Recipe for Chocolate Cake - Chocolate for Cake Decorating

Recipe for Chocolate Cake - Chocolate for Cake Decorating

Chocolate and cake are two words that go together so well. The combination of the two allows for many different types of cake, cakes with different textures, flavours and fillings. 

A chocolate cake is a traditional cake recipe made with chocolate from the cocoa bean. The Spanish brought cocoa powder and the cocoa bean from the Americas to Europe in the 17th century and this great synergy was born. There are many varieties of this form of cake.

Chocolate cake has evolved in style and affordability as the processes involved with the creation of chocolate have advanced. The mechanical extraction of the fat from the cocoa liquor was a big advance. Developed by Coenraad van Houten in 1828. It allowed the partly defatted cocoa ground into a powdered form to give us cocoa powder.

This manufacturing process had a dramatic effect on the costs involved in the making of chocolate and allowed more experimentation to take place as it was no longer a luxury for the few.

Until the end of the 19th Century, chocolate was mostly used for drinks, its use in cakes being reserved to the fillings of the cake or a glaze on the cake.

Next in the chain of developments that shaped the modern chocolate cake is the process called conching. Developed by Rodolphe Lindt in Berne, Switzerland, in 1879, the process took place in a vessel resembling a conch shell hence the name.

Conching involves a surface scraping mixer and an agitator to evenly distributes cocoa butter throughout the chocolate. This develops flavours as the friction produced heats and releases oils. This repetitive process also acts to "polish" the chocolate.

For the finest chocolate, the process would be repeated for up to 78 hours, which brings out a rich taste.

At the other end of the spectrum, some chocolates will be conched for as little as 5 hours. It is this process that distinguishes the different manufacturers and their ranges of chocolate. For this reason, the exact processes and ingredients are often kept as a "trade secret".

Conching advanced the quality and versatility of the chocolate cake. The consistent amalgamating of the chocolate throughout the cake batter makes for the finest cakes.

Recipe for Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

Let's start with an easy chocolate cake recipe from the BBC. 

Ingredients

Cake
200g golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for the tins
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
Buttercream
100g milk chocolate, chopped
200g butter, softened
400g icing sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk

At 35 minutes to prepare and just 20 minutes to cook this is a truly simple chocolate cake. A versatile light sponge buttercream filled cake.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

If you are looking for a little more chocolate in your chocolate cake then this recipe is for you.

Ultimate Chocolate cake

Ingredients

Cake
200g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
200g butter, cubed
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g self-raising flour
85g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
75ml buttermilk
50g grated chocolate or 100g curls, to decorate
Ganache
200g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
300ml double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Preparation 40 minutes and the cooking time 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate is a vegan product and this delicious chocolate avocado cake is a gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake

Cake
a little dairy-free sunflower spread, for greasing
1 large ripe avocado (about 150g)
300g light muscovado sugar
350g gluten-free plain flour
50g good-quality cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
400ml unsweetened soya milk
150ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
85g ripe avocado flesh, mashed
85g dairy-free sunflower spread
200g dairy-free chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into chunks
25g cocoa powder
125ml unsweetened soya milk
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
gluten-free and vegan sprinkles, to decorate

Just 30 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook this is a rich gluten-free and dairy-free cake. Suitable for so many.

Chocolate Cake Decoration Ideas

Decorating cakes comes from 17th century Europe when cakes were decorated for special occasions such as weddings or royal events. The wedding cake is the epitome of a decorated cake with wealth and position being expressed in the cake design.

Cakes became more elaborate and common with the advent of temperature-controlled ovens. It was the ability to provide a reliable and predictable temperature that released a new art form. That and the availability of baking powder. The introduction of cheaper sugar started the sugar arts, icing, frosting and the production of decorations made from edible ingredients. Chocolate cake decoration ideas started to flow and grow as chocolate cakes started to be used for special occasions, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and religious festivals. 

Edible colouring and moulded decorations were added to the list of tools available to the baker in the art of decorating the cake.

Modelling Chocolate

Modelling chocolate is a chocolate paste formed by melting chocolate and adding either corn, glucose, or golden syrup. The resulting chocolate paste can then be formed into different shapes. Modelling chocolate allows colour as well as shape to be brought into the equation with dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate all being available to add colour and shades to the decorator's tools.

Flowers are one of the most popular decorations added to chocolate cakes but the themes and ideas are limitless.

I find inspiration can come from seeing how others interpret the craft of cake decorating. Pinterest is an ideal platform for getting such inspiration.

Below are a selection I enjoyed looking through, I hope you do as well.

Chocolate Cake Decoration

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/iffatsultana/chocolate-cake-decoration/

Chocolate decorated cakes

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/bettyatkin/chocolate-decorated-cakes/

Chocolate (Cakes&Decorations) 

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/radilica86/chocolate-cakesdecorations/

Chocolate birthday cake

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/kareneshipley/chocolate-birthday-cake/

Chocolate Cake with Strawberries

Italian strawberry and chocolate chunk cake from the BBC

Ingredients

4 free-range eggs
175g/6oz extra virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter
200ml/7fl oz honey or maple syrup
150g/5½oz ground almonds
150g/5½oz white spelt flour
½ unwaxed lemon, zest only
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
150g/5½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into large chunks
250g/9oz strawberries, hulled and halved

I had to read the title twice the first time I saw this recipe. It is an Italian cake recipe with chocolate and strawberries not Italian strawberries in a chocolate cake!

