So, aside from the realisation halfway through baking that this cake has the best chocolate frosting on the planet which is reason enough to make it, I fancied a slice of chocolate fudge cake after lunch yesterday, so as a result I spent all afternoon baking one!
The recipe is from the Mary Berry Ultimate Cake Book, the book my mother taught me to bake out of, and that I know is a popular classic - I know Leia from Leia's Delights has adapted some of her recipes from there!
Sorry about the quality of some of the photographs - I was paying more attention to the cake than to my camera for a change!
For The Cake
1.5 rounded tablespoons of cocoa (I use Cadbury's Bournville), sifted
3 tablespoons hot water
6oz (175g) soft margarine
6oz (175g) caster sugar
3 large eggs
6oz (175g) self-raising flour, sifted
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
For The Fudge Icing
2oz (50g) margarine
1oz (25g) cocoa, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
8oz (225g) icing sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons apricot jam
First, you need to pre heat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas mark 4. I use an AGA to cook at home usually, but when I'm baking having the exact right heat is important so I always use an oven I can control instead.
Next you need to grease two 2x7 inch (18cm) cake tins and line the bottoms with rounds of greaseproof paper you can get in any good cook shop. You can dip a piece of kitchen towel in margarine and use that to grease the tin, but a trick my mother taught me was to save empty butter foils in the fridge and use the butter residue on them to grease trays for baking - it works brilliantly!
Sift the cocoa powder into a big bowl and add the hot water, mixing together until it forms a thick, smooth liquid with no lumps. Leave it to cool.
While the cocoa mixture is cooling down, in another bowl measure out all the other cake ingredients.
Once the cocoa mixture is cool to the touch add all the other ingredients and either by hand with a plastic spoon, or even better using an electric whisk beat all of the ingredients together. You should do this for two minutes if you are beating by hand (you have to be quite strong for this!), or one minute if you're using a whisk. The mixture should have increase in volume, be full of air and be slightly paler in colour. However, be careful not to over do it as too much air will create big bubbles and make your sponge not as smooth when it comes out of the oven - I'm afraid it's really practice makes perfect with this one!
Pour the mixture equally into the two tins and smooth over the tops with a spatular. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins, until the sponge springs back from your touch and you can see that it is slightly pulling away from the edges of the tin.
Take out of the oven and place on a wire rack if you have one, if not any flat safe surface but do not turn out of the tins. Wait to do this until the cake tins have cooled so you can touch them, this stops the sponge from breaking away as you take it out of the tin, because if your cake is nice and moist this may still happen even if he cake is thoroughly cooked. To turn out the cakes gently place your palm on the top, take the tin off the the cake resting on your hand, then quickly and carefully flip the sponge back onto the wire rack or chopping board to completely cool through.
Now it's time to make the chocolate frosting.
Melt the margarine in a small pan, then add the sifted cocoa. Move the pan onto the heat and cook for a minute, and a minute only. You need to keep on stirring as the mixture will thicken quickly and you need to make sure it doesn't burn. Take off the heat then keep on stirring as you add the milk to thin the mixture.
Sift the icing sugar and mix half of it into the icing until it is completely blended into the mixture, then do the same with the second half of the icing sugar. Make sure the icing is blended completely so the icing is smooth.
Melt the jam in a saucepan, and unless you don't mind your frosting appearing slightly lumpy on your cake (I don't mind, so I skip this step unless I'm makign this cake as a birthday cake and I want it to look perfect), press the hot jam through a sieve with a spoon so all the lumps are removed.
Decide which cake half would look better on top of the cake, and brush half of the jam all over the base of the other cake. Then use a knife or a spatular to smooth half of the frosting on top of the cake. Carefully sandwich the top half of the cake on, then paint the top with the rest of the jam, then the rest of the frosting.
This cake is great with tea, but also fantastic served with raspberries as a desert!
What was the last cake you baked?