That Chocolate Cake

When I bake, I tend to be wary of recipes which claim “this is the best (insert dish) recipe you will ever find” as, frankly, said claims tend to fall flat in most cases. However, I think I might have to make an exception with this cake.

Let me start by saying the batter is a very (veeeery!) liquid one and it took me almost twice the stated baking time to ensure it was all cooked through. Also, a standard sandwich tin would not do as the batter would have seeped out and covered the inside of my oven – which, FYI, needs a thorough scrub anyway – with chocolate-scented muck. Fortunately, I happened to have tinfoil baking dishes, which worked perfectly. It also is an extremely rich cake, so be wary when you cut a big fat slice as you might not be able to finish it. I also found out that you should try and use chocolate with a very high cocoa content (above 70% if possible), mainly because any lower that 40% would make your icing too sweet, as it was in my case.

Last but not least, let me pay tribute to the source for this recipe, Emma’s wonderfully sweet blog, Poires au Chocolat.


Ingredients (for the icing)

  • 275ml double cream
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 130g 99% unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients (for the cake)

  • 450g granulated sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 85g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 275ml milk
  • 135ml vegetable oil with no flavour
  • 275ml boiling water


  1. Start with the icing. Combine the cream and sugar in a large saucepan. Put over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once it starts to properly bubble, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool for one minute then add the butter and chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth then transfer to another bowl and stir in the vanilla. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter, line and flour two 8″ cake tins (not ones with removable bases, the batter is too liquid).
  3. Place the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attached. Stir on the lowest setting until a uniform brown colour. Add the beaten eggs, milk and canola oil then turn the mixer up to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
  4. Boil the kettle while it beats then turn off and pour in the water. Mix it on low until smooth – it is very soupy. Divide between the two tins. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer can be removed from the centre cleanly (mine took 1 1/2 hour). Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes in the tins then turn out and remove the paper. 
  5. By the time the cakes are totally cool, the icing should be thick enough to ice – it should hold its own weight. Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate. Spoon some of the icing into the middle and spread it out. Add the top layer then spoon about half the rest of the icing onto the top. Drag down and over the sides and smooth over. Add the rest as you need it, working fairly quickly. 




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