I fear many things in life.
Fear of heights, slight fear of flying and then dying in such a dramatic way, fear of cats and dogs (not kidding), fear of failing and being incompetent.
Your fears control you, which I know shouldn’t be the case, and I’m trying – or at least, accept the fact that your fears are a part of you.
…I know it doesn’t seem to relate to baking yet, but I’m getting there…
So I was discussing this with Andrew a few days back – but with certain tasks in my life, I am able to conquer it with ease. Life has a funny way of playing games with you. These tasks are things that I love to do, for example, baking or writing, but I always wonder why I can’t achieve other desired things in life the same way… why isn’t it as straightforward?
I’ve been asked a few times why I love baking – some reasons include: making a product from scratch in that little amount of time, to be able to share the finished product with my family and friends, but also… because I am in power when I bake. I have control over the success and failure of the task at hand. It makes me sound like a Cruella de Vil.
After all, I am a Scorpio, and according to one horoscope site: Their biggest challenge and test in life is choosing between the power of love and the love of power.
So ANYWAY, a highlight of one of my past weeks was baking this chocolate cake. I’ve always been a little wary of using chocolate (chocolate powder does not count), making cream and macarons. So could you imagine my delight when I produced this cake on my first attempt?
I have my father to thank. He bought this huge slab of cooking chocolate from Malaysia. I’ve been thinking of ways to use it and spontaneously decided to bake a cake, fudge included – all or nothing.
I teared a little when I thought my cake had failed because the oven knobs were not aligned proper, everything seemed to be going so well. Yes, I’m usually an emotional wreck :’)
I’m really glad I got this recipe from Taste.com.au – no more tears and fears from now on!
Classic Chocolate Cake
Prep time 30 minutes + 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
200g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter, softened, chopped
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
chocolate ganache icing and chocolate curls, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 24cm round springform cake pan.
- Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water). Cool slightly.
- Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With beaters on medium speed, add vanilla, then add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour in cooled chocolate and beat until well combined. Beat in a third of sifted ingredients, followed by a third of the milk. Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated, beating until smooth.
- Pour mixture into the pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack to cool completely.
- To serve, spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake using a hot palette knife, then decorate with chocolate curls.
To make chocolate ganache:
- Melt 150g chopped good-quality dark chocolate with 125ml pure cream and 20g unsalted butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir until well combined, then set aside for 30 minutes to cool and thicken before use.
To make chocolate curls:
- Using a palette knife, spread melted chocolate 2-3mm thick on a hard clean surface such as a glass chopping board or marble slab that you can move. Stand at room temperature until almost set. Shave curls using a peeler or palette knife, pulling towards you at an angle. If the chocolate breaks, it is set too hard – leave in a warm place until more pliable. To make small curls, simply run a peeler along the side of a block of chocolate.