A dense, super-chocolately fudge cake for those occasions when only something completely indulgent will do.
It was the birthday of a good friend last weekend, her 33rd. She has a one year old and hasn't been out of the house alone with her partner since November. I offered my (inept) babysitting skills to let them out for the night, and took this chocolate cake to make up for the poor quality childcare.
My child care experience amounts to one instance when I was fifteen - the boy was six. He took one look at me and knew he had the upper hand. We were up till 11pm as he laid waste to the house while I trailed behind him with a dustpan and brush. Thankfully little Elliot was an angel, and even when he was up, was still a total pleasure to be with. Except when he chewed my ear. I could have done without that.
Be warned: this cake smells amazing in the kitchen - the scent of chocolate and orange zest was so intoxicating that I almost cracked and ate a piece before taking it to my friend's. Tut tut.
CHOCOLATE & ORANGE FUDGE CAKE
~for the cake
100g soft butter
220g caster sugar
2 large eggs
the juice of an orange, made up to 250ml with whole milk
1 tbsp cider vinegar
the grated rind of an orange
100g melted dark chocolate
15g cocoa powder
300g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
~for the chocolate ganache frosting
350g dark chocolate
200ml sour cream
2 tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
the rind of an orange
1) Preheat the oven to 350f/180c/gas mark 4. Now to make the cake: whisk together the butter and sugar for one minute, then add the rest of the cake ingredients in the following order, whisking for a minute between each addition: eggs, orange juice and eggs, vinegar, orange rind. Finally stir in the melted chocolate, then sift over the flour, bicarb and cocoa and fold in.
2) Lightly oil two 20cm round silicone cake tins, and divide the mixture equally between them. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, checking after 30 minutes with a toothpick to see if they are still wet in the centre. If they are, give them the remainder of the cooking time. Leave to cool while you make the frosting.
3) Allow the chocolate and butter to melt together in a bain marie, then remove from the heat and briefly stir in the sour cream and orange liqueur, trying not to overwork the mixture. Now take one of the cakes and place on a dish or cake stand, and spread a third of the chocolate ganache over the cake. The ganache should come right up to the edges of the cake. Then pop the other cake on top, flat side up (it makes the cake neater), and dollop the rest of the ganache on top. I find it easiest to use a round ended knife, like a butter knife, to smooth the topping over the top and sides. Try to work fairly quickly, as the chocolate will start to set if you're working in a cold kitchen.
4) Grate the orange zest over the top of the cake while it's still warm, and wait until completely set before slicing.