Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Simple Chocolate Cake (Bill Granger)

We have very strict house rules and one of them is... We don't have to have a birthday to eat a chocolate cake! - CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

Welcome to our house! A house that lives three chocoholics including me, the baking woman who love baking chocolate cakes and bakes for everybody.

As always, there is no reason needed to bake this very simple chocolate cake. All I need is my family to enjoy eating this cake. That's all!

This Bill Granger's chocolate cake recipe is so simple that I reckon that everyone can bake this cake. With sour cream in its chocolate icing, this cake recipe seems some-how similar to the Old-fashion Chocolate Cake (Nigella Lawson's recipe) that I have baked previously but I reckon that this recipe is much more straightforward and simpler. 

The simplest part of this recipe that I reckon is the chocolate icing which contains just two ingredients, chocolate and sour cream! To make this icing, all I need to do is to mix the melted chocolate and sour cream together... That's all! NO creaming step is required! Plus, with NO added sugar or golden syrup, this icing is NOT sweet at all. We kind of like it this way as it highlights the intense chocolate flavours of our good quality chocolate.

The next easiest part is to make the cake batter as all I need is to make sure that the butter is very softened and mix everything very slowly in an electric mixer. Having said that, I wouldn't say that this chocolate cake base recipe is fail-proof as I have yielded two different cakes with the same cake batter. Bizarre!??? Despite that both cakes were baked until a skewer inserted came out clean, only the slightly taller cake was fudgy in its center. I extended the baking of this cake for another 15 minutes and strangely, the cake remained having this fudgy texture.

I asked myself...
Have I mix the cake batter well enough?
Or does the little extra height of the taller cake create this fudgy center???

Nevertheless, both cakes are very moist despite their texture difference. The best part is the cake is actually very delicious with the wet fudgy center... Bizarre!??? I can never figure out why?

Whether bizzarre or not, simple or not, we love enjoying this moist and delicious cake...

simple easy chocolate cake Bill Granger
A Very Simple Chocolate Cake
We are using cocoa powder by Valrhona, the Rolls Royce brand of all chocolate?!
A very simple recipe - just mix and bake!
Why? I can't explain...
Making the simple chocolate icing with just these two ingredients
Assembling the cake
See how moist this cake is!

Here's the recipe by Bill Granger 
(with my modification and notes in blue)

Serves 10-12

280g plain all flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
55g cocoa powder
(I used Valrhona Dutch processed ones)
220g caster sugar
250g very soft unsalted butter
4 eggs
170ml milk
No vanilla!? - I realised that and ok... I shall follow what the recipe says... no vanilla then!

I reckon both Valrhona and Callebaut cocoa powder are equally good but if budget permits, we prefer Valrhona ones with darker red colour and deeper intense flavours and I'm still using both at the same time.

300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
(I used the Callebaut ones with 54% cocoa)
370g sour cream

(reduced to 300g)

To decorate
bright sweets or candy
This is NOT a birthday cake and so NO candles and decorations are required! - LOL!

Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Grease two 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tins and line with baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and sugar into a large bowl and stir together. Add the butter, eggs and milk. Mix with electric beaters on low speed for 1-2 mins or until smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tins and bake for 25 mins, or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave in the tins for 5 mins before turning out onto wire racks to cool.

To make icing, put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Heat the chocolate very slowly until just melted, being careful not to let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 15 mins. - Instead of using this method, I melt my chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl using a microwave with short bursts of low power and make sure that the chocolate is just melted.

Whisk the sour cream into the melted chocolate. - If the icing is too solid to mix, I microwave it with lowest power for multiple 5-10 secs until the icing is easy to mix.

Spread one-third of the icing over one cake. Sandwich the other cake on top. Spread the rest of the icing all over the cake. Decorate with sweets and candles (No sweets and candles!!!).

Happy Baking
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  1. Proof that simple can be stunning and delicious. Love this chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Wow, you do love your chocolate!
    Yes, I do agree, no need for a special reason to bake this! Just bake and enjoy! Looks good!

  3. Hi Zoe , I like your house rule , we can eat chocolate cake anytime . The cake is just awesome , thanks for sharing :)

  4. Oh Zoe, I really, really need to bake a chocolate cake. Fudgie chocolate cakes are my very best favorite and it isn't even my birthday!!! Three chocoholics in the same house could be very dangerous calorie wise but I don't care just pour on that fudgie goodness and I'll be right there!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Zoe...

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Zoe, I'm going to make this.

