This is the chocolate cake recipe which kick-started my life long love affair with baking. I used to make it as a child and through my early teenage years. I knew the recipe off by heart.
I stumbled across it in one of my mom’s old handwritten recipe books and it’s recorded as ‘Wonder Cake’. I couldn’t wait to dive into my kitchen and make it again.
There is something really special about revisiting a recipe that you knew so well. In a way it was a little like discovering a much loved childhood toy. I looked at it and remember all the components, but now approaching it with a good deal more life and experience under my belt. I was super eager to taste it.
I needed to make a few minor modifications. Margarine was replaced with butter (obviously) and vanilla essence with extract (of course). I also tested the metric measurements to give an alternative, but I kept the method exactly the same.
There was no icing recipe with the cake, so I created one, which is kind of like my perfect buttercream. It makes a little more than is needed for the cake, which is moderate in size, so I was very generous with the layering. My brother in law raved about it so much and said anyway ‘cake is just an excuse to eat the icing.’
Cooks notes ~ I love to add espresso powder – diluted before – to my chocolate buttercream as it amplifies the flavour of the chocolate. You can use a teaspoon of strong instant coffee if you don’t have it. I use a really good quality Valrhona chocolate with 70% chocolate solids that melts very quickly.Print
my childhood chocolate wonder cake
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 3T cocoa powder
- 4T sugar
- 5T milk
- 250g (1 cup) sugar
- 125g butter, room temperature
- 3 large free-range eggs, separated
- 140g (1 cup) flour
- 3t baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 1t vanilla extract
- 150g butter
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 200g dark chocolate (70%), melted (extra for decorating, optional)
- 2T milk
- 1/2t espresso powder
- 1t vanilla extract
- To make the cake:
- Pre heat the oven to 180C / 350F
- Put the first 3 ingredients into a small pot and bring it to the boil and allow to cool
- Using an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the egg yolks one at a time ensuring they are well mixed before the next addition.
- Add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and add this to the cake mix alternating with the milk. Add the vanilla extract and beat briefly.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and lastly fold these into the cake mix by hand.
- Divide the mixture between to 20 – 23cm greased / lined cake tins and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until springy to the touch.
- Allow to cool and then remove from the.
- To make the icing:
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then allow to cool.
- Dissolve the coffee in the milk and Beat this with the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate and continue to beat until the icing is soft and fluffy.
- Ice the cake by generously spreading a layer of frosting in the middle, top and sides.
The cake turned out very well. The sponge is perfectly light and moist and it really is a lovely recipe. It’s not the darkest or most decadent, but the frosting makes up for that giving it a sophisticated edge.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.