Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sarah's Special Celebration Cake

I do love chocolate cake and I've made loads of variations of it over the years from a Creme Fraiche cake, to a Ricotta cake, to a squidgy marmalade infused one.  They've all been phenomenal and I was intrigued by a tweet from my friend (i.e. she tweeted me) Nigella Lawson with a picture of a cake she made for a school sale.  It looked so homemade and retro that I had to give it a go.  And then I discovered there was a birthday in work so it was the perfect excuse to make this cake.  Actually, we discovered on Monday morning that Sarah the birthday girl had also managed to get engaged at the weekend as well, so the cake did double duty!  For the record, her ring is a beautiful diamond and platinum vintage-style rock and it's utterly exquisite.

The secret of this cake is sour cream - both in the batter and the icing.  Yes I know it sounds a bit bizarre but it makes the cake really moist and stops the icing from becoming sickly sweet like buttercream.  The recipe wording was a little confusing and all over the place so I've taken the liberty of rearranging it in an easier to follow format.  It's an all-in-one cake mix and it's an absolute doddle to make, as is the icing (which looks very runny when it's first made but firms up beautifully in the fridge).  This poor cake never made it past 11am and kept the office silent as they all munched away...

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

200g Plain Flour
200g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
40g Cocoa Powder
175g Butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
150ml Sour Cream

Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line two 8 inch (20cm) loose bottomed cake tins with baking paper.

Place all of the ingredients into a food mixer & blend for about 2 minutes until light and well mixed.  Scrape down the sides and base of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Pour the batter into the two tins (they should each hold about 430g of batter if you're a bit obsessive!) and bake for 25-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  Mine were done after 25 minutes so start checking for doneness from this time onwards.

Remove from the oven & allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Icing

75g Butter
175g Dark Chocolate
300g Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Golden Syrup
125ml Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Melt the butter and chocolate, either over a bain marie or in the microwave (gently... you don't want to burn the chocolate) and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Add the golden syrup, vanilla and sour cream to the melted chocolate and whisk well.

Sieve in the icing sugar and mix until it's all beautifully combined.

Spread 1/3 of the icing over the base of one of the cakes and use the rest to ice the top and side of the cake.  I put a dab of icing on the middle of the plate to glue the base cake layer down & stuck some strips of baking paper under the cake to keep the plate pristine (don't forget to remove them before serving!)

Decorate with whatever takes your fancy...  I used pink and yellow marshmallows because the birthday girl has a soft spot for them!


  1. That looks yummy. But sour cream in the icing? Does it still taste sweet?

  2. Brian - you'd never know there was sour cream in it - there's no acidic tang, it just balances out all the chocolate & sugar beautifully. According to one of the guys in work, it's the nicest icing he's ever had & he's making the cake tomorrow!

  3. Gorgeous looking cake. No wonder it didn't last long :)