My Chocolate Cake for the UK

Recently, Green & Black's Chocolate has published its second recipe book and publisher Kyle Cathie, who was my dear editor for the UK edition of The Cake Bible, once again asked me for a contribution. I offered one of my favorite chocolate cakes, hoping that it would work well with the UK flour which is always unbleached.

On a recent visit to Kate Coldrick in Devon, England, I spied a copy of the book and quickly turned to my recipe. To my delight, there was a gorgeous photo of the cake and the crumb looked absolutely perfect, but when I scrutinized the recipe I saw that self-raising flour replaced the cake flour but there was still the 4 teaspoon of baking powder. I was certain that this excess of leavening, together with the unbleached flour, would cause the cake to fall, but then discovered the addition of melted 70% chocolate. Ah ha! Could that solve the structural problem resulting from unbleached flour and so much leavening.

Knowing that Kate is in the middle of a move I hesitated to ask her to take on another task but thankfully fellow blogger Catherine Mason, who had come down to visit us all the way from Gloucester, offered to try out the recipe with all UK ingredients and it worked!

Here is the recipe as I wrote it originally and the changes for the UK are at the end. You can use your favorite buttercream or ganache. The one in the Green & Black's Book is for my Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Buttercream also in Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

Serves about 16

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake 30  to 40 minutes

Makes:  A 1-3/4 inch high cake

The Batter

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

Green & Black's unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (sifted before measuring)

3 ounces

85 grams

boiling water

1 cup/235 ml

8.4 ounces

236 grams

4 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces)

7 ounces

200 grams

water

6 tablespoons/85 ml (3 fluid ounces)

3 ounces

88 grams

pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon

-

-

bleached cake flour

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (sifted into the cup and leveled off)

11 ounces

312 grams

superfine (caster) sugar

2 cups

14 ounces

400 grams

baking powder

4 teaspoons

-

-

salt

1 teaspoon

-

-

unsalted butter (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C)

16 tablespoons (2 sticks)

8 ounces

226 grams

canola, safflower, or sunflower oil, room temperature

1/4 cup

2 ounces

56 grams

For the UK bakers: It is best to use the weights as our cup sizes and fluid ounces are different from yours. Use self-raising flour instead of the cake flour. Also, melt 3.5 ounces/100 grams of 70% chocolate and allow it to cool until no longer warm to the touch. Have this ready to beat into the finished batter until evenly incorporated.

Equipment
Two 9 by 2-inch/23 by 5 cm cake pans, encircled with cake strips, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then coated with baking spray with flour.

Preheat the Oven
20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175˚C.

Mix the Cocoa and Water
In a medium bowl whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a separation and cool to room temperature (about an hour). To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

(For UK bakers: In addition to the cocoa and water, melt the chocolate and allow it to cool until no longer warm to the touch. Set it in a warm place so it remains fluid.)

Mix the Liquid Ingredients
In another bowl whisk the eggs, the 6 tablespoons of water, and vanilla just until lightly combined.

Mix the Batter
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter, oil, and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two batches, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides. [For the UK bakers, scrape in the melted chocolate and beat until evenly incorporated.]

Bake the Cake
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces with a small offset spatula. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the centers comes out clean and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cakes
Let the cakes cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert them onto wire racks that have been coated with cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cakes so that the top sides are up, and cool completely.