‘The Worlds Best Chocolate Cake’
This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s cookbook ‘Sweet’. Originally when I bought this book I somehow overlooked it (he calls it his ‘Take-Home Chocolate Cake’); it only came to my attention when a friend told me that it’s also known as ‘The Worlds Best Chocolate Cake’. Well how could I not try it?… And yes, it is very, very good; depending on my mood it’s my ‘new’ favourite chocolate cake – there are so many! It’s great as a celebratory cake (topped with a rose as in the photo!); in fact I made it just recently for my Dad’s 90th birthday. It’s extremely easy to make, it’s a melt and mix recipe, you don’t even need a food processor and, if required, it works beautifully with gluten-free flour (I use Doves).
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2cm cubes, plus extra for greasing
200g dark chocolate, chopped into 2cm pieces ((I use Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate)
1½ tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 350ml boiling water
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
240g self-rising flour (gluten-free if required)
30g Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1½ teaspoons, for dusting
1/4 tsp salt
For the chocolate ganache:
200g dark chocolate, broken or chopped roughly into 2cm pieces (I use Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate)
200ml double cream
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
(*23cm round cake tin, greased and base lined with greaseproof paper)
- Place the butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Whisk in the sugar by hand until dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter here is liquid, don’t worry this is how it should be!
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven, 150’c fan, for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don’t worry, this is expected and it will be covered by the ganache! Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool.
- To make the chocolate ganache, place the chocolate pieces in a food processor, process until fine and set aside. Combine the cream and golden syrup in a small pan and place over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear (just before it comes to a boil), remove from the heat. Get the food processor running again, with the chocolate still inside, and pour in the hot cream in a steady stream. Process for 10 seconds, then add the butter. Continue to process until mixture is shiny and smooth. (You can also make the ganache by hand; just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before adding the cream mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.)
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic actually touching the top of the ganache. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want. If you want a thin layer to spread over the cake, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating. For a thicker ganache with a spreading consistency, leave it for about 2 hours at room temperature.
- Finally, peel the parchment from the cake and discard. Transfer to a serving platter and spread the ganache over the top of the cake. (This cake will keep well for 4 to 5 days in an airtight container, if refrigerated bring the slices to room temperature before tucking in!)