Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Okay, okay. I know that a) it has been very long since my last post and b) that I have been posting many chocolatey things recently, but this is not a recipe to overlook. Given that I have been wallowing at home, ill with a sore throat, blocked nose, temperature and a headache; I think I can be excused for making chocolate cake. The photo you see above was the masterpiece that my friend and I made for my other friend’s birthday. My recipe below makes this more modest version:

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If you want to make an absolute beast of a cake (like the first image), then double the recipe! We also added strawberries in the layers to make it even more special. My friend and I set out originally to make ‘a chocolate cake.’ We had no idea we would make the most scrumptious chocolate layer cake, that looked stunning (I did the piping… well thank you!) The rose is real – yes, it’s not made out of sugar; I’m not that skilled.

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Don’t let the sour cream element put you off. This is a (I hate to use the word, but it’s true) moist, light, chocolatey sponge with a subtle but rich icing.

I am also not one to usually stray from the standard sponge formula (butter, sugar, eggs and flour in equal quantities), but I wanted to see if it made a difference to use sour cream in the sponge recipe. It did! Although skeptical at first, this was a fabulous sponge that I am going to use again. Also, it’s great because the sponge and icing together use exactly one carton of sour cream; so no need to worry about opened sour cream hanging around in the fridge.

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This is lovely as a simple afternoon tea chocolate cake, but would do very well for dessert, perhaps with some vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce? For my greedy family, this cake has not lasted long despite my mater turning up her nose: ‘Sour cream? Hmph.’
And yet I think she may be converted – well maybe not from chocolate ganache. But as a chocolate lover, I can confirm that this cake is yum!

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I now promise that I will post some more fruity, less chocolatey recipes next, but you can never go wrong with chocolate can you?

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake (adapted from Nigella – How to be a Domestic Goddess)
SPONGE
200g/8oz plain flour
175g/6oz sugar
1 tsp baking powder
200g/8oz butter
40g/1.5oz cocoa powder
150ml/5floz sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

ICING
80g/3oz milk chocolate
80g/3oz dark chocolate
75g/3oz butter
125ml/4.5floz sour cream
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp orange extract (or vanilla if you’d rather)
300g/11oz icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp hot water
strawberries, optional

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan and grease two 8 inch cake tins. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter until they form a sort of dough.

2) In a jug, mix the sour cream, cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla extract. You should have a nice chocolatey gloop there! Add the gloop bit by bit to the flour mixture, continually mixing. Once all added, you should have a nice smooth cake batter. There, that wasn’t too bad!

3) Split the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Make sure that a skewer comes out clean, but it’s not overcooked.

4) Once the cakes are cool, melt the chocolate and butter in a medium sized bowl either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, stir in the sour cream, golden syrup and orange. Last of all add the icing sugar (and make sure it’s sifted!). Normally I don’t bother sifting #lazy but trust me, you need to. I tried not sifting and I then had to sieve the whole icing! If the icing is a bit thick, add the water, and more icing sugar if it’s too thin.

5) Now dollop about half on top of one cake, spread out (add some strawberries if you wish) and place the other cake on top. Then spread the remainder of the icing on the top. I decorated my cake with a few rose petals, but some piping work like the birthday cake looks great. Alternatively; tuck in and don’t bother with a fancy topping!

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I hope you enjoy this cake; I love the extra dimension of orange in the icing, but if you’d rather, just stick with vanilla. My next recipe will hopefully be a nice contrast to this (and a bit more summery?) but judging by the appalling weather, it could be January to be honest.

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