  6. oh wow..... i'm drooling just by looking at the thick icing (*^_^*) clap clap clap clap!!! everyday is a chocolate day!!

  7. Zoe,

    this cake is definitely the best of the best chocolate cakes at its simplest!!! I love how gooey the chocolate cake looks. Awesome!!

  8. Hi! Zoe. I love chocolate too! And well this cake looks amazing. I can't wait to try it. I am a new follower on GFC and Pinterest. I am so glad you stopped to visit me at Soup Spice Everything Nice. I cook but bake on occasion. I am excited to learn from you. Have a great day!

  9. Wowx3 Like Amy I am so gonna make this!

  10. I am always happy to find a chocolate cake recipe which is moist as so many end up dry. This one looks gorgeous.

  11. Oh this chocolate cake looks magnificent Zoe! My husband's favorite is chocolate cake and I love that this cake is so moist and fudgy! The frosting sounds amazing too, love how easy it is, thanks for sharing:)

  12. i am chocolate lover too. love you rich chocolate cake, hmm,,,,yum yum yummmm.....

  13. WOOT! I love fudgy chocolate cake! :D

  14. Zoe , I've both tried Valrhona and Callebaut cocoa powder and the former is my ultimate favorite :D Callebaut pales in comparison . Re chocolate cake , I nearly lick the screen lol

  15. Looks fudging indeed! I guess I still have plenty of time to catch up huh hehe! been lazy leh…got to cook up something soon!

  16. the chocolate icing with sour cream sounds interesting to me..not so fattening too!

  17. I love chocolate cake and definitely love to try this for sure.

  18. Hi, Zoe. The icing looks great . Especially it is not fattening as no butter is added. Wish to try one day. Thanks!

  19. It's not a simple choco cake..... it's delicious and so chocolatey!

  20. This looks like chocolate cake my mom used to make.

  21. This does look delicious and yet with only two ingredients for the icing, an easy chocolate cake. x

  22. Hehe, chocolate cake is great for any occasion including Christmas! Thanks so much for linking your beautiful cake to my event ;)

  23. Hi Zoe,

    The last photo summed it all...gorgeously moist.
    My hubby would love this cake, he is a fussy cake eater, prefer his cakes to be moist with smaller crumbs.

  24. This cake looks delish! Now I feel like having chocolate cake as well.

  25. That cake looks divine and what a thoroughly sensible rule that you don't have to have a birthday to have chocolate cake - we are very much like that in our house!

  26. Zoe, this cake looks so decadent and incredibly delicious! I want a slice right now!! :)

  27. Both cakes look delicious and very provocative...I have to try themm!

  28. Whoa..this looks heavenly, Zoe! ♥

  29. Zoe, you are a brave lady in baking. When I fail, I wouldn't dare try..... I love chocolate cakes, too.

  30. Zoe, I love how you are so precise in your adaptation and notes in your recipes...your chocolate cake is absolutely divine, decadent and droolworthy yummylicious! Love the pure ingredients of the cocoa and the addition of the sour cream for the frosting, which I have used years ago...and stopped; now, I'm so inspired to make this amazing cake, because I'm a chocolate lover, but just like to keep it fairly simple which your cake is the perfect elegant...yet simple choice! Hugs,

  31. lovely cake...chocolate is my favourite!

  32. Zoe, I actually love chocolate cakes with fudgy centre. OK, confession - I love any chocolate cake!

  33. We always figure it's someone's birthday somewhere, so just make cake to help celebrate! ;-) Actually, having a great looking cake like this is reason enough for a celebration. This is delightfully gorgeous - really pretty. Thanks.

  34. The perfect chocolate cake - fudgy and simple! Looks fabulous!

  35. One can never have too much chocolate cake. And the good thing is that there are a zillion recipes to try! this one looks great!

  36. Guess what! Dec 5 (the day of this post) was MY birthday. Thanks for making a cake and eating it in honor of me. ;) It looks great!

  37. Looks really moist! Can't believe with a simple method can produce such great result. Do you think the texture still stay moist if bake in one 8"square pan?

    1. Hi Viv,

      Judging from the look of both cakes, I thought I might have under-baked the taller cake but I have tested it and found that the skewer inserted came out clean. Strangely, both cakes are equally moist and good and I'm guessing that this recipe is the sort that will gives you moist cake in regardless. I won't think that baking this cake in a square pan will affect its texture but it might produce a flatter cake and you might wish to reduce its baking time a little.