There are so many different recipes for chocolate cake out there that it's difficult to choose a favourite. I suppose it depends on the occasion and what you fancy at the time of baking. Of the intense, rich recipes that use real chocolate in the batter, I love Nigel Slater's Chocolate Espresso Cake from quite an old book of his, Real Food. The cake is moist inside with a slightly crisp exterior which is simply heavenly. And I was really pleased with the chocolate and pumpkin cake I made last year. The recipe I use most often though is just a classic sponge recipe with cocoa replacing some of the flour, you can find the recipe for a mini version filled with a nutella cream here.
Considering this wealth of recipes, I wasn't particularly tempted to try these cupcakes from Ina Garten when I came across them in her book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. I was also put off by the long list of ingredients. However, when I peered into the fridge and realised that I had a carton of buttermilk and half a tub of sour cream that desperately needed using up, I thought I'd give them a try.
Reader, I loved them.
The cupcakes are intensely chocolatey and so moist as to defy belief. They immediately became my absolute favourite recipe for individual chocolate cakes although I don't know if the mixture would work as a whole, large cake, I suspect it would sink in the middle. That's by the bye though - these are perfect as they are. I didn't however top the cupcakes with the coconut frosting that Ina suggests, delicious though it sounds. I preferred to use a classic cream cheese icing and it worked perfectly, the smooth sweet icing providing a perfect foil to the rich, dark centre.
As I followed the recipe for the cakes exactly, I'm not going to reproduce it in this post but you can find it here. Below, I've included the recipe for the cream cheese icing I used.
As this month's Tea Time Treats theme is Fairy Cakes, Muffins and Cupcakes, I'm happily sending this along to Kate from What Kate Baked (congratulations on turning 2!) who hosts this fabulous challenge along with Karen from the always inspirational Lavender and Lovage.
- For the cake, click here
For the icing
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
200g sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Beat the cream cheese and vanilla essence together with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the icing sugar in three batches, whisking in each batch before adding the next. Put aside in the fridge to set a little otherwise it will be too runny to ice the cakes.