Cuisine - - FRONT PAGE - Recipes and food styling Alice Arndell / Photography and styling Ta­mara West

Dark choco­late adds a depth and strength of flavour to bak­ing that milk choco­late just can’t com­pete with. It makes child­hood favourites taste all grown-up, el­e­vates the mun­dane to the mag­i­cal and makes layer cakes and tarts feel that much more deca­dent and spe­cial. Make sure you use the choco­late with the level of co­coa solids stated in the recipe as a higher or lower per­cent­age can ad­versely af­fect your baked de­lights.


SERVES 8-10 Prepa­ra­tion 30 min­utes (plus 1-2 hours cool­ing time) Cooking 30 min­utes A few ex­tra spices and a deca­dent rich frost­ing lifts devil’s food cake to a new level of de­li­cious­ness. 100g 60 per cent dark choco­late, coarsely chopped ¾ cup co­coa, sifted 1 ta­ble­spoon strong in­stant cof­fee gran­ules

(or cof­fee essence) 1½ cups flour ½ tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der ½ tea­spoon bak­ing soda 1 ta­ble­spoon ground cin­na­mon 1½ tea­spoons ground car­damom ½ tea­spoon ground star anise (see Baker’s Note,

page 74) ½ tea­spoon salt 150g but­ter, soft­ened 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract Pre­heat the oven to 170°C and grease and line the sides and bases of 2 x 20cm round cake tins.

Put the choco­late, co­coa, and in­stant cof­fee in a small bowl and pour 1 cup boil­ing wa­ter over the top. Whisk un­til smooth then set aside to cool to room tem­per­a­ture, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

Put the flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, spices and salt in a small bowl and whisk to com­bine. Set th­ese dry in­gre­di­ents aside.

Beat the but­ter and sugar un­til pale and fluffy then add the eggs, one at a time, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion. Beat in the vanilla ex­tract. Fold half the dry in­gre­di­ents into the egg mix­ture, then stir in the choco­late and cof­fee mix­ture. Fi­nally, fold in the re­main­ing dry in­gre­di­ents.

Divide the bat­ter evenly be­tween the pre­pared tins (weigh them if you can) and use a spat­ula to smooth out the tops. Bake for 22-28 min­utes (swap the po­si­tion of the tins around at the 15 minute mark) or un­til a skewer in­serted into the cen­tre comes out with just a few small crumbs cling­ing to it. Al­low the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 min­utes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool com­pletely. The cakes will sink a bit as they cool.


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