17 September 2011

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake - Nigella Lawson (adapted)

This is how it's going to be, what i'm going to tell you is totally in confidence. (The fact that this is on internet doesn't help my point but i would hope as time goes by, nobody will remember this.) My sister has an event to go to. She was going to bring some Konyaku Jelly and some Fried indonesian snacks. Then i asked, "do you want me to bake something for you?" Of course she said no. I became gloomy and soon enough, the words coming across the table was "PLEASE LET ME BAKE FOR YOU!". Alright, i know this is pathetic but my need to feed people just runs one level above all the shame and embarrassment I'm going to get for this.

 If you understand how i felt, please continue reading. If you don't, you can skip one sentence. This sentence.

After relentlessly annoying my sister, she finally said yes. Then my heart skipped a beat. "CRAP ON A CRACKER, what should i bake". No cookies, no muffins, no safety net baking goods (well amongst the things going across the table, i may have said "COOKIES, MUFFINS? ANYTHING, PLEASE, I'll give you a lollipop". Okay, before i move forward, i should say do not try this at home but I baked a chocolate cake I have never baked before. 

 This post would have turned out horrendous if the cake did not turn out well. However, the brave and annoying side of me decided to test the world, challenge life, go against gravity or whatever you call it. 

Bringing a cake to an event that needs to impress my sis & her friends.... I decided to wager:
1. The new food processor.
2. The tweaked untested chocolate cake recipe 
3. The uncertainty of both the above.

 Back to the cake. Once i was sure i wanted to bake a "whole" cake, i know it has to be a simple simple chocolate cake. Then i thought, what's better than those from Nigella Lawson's quick and yet "old-fashioned" recipe? If you've known me better, i'm easily attracted to the words: Authentic, old-fashioned, rustic, traditional and... you get my point. The tweaked recipe has 2x more liquid and less sugar. It was my decision, out of fear, after hearing those dry flaky reviews regarding the recipe.
Unfortunately, I was only able to chomp off the excess layers of the cake, and couldn't show the sliced version. It was so soft, fluffy and moist that my mom loved it's fluffy texture, another girl loved it for it's moistness and one other loved its heavy cocoa taste. Also, because i did not have any cake boxes, i had to use this plastic container that fits the cake just nicely and any chocolate coating on the sides would be impossible. 


  • 200g all-purpose flour 
  • 200g superfine sugar (I used 150g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (2 teaspoon because i used Natural instead of Dutch processed cocoa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 40g best-quality cocoa (I used 60g)
  • 175g soft unsalted butter (200g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
  • 150ml sour cream (+150ml milk)


  • 175g good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces (i used 200g)
  • 75g unsalted butter (50g)
  • 300g icing sugar (I opted 240g icing sugar, 60g cocoa)
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (used honey)
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract (just chugged them violently)
  • Sugar flowers, to decorate, option (used the cake crumbs to decorate)
1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius, prepare your food processor.
2. Place all your ingredients into the food processor and blitz like mad! (or like i did, mix the wet ingredients first)
3. Pour it out into 2x lined and buttered 8" pans and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Dance to Sway - Michael Buble.

5.To make this icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly either way: you don't want any burning or seizing.
While the chocolate and butter is cooling a little, sieve the confectioners' sugar into another bowl. Or, easier still, put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz to remove lumps.
Add the corn syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved confectioners' sugar. (don't worry, it's going to harden as more icing sugar is added)
6. Whip it anyway you like. and add flower pansies... PANSIES... 
Lick it


  1. Crap on a cracker! You are adorable and you can bake this amazing cake for me any day of the week. Please. xo

  2. Thank you...! I need some baking enthusiasts here... :)

  3. Congratulations on a gorgeous cake...and for your perseverance! Baking is all about sharing joy with others so should absolutely be pushed on friends, family, acquaintances...whoever you can convince to try your cooking! :-)

  4. This sounds wonderful and I love that you take a recipe and make it your own. I have done the same with Nigella's Clementine Cake and it is now the cake I make most often in citrus season!

    Your photos, writing and energy are really great!

    Cheers, and I look forward to getting your posts.

  5. Looks like a success to me! I like having excuses to cook, too, so I can understand why you'd be so disappointed when your sister originally said no. After seeing this cake, I can't imagine she'll say no again. :)

  6. Crap on a cracker is the best phrase ever! This cake looks wonderful, your pictures are so beautiful and I bet it tasted even better than it looks!

  7. Just imagine me all embarrassed, scratching my head saying "EHEHE"... :) thank you for visiting my humble humble blog...
    I'm glad someone gets "Crap on a cracker"... I get "what??" or "what's that?" a lot...

  8. woot woot! that cake looks amazing! I always do ridiculous things like commit to baking a cake I've never made before for a whole group of people. Welcome to the club!

  9. I think its the "challenger" in us..!

  10. This looks completely delicious!


  11. Yummmm! That cake looks amazing, and Nigella is one of my foodie heroines, so I tend to adore everything she does. I love that you weren't afrais to put your own twist on it too, for me, that's half the fun of baking!

    Thanks so much for your comments on my site too, especially the one about marrying, that made me laugh so much :-))

  12. That does look good. Sour cream in any cake just takes the cake to another yummy level.

  13. Thank you Mal, Paula & Natalie for visiting my blog back! :) Hope you girls like it here! :p

  14. I love Nigella, this cake looks delicious.

  15. @ Yadsia: And it was easy too! :)


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