It had the power to score me some cool stuff on the playground: “trade you my Homer Simpson pencil topper for your slice of cake?”. Fun for a while, but soon I had to wait until everyone was busy playing handball before I could sneak out my pieces of cake without being mobbed. It’s the cake that suddenly made you everyone’s Bestest Friend. The cake that was waiting for us, warm and freshly iced after a hard day of spelling and math at school.
It’s the cake that was always there in the lunchbox for morning tea, delicately sprinkled with coconut or hundreds and thousands. Oh lordy, those seconds between releasing the goods from its tight clingfilm cocoon and filling your cake-hole seemed like eternity. Mum would include two pieces for my best friend and I. We’d sit on the benches, sharing cake and secrets, giggling over our crushes. When I was 10 years old way back in 1994 I had the biggest crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, or ‘JTT’. Who? You ask.
He played Randy on the TV show Home Improvement.
AND he was the voice of Simba in The Lion King.
And starred in a bunch of movies that are inconsequential now.
(take that Justin Bieber)
This chocolate cake has the power to conjure up Home. And I’ve been craving anything that reminds me of home right now. The neverending challenges and difficulties that have arisen in the 18 months I’ve been away from family and friends have seemed darn near insurmountable. This year I’ve learned the depths of personal strength, and learned how to perfect Mum’s chocolate cake recipe in the process.
It’s rewarding to notice how your baking skills improve with time: I’ve baked this cake occasionally over the last 10 years, and while the end result is perfectly fine, it just hasn’t had the exact same texture or flavour of Mum’s cake. But I’ve finally done it!
This recipe yields one crazy-moist chocolate cake perfect for afternoon tea, or even as a base for a birthday cake. You know what’s even better? It’s another One Bowl Wonder! The secret to it’s deep flavour and texture lies in the use of jam in the recipe. I’ve frosted the cake with my new favourite chocolate buttercream (which I managed to smear on the cake in the photo above, oops).
I must warn you: the frosting recipe makes more icing that the cake can hold. If you’re prone to sneaking spoonfuls of frosting from the bowl like me, you might want to place as much distance between the sugary goodess and yourself like the chocoholic in this hilarious Kids in The Hall sketch (another blast from the past). By the way, if my chocolate addiction ever goes this far, please stage an intervention:
Mum’s Chocolate Cake
YOU WILL NEED
125g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Plain Flour
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
2 large Eggs
1/3 cup Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Strawberry Jam
300g Icing sugar
100g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
40g Cocoa Powder, sifted
50 ml Whole Milk
Makes one 20cm cake
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 20cm cake tin.
In a large bowl beat softened butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until thick, pale and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour in the jam and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Add the bicarb soda. Sift in half of the plain and self raising flours and cocoa powder, folding them in gently with half of the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk, continuing to fold until just combined. The mixture should resemble a thick chocolate mousse.
Scoop into the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack.
To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder with an electric mixer until combined. Add the milk, then whip the frosting with the beaters for around 5 minutes. This makes it nice and fluffy and helps dissolve some of the icing sugar. When the cake is completely cool, slather the top with frosting.