For your eating pleasure, I spent weeks testing different variations of chocolate cake. I knew what I wanted: something wonderfully moist, a touch bitter, light, quick-to-make and beautiful. The perfect lazy person’s cake. It had to be a gleaming beauty that looked like you’d spent forever on it, when in reality it involved very little effort. We make this cake for people we care about, but don’t have much time for. Fringe friends, you might say. You’ll have your friends thinking you really care… This cake keeps best in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. If storing in the fridge, allow to come to room temp before eating – it’ll be much nicer! I recommend warming up a slice in the microwave for 20 seconds and pouring cold cream all over it.
Recipe extract from 'Sugar, I Love You: Knockout recipes to celebrate the sweeter things in life' by Ravneet Gill, published by Pavilion Books. Photo credit: Ellis Parrinder
Makes 1 chocolate cake with 2 sponges, enough for 10-12 people
Ingredients: FOR THE WET CAKE MIX
175ml olive oil, not overly strong, plus extra for the tins 2 eggs 175ml buttermilk 170ml boiling water 5g/1 tsp instant coffee
FOR THE DRY CAKE MIX
125g caster sugar 125g light brown sugar 80g cocoa powder 230g plain flour 5g/1 tsp sea salt flakes 10g/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 5g/1 tsp baking powder
FOR THE MALT CHOCOLATE GANACHE
150g 70 per cent cocoa solids chocolate, chopped 50g 55 per cent cocoa solids chocolate, chopped pinch of sea salt flakes 300g double cream 1 tbsp malt extract (alternatively use black treacle, maple syrup or honey)
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm (8in) cake tins with oil, then line with baking paper. Weigh all the dry cake mix ingredients into a large bowl and stir together with a whisk to fully combine. (If the sugar is lumpy, you will have to sift it.) Weigh all the wet cake mix ingredients, except the water and coffee, into a large bowl and whisk together. Make the coffee in a cup with the measured boiling water and instant coffee, pour it into the wet ingredients bowl and stir well. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir well with a whisk to combine. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins (if you want to be precise, you can weigh the total batter, then divide it exactly in half). Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before flipping onto a wire rack (allow to cool fully before adding the ganache you’re about to make). To make the ganache, put both the chocolates and the salt in a large heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream with the malt extract until steaming but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute. Use a whisk to stir the ganache from the middle outwards – so as not to whisk in any air – until silky and beautiful. Let the ganache sit for 10 minutes. Take a large plate with a lip. Place a cooled cake on the plate and spoon over enough ganache to cover the top. Don’t worry if it spills over the edges, we kind of want this. Place the next cake on top. Pour the remaining ganache all over the top, without a care in the world. Use a spoon to guide it over, making sure plenty of ganache is falling down the sides. Put the cake in the fridge for 20–30 minutes. Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a small offset palette knife, scoop up the set ganache from the edges of the plate and spread over the sides to create a smooth finish. It really is that easy and effortless.