Grey days deserve roaring fireplaces, comfy sofas, snug slippers, a mug of steaming hot tea, and cake.
An absolutely splendiferous cake.
This is mine.
For a cake that contains a mahoosive amount of chocolate, sugar, cream, and cocoa, it balances the flavours perfectly. Moist chocolate sponge, with a fudgy frosting.
It's not overly sweet, but is very rich, so if you are calorie conscious, the merest sliver will satisfy the cravings of the chocolate deprived.
If, on the other hand, you're a complete greedy guts, *ahem*, you will still get a significant number of portions out of it (think at least 12).
Devil's Food Cake* (makes one 9 inch cake)
330g plain flour
90g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tspn salt
185g unsalted butter at room temperature
500g (yes, that's 500g!) soft light brown sugar
2 tspn vanilla extract
4 eggs, each around the 60g mark
375ml buttermilk at room temperature
375g plain chocolate (around 70%), finely chopped
430ml double cream
125g sour cream
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 Conventional 350 F / Gas 4.
Grease, baseline and flour three 9 inch (23cm) sandwich pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Set aside.
In a jug, lightly beat the eggs, and then stir in the vanilla. Set aside.
In another bowl (or stand mixer using the paddle and at medium speed) beat the softened butter until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy.
Gradually, add the egg and vanilla mixture, beating well after each addition.
Add a third of the flour mixture and mix on low, then add half of the buttermilk, then a third of the flour then the second half of the buttermilk, and finish with the final third of the flour. Mix gently after each addition.
Divide the batter evenly between the three pans, smooth the tops level,tap them gently on the counter (to dispel any air bubbles - as the mixture is a little runnier than most cake mixes) and then place in the oven.
Bake for around 20 - 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Place on a wire rack to cool, and then after about 10 - 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pans, and turn out the cakes. Gently peel off the baking parchment and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and melt gently over a saucepan of hot water (ensure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl).
Remove from the heat, and stir to ensure that it is fully blended. Allow to cool a little, then add the soured cream and salt, stirring until just blended. When it has cooled to room temperature, whisk briefly until lighter in colour and thick enough to spread.
Assemble the cake, by sandwiching the layers together with frosting, and then apply frosting over the outside of the cake.
And there is something rather sinful about sinking your teeth into swirled, thick ganache.
*Adapted from 'The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book'