Friday, August 17, 2012

Baker's Corner: Iced Chocolate Cake

As I sat mulling over what sweet treat to bake next, it occurred to me to flip through one of my trusted cake books for inspiration. Hmmmm.....shall I bake a simple, non-fussy cake? How about if I whip up a batch of dainty cupcakes? Or shall I step out out of my comfort zone an attempt an intricate layered cake? All these thoughts were zooming through my head. At the end, I thought I'd stick to something basic since the realization hit me that a layered cake would be way out of my league! My agenda is to master the easy cakes first before going for something more complex. I always learn something new during each of my baking ventures and I have found that this helps me to better my next attempt. I picked this simple Iced Chocolate Cake from the book Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes. Chocolate cake is an absolute no never fails to impress! And when it comes to cake toppings, a good icing is what I prefer.

I didn't have the recommended size of cake tin that this particular recipe called for (rectangular 12 x 9 inch) so I used what I had with me (a square 8 x 8 inch). The tin I used could comfortably hold the volume of the cake batter but I felt the icing ingredients could have been reduced by half. I found that I had a lot of chocolate icing left over. Guess who had a massive sugar rush at the end of the day?! Anyway, the cake turned out chocolatey and moist with a subtle hint of fruitiness from the apricot jam and the sweetness of the chocolate icing. If you don't like your cakes too sweet, you can cut down on the amount of icing. I had some chocolate vermicelli lying around that I had previously used as a doughnut topping so I used that for decoration but you can use whatever you have.

Here is the recipe. I hope you try it out! 

Iced Chocolate Cake

Preparation Time: 15-20 min
Baking Time: 35-40 min
Makes: 21 pieces
Recipe Level: Easy
Recipe Category: Dessert/Western
Recipe Source: Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Equipment needed: Cake tin 30 x 23cm (12 x 9 inch), electric whisk, pastry brush


For the cake:
4 level tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp hot water
225g unsalted butter, softened
220g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tbsp milk

For the icing:

4 tbsp apricot jam
150g semi-sweet chocolate (40-60% cocoa solids)
5 tbsp water
300g sifted icing sugar
1 tsp sunflower oil
Chocolate curls for decoration

  1. Bring all the cake ingredients to room temperature before you begin
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C/Fan 160 degC/gas4. Grease the tin and line the base with baking/parchment paper.  
  3. Blend together the cocoa and hot water. Keep aside and allow to cool slightly. 
  4. Measure all the dry ingredients. Sift the flour and baking powder together using a sieve. Now place all the cake ingredients (including the cocoa mixture) in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. 
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 min or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the center with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin. If your cake has risen in the center, use a sharp knife to make the surface flat and even. 
  6. Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan until it goes runny and brush all over the surface of the cake (this step prevents the crumbs from the cake getting into the icing). 
  7. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a pan with the water, heating gently until melted and smooth. Leave to cool slightly, then beat in the icing sugar and oil. Pour over the cold cake and smooth over gently with a palette knife. Leave to set for about an hour. 
  8. Cut into squares and decorate with chocolate curls/vermicelli.
  • Wait for the icing to set before cutting into the cake.....patience is a virtue here! 
  • You might have to rinse off the knife between cutting as the cake crumbs tend to collect on it and deposit on the icing. If you look closely, you can see that I had that problem! 
  • I found that this cake doesn't refrigerate very well. If you live in a cold country, you could just store the cake in an air-tight box at room temperature, I couldn't keep it at room temperature because of the terrible heat & humidity in Singapore (high moisture + high sugar + high temperature = bacteria feeding frenzy!) and so I had to resort to the fridge but I felt it made the cake a little hard and dry. Microwaving it for a few seconds before serving helps slightly but you shouldn't overdo it because the icing starts to get all runny. 


1 comment:

  1. Looking delicious.. Nice recipe. I am gonna try it. Send cake to Mysore to your loved once on special occasion and make that day memorable


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