Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday Mr. Food Musings,
Happy birthday to you!
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Yield: 8 pieces
Thank you, Nigella, for this oh-so easy recipe. If you have a food processor, you couldn't ask for an easier thing to bake -- but remember, it'll still impress your friends. Mr. FM and I enjoyed a thick slice for his birthday and then, with our upcoming trip to Hawaii in mind, gave the rest away. (sigh) It was delish.
For the cake:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 c. best-quality unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened outside the fridge for 20 minutes or so
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. sour cream
For the frosting a.k.a. The Best Part of Any Cake:
3/4 stick unsalted butter
6 oz. good quality semisweet chocolate, either morsels or bars broken into small pieces (Yes, Nestle's counts.)
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Take all the cold ingredients out of the fridge for a half hour so they come up to room temperature. Butter, line with parchment paper, then butter again two 8-inch cake tins.
2. Dump all the cake ingredients into the food processor and whir away till you have a thick, smooth batter. (If you haven't got a food processor, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Go buy one immediately! If the stores are closed and you're having a mad cake craving, however, you can mix flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl, then beat in the butter until all is combined and creamy. Whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs, and beat that into the dry mixture.)
3. Using a rubber spatula (and, most probably, clean fingers) divide batter between two pans and smooth it out. Bake 25-35 minutes, till a toothpick comes out clean (mine took only 25 but Nigella says hers usually take 35. All depends on your oven, time of year, altitude, price of tea in China etc.) Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
To make the frosting:
1. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set atop a pan of simmering water. Stir constantly and remove from heat once melted.
2. Sift the powdered sugar, or (great new tip!) whizz it around in the food processor to remove the lumps.
3. Once chocolate/butter mixture has cooled, add corn syrup, then sour cream and vanilla. Add powdered sugar, OR add to food processor bowl full of powdered sugar and whizz a time or two. To achieve the right consistency (Nigella says, "Liquid enough to coat easily, but thick enough not to drip off" the cake.) you may need to add a teaspoon or so boiling water. You be the judge.
To assemble the cake:
1. Set one cake on cake plate or serving platter. Dump 1/3 of the frosting on it and swirl it all around on top, ignoring the sides (we'll get to those later).
2. Top with second cake and repeat with 1/3 of the frosting on the top. At this point, you must make a choice: are you in the smooth, glossy frosting camp or the messy, swirly one? I'm in the latter. Do it up, and then frost the sides with the remaining icing.
3. Cut into 8 slices, top with as many candles as you can fit, light and sing the "Happy Birthday" song (words printed above). Then eat as many pieces as you like with a cold glass of milk. It's your birthday, after all!