It is only fitting that I begin my “foodventure” with the recipe that got me excited about cooking in the first place. I made this chocolate cake for Christmas almost a decade ago and everybody loved it! And since then it has been one kitchen adventure (and many disasters) after another. The beauty of this recipe is that just about anyone can create it with a good success rate – that’s why I call it a fool-proof recipe. If you have struggled to make yummy, crumbly chocolate cake, fear not this recipe will make you an instant hero (not kidding about that!).
Having recreated this cake multiple times, I have tweaked it from the original recipe (given by mom’s friend) and added my own twist to it. The subtlety of the brandy and star anise go so well with chocolate, making it a rich and delectable cake. Birthdays, Christmas or just for no reason at all, my brandy-infused chocolate cake fits all celebrations and at the same time needs no occasion to enjoy its chocolaty goodness. So the next time a baking opportunity presents itself, why don’t you give this recipe a try?
- 1¾cup maida
- ¾cup cocoa powder
- 1tsp baking powder
- ½tsp baking soda
- ½tsp salt
- 2eggs, room temperature
- 2cups powdered sugar
- 1cup buttermilk (½ cup yogurt + ½ cup milk)
- ½cup vegetable oil
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- 1cup black instant coffee
- ¼cup sugar
- 1cup water
- 1tbsp brandy
- ½ star anise
- 400ml low fat cream (I use the 2x200ml Amul fresh cream)
- 250gms sweetened dark chocolate
- 50gms butter
- 2tbsp brandy
- Chopped almonds, roasted
- Line the baking tin with parchment paper and keep aside. Preheat the oven at 180oC for 10-20minutes.
- Sift the dry ingredients (maida, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a bowl.*
- Beat the sugar into the egg until its light and fluffy*. Add the remaining wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil and vanilla essence. Beat until it’s well combined, especially the oil. Finally mix in the coffee.
- Gently and gradually fold the dry ingredients in to the wet mix. Pour the batter in the baking tin and bake for 30 minutes*.
- To prepare the glaze, add all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to boil over a medium flame. Lower the flame and let the liquid simmer till it’s slightly reduced and syrupy. Make it a day ahead for the star anise to infuse the syrup with its aroma and flavour.
- To prepare the ganache, add the cream and chocolate to a bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate appears soft and melting, add the butter and gently stir it. Take it off the heat and mix in the brandy. Let it cool.
- Once the cake is cooled, pour the brandy glaze over it with a spoon – not too much you don’t want to drench the cake. Add the ganache and with the back of a spoon gently spread it evenly on the cake. Top with the roasted, crushed almonds.
Some additional notes:
*Sifting the flour is an essential step and should not be omitted. This step incorporates air into the cake batter and is important to make the cake soft and crumbly. In fact one of my aunts even suggests an old-school principle of sifting the flour mix three times so that all the dry ingredients are well combined and essentially become one mix.
*For soft cake, beat the egg and sugar till it is well aerated – you will know when the mixture increases in volume and turns into a pale colour.
*Baking time can vary based on oven and baking tin. Hence it is best to check after 15-20mins and accordingly time the baking phase.
*Bonus recipe: Combine the leftover syrup with the leftover ganache (if possible in the bowl itself) with some milk and instant coffee powder. Boil it to make your own homemade mocha drink. Also a quick whisk with the handblender will give you a lovely froth to go with all that chocolaty-coffee goodness! Let nothing go to waste, people. Especially, chocolate.
**Some thoughts: The next time I bake this cake, I am thinking of infusing the oil with some star anise and make the flavour/aroma more pronounced. Look out for updates. 🙂