Sometimes simple is best. That's exactly what I had in mind when I bookmarked this recipe published in an issue of the Sydney Morning Herald in October last year. And if you're going to try a basic chocolate cake recipe, you can't go wrong with a Margaret Fulton recipe.
For my readers outside of Australia, allow me to tell you a little about this special little lady...
Photo from taste.com.au
Margaret Fulton is a highly respected individual in the Australian food community. She is widely considered the matriarch of Australian cookery. Why? Not only has she published more than 25 cookbooks that find homes on the bookshelves of thousands of Australians, but Margaret has also played a pivotal role in changing the way Australians eat. Out with the bland meat and three veg, and in with international flavours, creativity and flair! At 87 years of age, she's still going strong and inspiring a whole new generation of food lovers... including me :)
So when someone like Margaret Fulton writes that a chocolate cake recipe is a must in your repertoire, you sit up straight and pay attention! It was her words that convinced me this was a "must try" - in Margaret's words:
If I had to choose only one chocolate cake recipe to carry me through life, this would have to be it. It is just as a chocolate cake should be — not the fudgy, flourless kind that everyone loves for dessert but the perfect cake to slice into wedges for afternoon teas and picnics.
This recipe makes two cakes - one for now, and one you can freeze for later; or one for you and one for a friend/neighbour/colleague :)
Sour cream chocolate cake
Recipe by Margaret Fulton (slightly reworded by me to make it a little easier for you to follow)
4 tbsp flaked almonds
1 cup boiling water
125g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g unsalted butter
1 ½ cups castor sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup light sour cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Generously butter a three-litre fluted bundt tin or two 20-centimetre round tins. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds (this step is optional), pressing them well into the butter to coat the base and sides of the tin.
Note: I actually got this wrong and sprinkled the almonds on top of the cake before baking, but I don't think it really matters...
2. Put the boiling water, chocolate and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Leave to cool. This bowl will end up as your final mixing bowl, so make sure it is large enough for two cakes worth of batter.
3. Cream the vanilla extract, butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.
4. Using a strong whisk, add the cream/sugar mixture to the the chocolate mixture a little at a time.
5. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and fold in alternately with the sour cream, mixing lightly until just combined.
6. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon.
7. Turn gently into the prepared tin(s) and bake for 1 hour-1 ¼ hours for a large cake, 45 minutes for smaller cakes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave for a minute, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
So the verdict on this recipe? Not a bad chocolate cake, but I think I prefer something a little sweeter and 'gooier' for a chocolate cake. Saying that though, this is perhaps an ideal recipe for those looking for something earthy and not-too-sweet in a cake. It's straightforward to make and easy to slice and transport too which is good...
Tell me, dear readers, who inspires you in the kitchen?