Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake
- March 2015
- Serves 15-20
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 35 min,plus cooling and setting
Indulge in a slice of cake inspired by Roald Dahl’s book Matilda. The rich chocolate cake recipe is made with three layers of sponge and a creamy chocolate icing.
For something lighter, but equally literary, why not take a look at these fun pop cakes, inspired by Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree?
- 39.1g (20.6g saturated)
- 51.5g (48.3g sugars)
For 20 servings
For the sponge
- 330ml whole milk (gold top is best)
- 200g dark chocolate (around 60 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 65g self-raising flour
- 200g ground almonds
- 55g cocoa powder
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- 165g unsalted butter, softened
- 330g light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
For the icing
- 330ml double cream, plus extra if needed
- 500g dark chocolate (60 per cent cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 200g icing sugar
- 130g lightly salted butter, melted and cooled
- To make the icing, heat the cream and chocolate together in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl). Stir now and then until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, leave to cool to room temperature, then, using an electric hand mixer, beat in the icing sugar. Add the melted butter in a thin stream, beating all the time, until combined. If the icing looks greasy, add a glug more cream, beating the mixture to bring it back together. Once all the butter has been incorporated, cover the icing with a piece of cling film touching the surface, and put somewhere cool (but not the fridge) for 4-5 hours to firm up.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Lightly oil and fully line 3 x 23cm sandwich tins (see tip) with baking paper and set aside.
- For the sponge, heat 100ml of the milk with the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Cool slightly.
- Sift the flour, almonds, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl with a good pinch of salt. In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar using an electric hand mixer until pale and soft. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, a bit at a time, alternating with a spoonful of the flour mixture to stop the mixture curdling. Once all the eggs are incorporated, whisk in the chocolate milk, then fold in the rest of the flour mix with a metal spoon or balloon whisk. Finally, fold in the remaining whole milk.
- Divide the cake batter evenly among the 3 tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on wire racks.
- Once the icing has set, put one of the sponges on a cake stand or platter. Spread with a thick layer of icing, top with a second sponge, then repeat, finishing by spreading icing all over the top and sides (see tips). Leave somewhere cool for the icing to set, then slice and serve.
To make a taller cake, like the one on the cover, use 20cm diameter tins instead, but cook for the same time.
You’ll only need around two thirds of the icing, but the chocolate topping freezes well and can be used for cupcakes, or chilled and rolled in cocoa, nuts or desiccated coconut for rich truffles.
The sponges will freeze, un-iced and well wrapped in cling film, for up to a month. Defrost thoroughly before icing. The finished cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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