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 hand written recipe books and its 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.
- 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 and baking powder and add this to the cake mix alternating with the milk. 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.
And while I am on the topic of finding old family recipes, I heard about a fabulous competition Laborie Wines is running for Mothers Day. Upload your favourite recipe from your mom or grandmother and executive Chef Matthew Gordon will be choosing 20 of his favourite entries.
Each winner will receive a bottle of Elizabeth Arden perfume, an Eight Hour® Cream Skin Protectant and a bottle from the Laborie range that Matthew Gordon has paired with the respective dish.
Click on over to their Facebook page to log your entry.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.