Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Servings: 10
"I have a bad Amazon habit. You know the "when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping" line? Well, the not-so-tough get their retail therapy online. Or I do, when I can't sleep I start ordering books. And I comfort myself twice over by telling myself how useful they are, how they really help my work. I offer this recipe, adapted from a book that in itself soothes, Tish Boyle's Diner Desserts, bought at 3am one unravellingly wakeful night, as proof.

This is the sort of cake you'd want to eat the whole of when you'd been chuked (dumped). But even the sight of it, proud and tall and thickly iced on its stand, comforts"...........Nigella Lawson

Serves 10 or 1 with a broken heart

(See American Ingredient Conversions Below)

For The Cake:
400g plain flour
250g golden caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
50g best quality cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
142ml/small tub sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
125ml corn oil
300ml chilled water

For The Fudge Icing:
175g dark (bittersweet) chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
250g unsalted butter, softened
275g icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

American Ingredient Conversions:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated or superfine sugar
1/3 cup light muscavado or light brown sugar
1/4 cup best quality cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup corn oil
1 1/3 cups chilled water

For the Fudge Icing:
3/4 cup (6 ounces) dark bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).

Butter and line the bottom of two round 8-inch (20cm) cake pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended.

Using a free-standing or hand held electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk; the free-standing mixer comes with its own bowl), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed.

Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared pans. And actually, you could easily do this manually; I just like my toys and find the Kitchen Aid a comforting presence in itself.

Bake the cakes for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To Make the Icing:
Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on medium should do it, or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.

In another bowl, beat the butter until it's soft and creamy (again, I use the Kitchen Aid here) and then add the sifted congectioners' sugar and beat again until everything's light and fluffy. I know sifting is a pain, the one job in the kitchen I really hate, but you have to do it or the icing will be unsoothingly lumpy. Then gently add the vanilla and chocolate, and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.

Sandwich the middle of the cake with about a quarter of the icing, and then ice the top and sides, too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.

(Serves 10 or 1 with a broken heart.)

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners -- Easy, Delectable Recipes for Any Occasion By Nigella Lawson, Francesca Yorke, Photographer. Publisher: Hyperion; ISBN: 0786868694; 1st edition (October 16, 2002)

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2003

Date: December 2, 2002