Preparation time under 30 minutes, cooking time is 1 to 2 hours.

A chocolate cake packed with strawberries

Cake
vegetable oil or oil spray
200g/7oz butter softened
200g/7oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
140g/5oz plain flour
60g/2½oz cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
400g/14oz plain, milk, or white chocolate cigarillos (about 75–80 in total)
Buttercream
250g/9oz butter softened
500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar
100g/3½oz good dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled

Decoration
fresh flowers, for a Christening cake
strawberries, raspberries or figs, quartered

Preparation time, 30 minutes to an hour, cooking time 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Chocolate Cake for Christmas

Christmas is a time many think of as being chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. 

There are so many chocolate cake for Christmas ideas, be it mulled wine brownies, yule logs or a revision of the traditional Christmas pudding. Chocolate and cherry Christmas pudding. Then after dinner, Christmas truffles.

Here are a host of Christmas Chocolate recipes.

Perfect as a chocolate Christmas cake is this amazing and very morish dark, moist, chocolate Christmas cake from Nigella Lawson

Cake
350g/12oz dried soft prunes, chopped
250g/9oz raisins
125g/4oz currants
175g/6oz unsalted butter softened
175g/6oz dark muscovado sugar
175ml/6fl oz honey
125ml/4fl oz coffee liqueur
2 oranges, juice and zest only
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
3 free-range eggs, beaten
150g/5¼oz plain flour
75g/2½oz ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Decoration
25g/1oz dark chocolate covered coffee beans
edible glitter (optional), 2mm gold mini balls, approx 10 gold stars

30 minutes to the hour to prepare and 1 to 2 hours to cook

Chocolate Cake Easter

If there is one festival that tops Christmas for overindulgence on chocolate that's Easter. Whether the Easter eggs hidden in the egg search or the large decorated chocolate eggs are exchanged as gifts that have, yes, yet more chocolate inside.

So any chocolate cake for Easter has to be particularly impressive to compete.

I think this Easter nest cake is the ultimate chocolate cake for Easter.

Cake
200ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin
250g plain flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
280g soft light brown sugar
250ml buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Nest
200g marshmallows
100g butter, chopped into chunks
2 tbsp cocoa powder
75g salted pretzels, crushed
4 shredded wheat biscuits, crushed
chocolate eggs, to decorate

Icing
150g slightly salted butter, softened
2 tbsp cocoa powder
300g icing sugar
4 tbsp milk

Preparation time 45 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes

Recipe for Chocolate Loaf Cake

A loaf cake is a cake made in a loaf tin. Often referred to as a pound cake which is a cake made from a pound of each ingredient: flour, butter, eggs, sugar. Dating back to the early 1700s the load cake has many variations.

If you are going to make a chocolate loaf cake then why not make it a double chocolate loaf cake!

Ingredients

175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
140g self-raising flour
85g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
100ml milk
4 tbsp cocoa powder
50g plain chocolate chip or chunks
few extra chunks of white, plain and milk chocolate, for decorating

Preparation time 25 minutes and cooking time 55 minutes.

Recipe for Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ganache is a glazing, icing sauce or filling used in and on cakes made from chocolate and cream. You would heat equal parts by weight of cream and chopped chocolate, warming the cream first, then pouring it over the chocolate to melt it. Leave for a few minutes to let the heat of the cream melt all the chocolate then stir and blend the mixture. To give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture butter can also be added after the chocolate has melted into the mixture.

In 1863 Paul Siraudin, a confectioner and playwright came up with the idea and named it after another play "Les Ganaches" It started life as a kind of truffle and Ganache or crème ganache was later used on cakes as a decoration of filling.

As our ultimate chocolate cake is a ganache cake I thought the link to a plain ganache would be useful

Chocolate ganache

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
300ml double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Preparation time is just 5 minutes and cooking time is another 5 minutes.

Recipe for Chocolate Guinness cake

Stout cakes are very popular and a particular famous stout is the basis of this particular cake.

Using stout gives it a very distinct deep flavour with a balance between the Guinness and the sugar and cocoa. It also makes the cake very moist which offsets the dryness of the chocolate.

Altogether a great combination.

Improved Chocolate Guinness Cake

Cake
250ml Guinness stout
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
1 142ml pot of sour cream
2 eggs
1.5 tablespoon of vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
Icing
250ml Guinness stout
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
1 142ml pot of sour cream
2 eggs
1.5 tablespoon of vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
200g of cream cheese
50ml of double cream
300g icing sugar (or as much as required for desired consistency)

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 40 minutes.

This has been a fun trip through my favourite Chocolate cakes. I really enjoy dark chocolate and that is reflected in my choices but there are so many variations on chocolate and cake that you can never run out of ideas.

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