Sunday, 13 April 2008

Weekly Look at the Cook Book 1: Basic Chocolate Cake

I've decided to make a few "blog features" in order to get through some recipes i've been wanting to try for ages or to try some new ones I come across. This is the start of one of those "features" that I'm calling the Weekly Look at the Cook Book where I'll use one of the cook books I have and create one of the recipes in them every week.

This week I've made Donna Hay's Basic Chocolate Cake from her cook book Simple Essentials: Chocolate. I bought this book half price a few weeks ago and was looking through it when I was at our radio show and the members of my youth group who were there were keen for all sorts of treats from this book. I was planning to make the double chocolate cookies but heard that some of the group were celebrating birthdays this week and so it only seemed right to make a cake and the photo for this one was screaming out to me!

I had to split the batter between 2 smaller cake tins because that's all I had to work with but I sandwiched the cakes together with some Dulce de Leche, then topped the cake with a little DDL and then topped that with the chocolate glaze from the book too as well as some chocolate chips. It was a really tasty cake, but I'm not so sure about the glaze, it didn't come out as liquid as it looked in the book and I think was a little too chocolatey: next time I think I'd use a little less chocolate and a little more cream and use chocolate with a lower cocoa percentage, but it worked well as an icing as opposed to a glaze.

It got great reviews tonight from my youth group who almost ate it all - I had to save 2 slices for me and Rob and we loved it too, I'll definitely be making this again! I've decided to enter this cake in the Tried Tasted and True food event but not the glaze seeing as I didn't think it was as good as it could be.

Here's the recipes for the cake and the glaze from the book.

Basic Chocolate Cake

Serves 8-10 (I got 12 servings out of it)


375g butter, softened
1.5 cups light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup cocoa, double sifted
3/4 cup milk
1 quantity chocolate glaze recipe (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 160˚C
2. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer for 8-10 mins or until smooth and creamy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Stir in the milk.
5. Transfer the mixture to an 8" round cake tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 1hr 10 mins or until cooked through and a skewer can be withdrawn clean.
6. Cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack. Ice with the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze


150 g chopped dark couverture chocolate
1/2 cup single (aka pouring) cream

1. Place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until melted and smooth.
2. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
3. Pour over a well chilled cake and tap to remove air bubbles. Or refrigerate and serve as a rich chocolate sauce for desserts.


  1. Chocolate cake - great submission! It's always a hit. Personally, I wouldn't reject the glaze, even if it did come out more like icing. Sometimes the icing is the best part.

    Thanks for the participating in Tried, Tested and True!

  2. Hey psychgrad, thank you! Think my main problem with the icing/glaze was that it was too dark therefore rather bitter too, tasty but could be improved. Thanks for a great blog event!

  3. Wow oh Wow Ruth that looks so delish (drooling)


  4. My goodness Ruth this is one cake I'd like to sink my teeth into lol I adore chocolate cake and this one looks delicious :P

    Rosie x

  5. Hey Maria!!!! Don't be drooling on the cake! Then no one else can have share ;o) lol

    Hey Rosie, chocolate cake is one of my favourites, and this one was delicious!

  6. Yummy, this looks good. Are those Butterscotch chips on the cake? Your Pineapple Upside Down Cake looks g-o-o-d too!~

  7. Hey Priscilla! Good to "see" you! It's milk chocolate chips on the top of the cake.... contrasted well with the dark chocolate icing. Thanks for your sweet words as always!

  8. I love Donna Hay and her recipes are always fantastic (and simple). I wish that you could buy her magazines in the UK!

  9. Hey Kai!!!! Welcome to my blog! I'm with you... it would be awesome to buy her magazines in the UK!

  10. There is nothing better than a good chocolate cake!
    Ann at Redacted Recipes

  11. So true Ann! Thanks for visiting my blog! Just had a look round yours too.

  12. This cake sounds divine! I have a goal this year to work through all of my cookbooks - I love that you are going to feature one weekly. What a great idea!

  13. Hey Deborah! I love that you go through your cookbooks.... you were kind of an inspiration and gave me the kick up the butt I needed to try using the resources I already have to hand! Hope you enjoy what all is to come!

  14. Hey Ruth, I am finally going to be putting up your You Make My Day Award...I was wondering how to upload it to my blog?

  15. Hey Priscilla, email me at ruth.e.babes AT gmail DOT com and I'll send you the image


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