Chocolate Fudge Cake

David Herbert's chocolate fudge cake

I not really a great cake baker. In fact, I find the whole process of a baking a cake a bit of a bother. Cake making is not something where you can just wing it; you really have to get the ratios right and that means following a recipe. You have to gather and measure the ingredients, soften the butter, sift the flour – it’s a hassle and process that I usually baulk at, until I’m forced by some occasion (usually a birthday) to get it together and bake a cake.

This week, both my mother and sister-in-law had birthdays, so it was a week that demanded at least one cake was baked. Because I find cake baking a bit of toil and trouble, I need a recipe that is absolutely fail safe – there is nothing more depressing for the occasional cake baker to go the trouble of baking a cake and it turns out disastrously.

Chocolate fudge cake

This recipe comes from David Herbert’s Best-ever Baking Recipes, a book which is packed with delicious and fool-proof recipes for cakes suitable for every occasion. This chocolate fudge cake is light with the most incredible velvety, texture. Kids love it because it is rich and chocolate-y without being too intense. The chocolate ganache icing creates a sophisticated, swirly finish and is lethally and quite messily delicious in a chocolate-smears-all-over-the-face kind of way.

David Herbert's chocolate fudge cake

Better still, this cake is made with a very simple one-bowl method where you basically beat all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or hand mixer. I used a wooden spoon and it was kind of nice to make a cake with out plugging in some kind of electrical device. I didn’t soften the butter quite enough, so I had to beat the mix for quite a while and, even then, the mixture wasn’t completely smooth. I was sure I was heading into disaster territory and  it was going to be tough and inedible – but no, it turned out as  light, fudgy and velvety as the picture in the book promised.

Slice of chocolate fudge cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake

  • 100g unsalted butter, diced and softened at room temperature
  • 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate (between 35 or 50 per cent cocoa solids is good)
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 250mls milk
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Chocolate Ganache

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g dark chocolate chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease a 20 cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Roughly chop chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, set aside and let cool slightly.
  3. Combine the butter, eggs sugar and chocolate in a large bowl.
  4. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa into the bowl. Mix lemon juice into milk and wait until it curdles slightly, then pour milk into bowl.
  5. Beat with a hand-held mixer for 1–2 minutes or a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared tin. Bake for 50–60 minutes until firm in the middle. (My oven runs a bit hot, so the cake only took about 40 minutes to cook, so it’s good to check earlier.)
  7. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.
  8. When the cake is completely cool, make the ganache. Melt chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t have any direct contact with the water). Cool for about 20 minutes until the ganache thickens, then beat the ganache to fluff it up a bit. Spread ganache all over the cake in artistic swirls, let it set for half an hour before cutting.

This cake keeps well in an airtight container for up to five days.

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