
When cakes have cooled, make the icing:
Combine butter and chocolate in a large bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the icing sugar (I usually eyeball, just over half of a 500g bag to start with the intention of adding more if needed) in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to get rid of any lumps.
Add honey, sour cream, and vanilla to cooled chocolate mixture and beat with a spatula until smooth.
With processor running, add chocolate mixture to icing sugar. Icing should be glossy and spreadable, but thick enough that it will not drip off the cake. If you find you need more icing sugar, add it by tablespoonsful until desired consistency is reached.
Place one cooled cake on a cake plate, up (rounded) side down. Spread about a third of the icing onto the bottom cake, then top with second cake, this one right side up. Spread remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake.
Decorate however you see fit, or not at all.