Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chocolate cake... not from a box!

I've not made chocolate cake from scratch for years, although this seems like a basic recipe for folks who like to bake. The reason for this is that the recipes I've tried in the past have not been satisfactory. They tend to have the cocoa powder taste which I'm not fond of, never even close to some of the moist, true chocolate flavours that you get with store-bought ones.

So whenever the occasion calls for chocolate cake, I've always copped out and used the cake mixes by Betty Crocker. Still, they're not wonderful by any standard so I usually just end up making banana or yellow cake and compensating for my chocolate obsession by topping it with chocolate frosting.

This changed when I stumbled across a recipe for a chocolate layer cake. Honestly, it was the photo that did it. Wah, when I saw the cake, I wanted to eat it there and then. So when a few of us mothers decided to arrange for a meetup, it was the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe.

It turned out better than I expected. The true test is Andre - he has a habit of eating only the frosting on cakes that he doesn't like, so when he finished his portion, I knew this cake had potential. It's still not like the store-bought ones but it's a credible alternative, certainly better than other chocolate cake recipes I've tried.

I didn't want the cake to be too sweet since I was going to use chocolate frosting instead of cream cheese frosting in the original recipe, so I adjusted it slightly. The batter also turned out to be quite substantial since it's for a layer cake, but I found that it makes exactly two pans of 12 muffins each (I prefer making muffins instead of a whole cake, for convenience).

Here is my version of the recipe. If you want the recipe for the chocolate frosting, click here or for cream cheese frosting, click here.


250g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated suger
4 large eggs at room temperature
¾ cup (6oz) unsweetened melted chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted)
100ml sour cream
¾ cup buttermilk (or add 2 tsp white vinegar/lemon juice to ¾ cup milk and let it stand for 5 mins)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Sift flour, mix together with baking soda and salt in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Add eggs one at a time until combined, then add chocolate and mix until well incorporated.
5. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
6. Stir in sour cream (you'll get a thick, chocolate milk-like batter).
7. Pour into greased pan or muffin tray.
8. Bake for 25-30 mins (cake pan) or 20-22 mins (12-muffin tray) or until skewer comes out clean. Do not overbake.
9. Cool completely before icing.

The mums gathering was such great fun. Lilian, Elan and I met up at Slim's place and bonded over Nespresso, bak chang and chocolate muffins (the piping was done by Lesley-Anne since I was too lazy). It was also my first time meeting Elan, long-time reader of my blog, and it was so great to finally put a face to the name. The fun part about meeting readers is that we often feel like kindred spirits in no time!

Thanks for the fun time, ladies. Let's do it again soon!


Lilian said...

You're quite the baker now, hehe...was a fun day. I met Elan yesterday at the high-tea in school and we agreed gotta meet up soon, this time at her place. Sorrylah, we will have to travel again. Go massage first? :)

monlim said...

Haha, would love to lah, but you got time meh? Unless you decide to stay on longer :D

Elan said...

It was fun meeting up with you Mon, I've always wondered what you are like in real-life and yesss....the cake was yummy. Good idea about doing them like cupcakes and not a whole cake, much more convenient.

Yes, we can meet up again at my place. Hopefully for a longer time this time round.


monlim said...

Elan: Would definitely love to meet up again! Hopefully when the school schedules settle down, we can arrange something.

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