Today could quite possibly be the best day of the year. Why? It’s National Chocolate Cake Day.
No guilt for you today as it has been declared that we shall all be eating cake. That’s right, the entire country will be tucking into various forms of sticky, gooey, chocolatey goodness. It is unknown where National Chocolate Day originated and, rather than wasting time searching for the answer, we instead scooped up some chocolate cake recipes for you to try out.
The Old Speckled Hen Cake
Strictly an adults-only cake, this boozy chocolate cake boasts a generous slosh of Old Speckled Hen to give it a rich flavour and a bit of kick. Gather your friends for a hearty afternoon tea and smother your slice with freshly whipped double cream.
175g self-raising flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
275g dark brown soft sugar
110g spreadable butter
2 large eggs, beaten
50g cocoa powder, sifted
200ml Old Speckled Hen
Ingredients for the icing
200g butter, soften
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp Old Speckled Hen
50g dark chocolate, melted
Cocoa powder or grated chocolate to dust
1. Preheat the oven 180°C, fan oven 160°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of 2 x 22cm round cake-tins, with non-stick baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer.
3. Add all the other ingredients, except the Old Speckled Hen. Either using an electric hand whisk or the freestanding mixer combine all the ingredients for about one minute until you have a smooth creamy consistency. Add the Old Speckled Hen a little at a time until thoroughly combined.
4. Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for about 30–35 minutes. The cakes are cooked when pressed lightly with your little finger and the centre springs back.
5. Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling further on a cooling rack.
6. To make the icing: melt the chocolate in the microwave for two to three minutes on medium heat, or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.
7. Beat the softened butter, gradually adding the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been added, whisk the icing for about five minutes on a high speed with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the Old Speckled Hen and mix thoroughly. Add the melted chocolate and beat until everything is glossy and smooth.
8. Spread or pipe half the icing onto the bottom layer, top with the other cake, spreading the remaining icing on top.
The Vegan Chocolate and Beetroot Cake
This one is for all of you following gluten-free, vegan or dairy-free diets. Nutritionist and chef, Christine Bailey has cooked up a deliciously moist cake that you can all enjoy, using one of our favourite ingredients: beetroot. Bailey uses coconut oil in this recipe, which has a lower glycemic index, but you could substitute it for maple syrup. The beetroot keeps the cake lovely and moist as well as lending a subtle nutty flavour. She suggests topping with dairy-free ice chocolate icing, or a simple dusting of icing sugar and a smattering of fresh fruits.
180g self-raising gluten-free flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
80g raw grated beetroot
60g melted coconut oil or olive oil
100g sweet freedom, choc shot, coconut syrup or maple syrup
2tbsp chia seeds
150ml water or coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line a 8in (20 cm) cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Place the chia seeds in the coconut milk and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
3. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the surface.
5. Bake in the oven for 35 -40 minutes until risen, cooked through and golden brown on top.
6. Cool in the cake tin for 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Allow to cool on a rack.
7. Store in the fridge.
The Lily Vanilli Cake
If you have never had the pleasure of witnessing a Lily Vanilli cake, please let us introduce you. Hailed as one of the most sought-after bakers of our time by Stylist magazine and baker of the best Bakewell tarts according to British Vogue, Lily is surely the queen of cakes. She counts Elton John and Alexander McQueen among her clients, so just imagine how good this cake is going to taste. Lily Vanilli’s recipe for this super-duper chocolate cake just begs to be tried at home.
175g unsalted Lurpak® Cook’s Range Baking
410g caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
315g plain flour, sifted
70g cocoa powder, sifted
80g ground almonds
1 tsp salt
3/4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
285ml soured cream
185ml strong brewed coffee, cooled
Shavings of dark chocolate
Dusting of icing sugar
1 x 9in loaf tin, greased and lined
Tip: If you can’t get any soured cream you can substitute it for full-fat natural yoghurt.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan assisted/gas mark 6.
2. Cream together the Lurpak® aand sugar until very light and fluffy – approximately 4 minutes. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat on a slow speed, gradually increasing until just evenly incorporated.
3. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half to the batter, followed by the soured cream and the remaining dry ingredients (keeping beating to a minimum). Once you have a smooth, even batter gradually add the coffee. The mixture will be very wet, so beat slowly to incorporate.
4. Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and level out to the edges. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Scatter raspberries on top, with chocolate shavings and a dusting of icing sugar.
The Show Stopper Cake
Arnaud Stevens is the talented chef patron at renowned restaurant SixtyOne Restaurant in London. This intricate-looking chocolate fondant is a recipe for all you budding chefs out there: grab your apron and prepare to wow this National Chocolate Cake Day.
40g Bicarbonate of soda
Praline Ganache Ingredients
300g Jivara Chocolate
300g Whipping cream
Dark Chocolate Fondant Ingredients
200g Manjari Chocolate 64%
200g Caster Sugar
6g Baking Powder
Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients
2 Vanilla Pods
330g UHT Cream
100g Atomised Glucose
100g Milk Powder
1. Begin by making the honey comb. Boil together the honey, glucose and sugar with a little water to 156 degrees, whisk in bicarbonate of soda and pour onto silicon mat.
2. Prepare the ganache by breaking up chocolate in a bowl. Then boil cream before pouring over the broken up and whisk in the praline to create an emulsion.
3. Make the dark chocolate fondant. Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain-marie. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Fold a little of this mix into the chocolate and then gradually add all of it. Next incorporate the sieved flour and baking powder.
4. For the ice cream: boil the milk, cream and cut the vanilla pods in half. Add the dry ingredients and cook slowly to 85ºC (helping the stabiliser to expand). Pass through a sieve and use the hand blender to blend until smooth. Put the vanilla pods back into the mix and freeze.
5. Grease 15 metal rings and place on a parchment lined tray. Pipe fondant mix one third of the way up and place a 15g ball of praline ganache into it then pipe another third. Bake at 180oC for five minutes. Serve with the ice cream and honeycomb.
Chocolate and Coffee Brownies
Chocolate brownies are one of the nation’s all-time favourite chocolate indulgences. Gooey, meltingly squishy squares of heaven. When we stumbled upon these these utterly decadent, coffee laced brownies created by food blogger Elly McCausland and just had to share them with you on this special day, even though they are not strictly ‘cake’.
180g dark cooking chocolate
2 tbsp strong coffee (espresso or cafetiere)
40g cocoa powder
240g granulated sugar or golden caster sugar
50g white chocolate chips
2 tbsp coffee beans, to decorate (optional)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. When melted, stir in the coffee.
2. Weigh out the flour and cocoa into a bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the sugar and eggs together for around 3-5 minutes until doubled in volume and pale and creamy.
4. Fold in the chocolate, butter and coffee mixture, then sift in the flour and cocoa and fold in too until the mixture is just combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
5. Pour into the prepared tin and scatter with coffee beans, if using.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture is just set. Cool in the tin before slicing into 16 squares.