Anneka Manning, a food author, mum of two and passionate baker behind BakeClub, joins us each month to share some of her industry tips, tricks and 25 years worth of experience. Today, she gives shares her Dead-Easy Chocolate Cake, a foolproof recipe that is so simple to throw together yet guaranteed to impress.
We all want to impress. Right? We want to bake something fabulous, something that everybody will love…..
However, more often that not, we unfortunately associate ‘fabulous’ with ‘fancy’ – it’s just human nature to do so.
I am a strong believer that ‘fabulous’ doesn’t actually have to mean complicated, extravagant or intricate, especially when it comes to baking. Recipes with lots of ingredients and/or elaborate techniques aren’t always the memorable ones – well, not in a good way at least. Trust me, they are often the ones that will give you a headache in the kitchen and be far more trouble than they’re worth. A cinnamon teacake made with only six basic ingredients and finished with a simple sprinkling of sweet spice is far from complex, but is unfailingly wonderful — especially when it’s served warm from the oven!
My advise is not to over-complicate things and remember that simplicity, especially when you are baking, can be the key to an impressive offering.
I make this one-bowl chocolate cake a lot and it is one of my favourites, not only because it really is ‘dead-easy’ – my nine-year-old niece, Lucy, made this one all by herself for us to enjoy for afternoon tea (and for me to photograph) – but it is also truly delicious…and after all, it is the taste that we will remember!
Dead-Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes (+ 1 hour cooling time and 30 minutes standing time)
Baking time: 50-55 minutes
- Melted butter, to grease
- 185g (11/4 cups) self-raising flour
- 55g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
- 250g (11/4 cups) firmly packed brown sugar
- 125g butter, softened
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 160ml (2/3 cup) water
Chocolate Icing Ingredients:
- 250g (2 cups) pure icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2-21/2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin with the melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
2. Put all the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use electric beaters to beat on low until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3-4 minutes or until paler in colour and silky smooth in texture. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes of until a skewer inserted into the center for the cake comes out clean. Stand the cake in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool (this will take about 1 hour).
4. Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the cocoa and icing sugar into a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir in 2 tablespoons of the water, adding the remaining ½ tablespoon if necessary to mix to a very thick pouring consistency. Pour over the cooled cake, spreading it over the top of the cake and letting it run down the sides. Set aside for 30 minutes for the icing to set before cutting.
Check out the rest of our Make + Bake with Anneka series here.
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