Archive for April 16th, 2008

Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (I made Cupcakes!)

The easiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make (and icing…fabulous!)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup best-quality cocoa
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream ( I used low fat yogurt, plus 2 tbsp mayo)

Special equipment: 2 (each 8-inch diameter) layer tins with removable bases, buttered – or 12 piece muffin tin

6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
3/4 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup sour cream ( I used low fat yogurt, plus 2 tbsp mayo that makes up 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
Sugar flowers, to decorate, optional

Take everything out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put all the cake ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared cup cake tins and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, which should be about 25-35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25 minutes (cup cakes were done at 25 minutes in a convection oven) . Also, it might make sense to turn the tins around in the oven halfway through cooking time. Remove the cup cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the frosting later.

To make this icing, melt the chocolate and butter (on the second time I made this, I actually only melted 1/2 cup of the butter with the chocolate, and the other 1 cup I whipped with the icing sugar – it made for a thicker less runny icing) in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly either way: you don’t want any burning or seizing.

While the chocolate and butter is cooling a little (I would reco cooling a lot…otherwise the icing is runny), sieve the confectioners’ sugar into another bowl. Or, easier still, put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz to remove lumps.

Add the corn syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved confectioners’ sugar. Or just pour this mixture down the funnel of the food processor onto the powdered sugar, with the motor running.

You may need to add a little boiling water, say a teaspoon or so, or indeed some more confectioners’ sugar, depending on whether you need the frosting to be thiner or thicker. It should be liquid enough to coat easily, but thick enough not to drip off.

Spoon about a generous amount of the frosting onto each cup cake and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly. Add your decorations

I set these in the refigerator to cool the frosting a bit, but you may enjoy directly! YUM!

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