Ah, chocolate fudge cake, what’s not to love? When I made it this week I put it back into its tin and transported it by bike to my daughter Elizabeth’s birthday picnic. The first time I made it was for the birthday party of a dear friend, Tony, who is no longer with us. I wanted to cover it in gold leaf, but the shimmery squares melted away at the touch of my hand. With the help of my very deft friend, Johanna, I turned the remaining squares into a chequerboard. And very glamorous it still looked, once the candles were lit. So I dedicate this cake to Tony’s memory. And to Johanna. It is also for Maria, whose birthday it was this week. Hope to make this for you and your girls when we get together in the summer, Maria!
chocolate fudge cake
ingredients for the cake
500 gr soft light brown sugar
100 gr cocoa
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
125 ml yoghurt
125 ml milk
200 ml cream
220 gr soft butter
pinch of salt
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour the milk, yoghurt and cream into the well.
Add the butter and the eggs.
Beat with an electric whisk until light and creamy.
Pour into a baking tin measuring approx 33 x 23 cm, lined with parchment.
Bake at 160 degrees C for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. It may crack or rise unevenly, but should settle as it cools. (Your delicate sponge this is not…)
Leave to cool completely (or the icing will melt). You could bake it a day or two in advance.
ingredients for the icing
170 gr butter
175 gr dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
generous pinch of salt
sift the icing sugar. (Definitely worth the effort to avoid white lumps in the icing.)
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate, cream, milk and butter over a very low heat.
Now you can go two ways: grainy, dark brown fudge; or beige chiffon cream.
For grainy and dark: wait for the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature, then add to the sugar and beat only until thick enough to spread.
For beige chiffon: put the bowl of icing sugar over a bowl of ice cubes and water. Now add the hot chocolate mixture and beat until very light and fluffy.
Tip: do not put the icing in the fridge before you apply it to the cake or it will set.
to ice the cake:
Turn the cake out onto a large serving plate or tray – or a mirror looks great. (I’ve used baking parchment as it was going back into the tin to transport to the party.)
Split the cake in half using a large knife – or a piece of sewing thread or floss – and place the top layer on a clean piece of baking parchment.
Ice the bottom layer generously and place the top layer back on. If you make sure you put the part that was touching the tin – ie not the cut side – up, the crumbs shouldn’t get into the icing while you’re decorating the top and the sides. This works best with a palette knife, but you can also use a large flat spoon or a normal knife. It can be a messy business – but just clean the plate with some kitchen paper before serving.
Serve as is, or cover in gold leaf (you will need a layer of fondant icing over the fudge for this), edible flowers, berries, walnut halves – and candles, of course.