lessons in chocolate cake

chocolate cakechocolate cake

When the lovely Mariana posted her family recipe for chocolate cake recently I decided I needed to give it a crack. Me and chocolate cake still aren’t particularly firm friends. I had fiddled about last year with my sourdough starter chocolate cake (Number Five Chocolate Cake.) I had also mentioned in this post my head start into baking a dry old chocolate cake recipe as a teen.

Being more of a Lemon Meringue Pie kinda gal, it’s hard to get good perspective in such very important matters such as chocolate cake. However, for the sake of my chocolate cake inhaling young family I would do it. I would make the cake, (as everyone needs to have a chocolate cake recipe up there sleeves right?)

Lessons learnt in Chocolate Cake

1. Chocolate cake baked in a square tin sounded like a good idea at the time but when it came time to present it on a plate I slowly realised- out of all my missed matched plates, not one of them were square. Round tin it is next time.

2. Fold that flour into the mixture, don’t over beat it. I know this, and yet I still have moments of forgetting. This was one of those moments.

3. Chocolate cake doesn’t need to have 250g of dark chocolate in it to be a chocolate cake, (hooray for that actually!)

4. When making a stove top icing, ensure the tea towel being used in order not to burn yourself doesn’t catch fire as it rests casually in the flames. (For the record, burnt tea towel smells a bit funny.)

5. When the recipe says “move fairly quickly” when pouring on the icing, do so. It’s said for a reason. If you don’t, it leads to an unsatisfying ‘scratchy’ looking top. Followed by a little high pitched squeal, tiny foot stomp and mutterings of…oh please be smoooooth again.

6. Plopping small squares of chocolate in the middle doesn’t really hide the unsatisfying scratchy looking icing.

7. And finally, really… Not a single other person really cares whether- a) the icing was smooth, b) the cake mixture slightly over beaten, and c) that there wasn’t an appropriate square plate to go with the square cake*. It was gobbled up and declared the best chocolate cake ever. So dear Mariana, I think it’s a hit.

* There was however a slight voiced concerned and furrowed brow with the burnt tea towel incident, (for safety reasons of course.) But I say, who doesn’t like a little excitement in the kitchen now and then.

Mariana’s Forever Chocolate Cake Recipe 

chocolate cake


16 thoughts on “lessons in chocolate cake

  1. look at that cute little hand! i know only too well all those feelings associated with cooking something that doesn’t turn out how i’d envisaged..in my head everything always looks amazing so reality can often be a big disappointment! x


  2. Good on you for persevering. I have had many tea towels end up in the bin through going up in flames and yes, there is a terrible smell. I always have that issue where I’ll make something then realise I don’t have a platter or serving dish the appropriate size! But how much more can a cram into my cupboards! I think your cake looks perfectly fine xx


  3. Love this, Brydie! I can make and bake most anything – but I don’t do layer cakes well at all. I’ve had them split apart, sag and drag, and just sit there without any takers. I can make a single layer cake- as long as I have ice cream to go alongside. And I have quite a collection of scorched tea towels and pot holders. 🙂


  4. Oh my – I’m laughing at your minor kitchen woes whilst feeling humbled at the same time. Love, love, love your honesty every step of the way. It’s the only way we learn – trial and error and being totally upfront about it.

    Using a 20cm round tin will give you greater height than same size in a square – I’ve noticed it stays more moist when it’s higher too. BTW – I’ve noticed I didn’t specify ’round’ tin – thanks for pointing that one out – will rectify.

    Adding the flour; you could add half the wet ingredients to the flour (as with beating pancakes quickly to ensure there’s no lumps); then fold through the remaining “liquid” – gives you better control that way. I always do this when I make a double batch.

    Ah the icing – best tip – what’s the weather like outside? If your day is cold, you’re gonna have to work like a bat out of hell Brydie. Seriously; everything must be ready and in place so that all you need to do is take off the heat; pour onto the cake immediately; swirl, swirl, swirl – done. Lift off that knife! Pronto. Hot weather? You’ll find the icing may need to sit in the bowl for a bit to thicken up before pouring or it’ll be too runny and race all over the edges leaving you with nice icing around the bottom of the cake. Yep. I’ve done it. Don’t underestimate the weather – it plays a big role to achieving a successful icing.

    Hahaha – burnt tea towel. Not going there.

    Great effort dear. I know your next one will be even better. BTW – music to my ears the little ones gave it a thumbs up. 3 mwahs from me. xxx


  5. Can we swap families – I get told I make too many chocolate cakes – but that is heresy to say that you can ever have too many! I don’t have enough square plates – I have a few and I think making nut roasts and blogging has made them essential.

    But as for not getting it quite right, I managed to make a lovely sourdough bread yesterday – just forgot the salt – grrrrr – wondering about something like bread and butter pudding 🙂


  6. I want to share a couple of gorgeous chocolate cakes that I found recently. The first 2 links are incredibly promising and the third link is gorgeousness personified. Do you mind vegan cakes? They tend to be incredibly moist and if you give one a go, be prepared for the praise (and you can bask in the knowledge that they are very good for you too 🙂 ). Hope you like them…





  7. Yum Brydie, this looks good. The chocolate chunks on top look tempting and look at that cute little hand! I love your round plate with the flowers on it too!

    Chocolate cake recipes vary so much don’t they? There are simply millions of them out there. Have a lovely weekend.


  8. You burn tea towels, I burn cook books (my husband despairs!!)…..but we both make great cakes 🙂 Funny how the imperfections we dwell on are meaningless to our Little People who just concentrate on the fact that we’ve made a Chocolate Cake – YUM! Lovely post 🙂


  9. Ah that burnt teatowel smell, such a familiar one in my kitchen. As for the chocolate cake I think it looks great, even on the round plate. I to love a square on a circle or vice versa, weird I know. My go-to chocolate cake is a HUGE boiled and baked chocolate cake. The first few times I cooked it I add the bi-carb soda to the saucepan while on the heat (as the recipe says) and it would boil over like an erupting volvano. Made a HUGE mess on my stove top every time, eventually I realised I needed to add the bi-carb soda once the mixture was off the heat. Now my only problem is not having a big enough cake tin, I use a large round tin and still have enough mixture left over for a dozen muffins, it really is a big cake!


  10. I’m a bit like you with chocolate cake – it’s not my favourite thing – but Mr Bite does love it and so recipes and tips still catch my eye. It sounds like this one had its challenges (the icing in particular!) but it looks great in its square form and I have no doubt as to its popularity with the little monkeys 🙂


  11. I love chocolate cake! This one looks lovely! I never have the right sized plate for my cake but it doesn’t matter, cake is cake really!


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