A few weeks ago my friend Tania Roux posted a picture of a chocolate cake on her ravishing (I haven’t heard this word in ages, but it’s so apt here) Instagram account, Tania’s Food Memories
The recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi, a highly regarded chef and writer, and of the recipe, Tania wrote: “If I could fall in love with a cake recipe, I would”. Now, if my foodie friend raves about a recipe, I gotta believe it’s superb, so I tried it out, because how could I ignore a cake that has been hailed by others as the best chocolate cake in the world, as well as the world’s easiest.
I made it without the chocolate ganache and the espresso cinnamon mascarpone cream, which the recipe says are optional anyway. Even “naked”, the cake was incredible, and very quick and easy to make too – I don’t think it took longer than 10 minutes to prep the ingredients and make the whole cake.
Is it the world’s best chocolate cake? Well, it’s a standout for sure. And the fact that it’s so quick to prepare makes it a keeper. If you’re not ready to make it now, bookmark the recipe. I doubt you’ll ever regret trying it out and I can’t imagine you and your family/friends won’t love it.
World’s Best Chocolate Cake
For the cake
- 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2cm cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 200g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped into 2cm pieces (Note: I only used 150g of chocolate, and the flavour was still very chocolatey and delicious)
- 1½ tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 350ml boiling water
- 250g sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 240g self-raising flour
- 30g Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1½ tsp, for dusting
- ¼ tsp salt
For the chocolate ganache (optional)
- 200g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), broken or chopped roughly into 2cm pieces
- 200ml heavy cream
- 3 tsp golden syrup
- 3 tsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the espresso cinnamon mascarpone cream (optional)
- 375ml heavy cream
- 190g mascarpone
- scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
- 2½ tsp finely ground espresso
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1¾ tbsp icing sugar
You can pour the warm ganache straight over the cake, or let it thicken to a spreadable consistency.
1. Heat oven to 170C. Grease a 23-centimetre round springform tin with butter and line with baking paper, then set aside.
2. Place the butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Whisk in sugar by hand until dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter here is liquid.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 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. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool.
4. To make the ganache, place chocolate pieces in a food processor, process until fine and set aside. Combine 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 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.)
5. 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. (The ganache can be stored at room temperature, providing it’s not too warm, for 3 days or kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen, although it will lose a bit of its shine when defrosted.)
6. To make the espresso cinnamon mascarpone cream, place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until soft peaks form.
7. Peel the parchment from the cake and discard. Transfer to a serving platter and spread the ganache, if using, on top of the cake. Slice into wedges, divide the cake among plates and, if using, spoon the mascarpone cream alongside. With or without icing, the cake will keep well for 4 to 5 days in an airtight container.
© The New York Times