As we have “the best summer ever” in Wellington, I’ve been less inclined to want to spend time over the stove top and more inclined to lie on the couch with a fan blowing. Yes folks, for the first time in 14 years, a fan is operating in my home. The best Boxing Day sale item purchase. Ever. Needless to say, my ongoing request to move to climes warmer is falling on deaf ears right now.
I’m going to have to get used to the oven quickly though, as my chef’s course starts next week. I’m beginning to gather the requisite supplies and getting a teeny bit excited. Friends have been marvellous when it comes to offering to help with child care, for which I’m very grateful. Tis all slowly falling into place.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to when I hit the kitchens at Weltec is learning the “why?”, the chemistry behind what I’m doing. With any luck, I’ll have a better understanding of why some recipes go wrong.
What will probably remain a mystery though, is why I have no luck using my “fail safe” chocolate cake recipe in Auckland. I have now made it about ten times in the City of Sails, each time turning out a sunken soggy mess – completely the opposite to what happens at home. So much so, that I have been all but banned cooking said cake in Mum’s kitchen. Kind of a problem as I have a wedding chocolate cake to turn out in said kitchen in the coming months.
Thankfully, a last-ditch effort using a new reicpe produced results. It’s called Soonafai’s Chocolate Cake. This cake won a “best ever cake recipe” competition at some stage and has been reproduced by many a cook online (including Jo Seagar, who features it in one of her books). I don’t know who Soonafai is but I do need to thank her (more than she’ll ever appreciate), along with Mum who came across the recipe. I was getting a tad nervous that I’d be kitchen searching come wedding time!
In the interests of getting this post published, I haven’t rewritten the ingredients using weight (which I tend to prefer). I used UK/Australian cup measures.
This makes a huge cake – I used two 20cm round cake tins tonight. I also made an earlier attempt in one tin, using about three-quarters of the mixture and the last quarter in a loaf tin (above). If using one tin, I’d go for a large one so that it cooks evenly without burning.
What you’ll need
2 C caster sugar (you could try using less)
3 C self-raising flour (I used 3 cups plain flour and 6 teaspoons baking powder instead)
2 tsp baking soda
½ C cocoa
3 eggs, separated
2 C milk
2 Tbsp malt vinegar
2 Tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ C cooking oil (I used rice bran the first time and grape seed the second)
How to make it
Prepare your tin/tins by lining with baking paper. Turn the oven to 180ºC.
Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
Separate the three eggs. I put the whites into my Kenwood bowl, ready for beating.
Combine the milk and the vinegar. Add in the egg yolks, rest of the wet ingredients and the whole egg. Beat to combine (I used an electric hand beater).
Beat the egg whites until stiff peak stage.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together. Then fold in the beaten egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin or tins. The recipe says to bake for 25-30 minutes. In my two attempts, this has not been long enough. I think they need 45-60 minutes, depending on your tin/s.
The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin/s for ten minutes,
Turn on to a wire rack. Cool completely before decorating.
All the photographs I’ve seen of this cake show a large impressive large cake, layered with cream and summer berries . If you are using the recipe for one cake, layering is the way to go. Or, you can use one cake now and freeze one for later – which is what I’m doing.
Here’s the cake I’m working on in-between typing this post. It’s for my last day of paid employment tomorrow (well, for a while anyway). Happy farewell me! Watch out Weltec, here I come….
(Top photograph shows a slice of this cake – it went down a treat!)