Ode to Nigella 23 – Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Let’s stay with chocolate shall we? I have a chocolate cake recipe which is on relatively high rotation because it’s a one pot wonder so to speak, in that you bung it all in the bowl, mix it, bake it, ice it and it tastes great. This gives it a serious run for its money and in fact, I’ve probably made this one more often as it is deeply chocolately but not overly rich.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 40g cocoa
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line (or flour) two 20cm round cake tins
  2. Bung the ingredients all together in the mixing bowl or food processor and process until combined
  3. Spatula into the tins and spread out – the mix is very thick
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes then turn out and cool.

The icing

  • 75g butter
  • 175g best quality dark chocolate
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tbl golden syrup
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt the butter and chocolate together, cool slightly
  2. Add the golden syrup, then the sour cream and vanilla
  3. Mix into the icing sugar, beat until combined and no lumps
  4. Use 1/3 to sandwich cakes together, 1/3 for the top and 1/3 for the sides

Ode to Nigella 22 – Chocolate Rice Pudding

Three words:

What is not to love. Because I was feeding Chef and three boys, I increased the recipe (originally for 2 serves) by 2 and 1/2, the amounts of which I have put in brackets after Nigella’s original. It blew the timing out as well as I did it in one dish as opposed to little individual dishes because, hello, washing up little dishes with hard baked on custardy rice. Get real.

Chocolate Rice Pudding

  • 1tbsp cocoa (21/2tbsp)
  • 4tsp boiling water (10tsp – or 3tbsp and 1tsp)
  • 250ml milk (725ml)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract (2 1/2tsp)
  • 2tbsp arborio rice
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C, put a baking tray in as you do and grease two 150ml pudding dishes or ramekins
  2. Put the cocoa in a measuring jug and dissolve with the boiling water and then stir in the milk
  3. Add the vanilla and divide between the two dishes
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of rice and sugar to each dish
  5. Give them a stir then put them in the oven on the baking tray
  6. Cook for 30-40 minutes and let stand for a while before eating.

I would advise you to use the best quality cocoa powder you can afford. I used the cheap and nasty stuff I had in the cupboard and I think it diminished the flavour somewhat.

I must also confess that I made this with skim (low-fat) milk which I think means you definitely need the good quality cocoa powder even more.

The cooking time for the increased amount in one dish was approximately an hour.

Ode to Nigella 18 – Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nigella attributes these to Elinor Klivans and her book Big Fat Cookies, so technically this might not be a Nigella recipe, but you know, she has it in her latest cookbook Nigella Express so I’m taking it as legit.

These are not so much biscuits as saucers. It makes 12 chocolate plates or 24 biscuits.

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 125g chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa
  • 150g flour
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1tsp bicarb
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, cold from the fridge
  • 350g semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave
  3. Mix the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt together
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together
  5. Fold in the chocolate and then add the egg and vanilla
  6. Mix through the dry ingredients and then the choc chips
  7. Using an icecream scoopp, scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them
  8. Cook for 18 minutes and let cool for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I used white chocolate chips as I didn’t have dark chocolate ones.

Ode to Nigella 16 – chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

Otherwise known as ‘why my kids love me’.

Chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce

  • 175ml cream
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 3tbs golden syrup
  1. Put everything in a bowl and cook for an initial 20 second stint and then 10 second bursts, stirring after each until smooth
  2. Don’t talk, just spoon over icecream and eat in glorious silence.

Chocolate Gingerbread – Ode to Nigella #6

*UPDATED EVEN BEFORE POSTED* omg – I just ate a piece of this warm from the oven un-iced. It is SUBLIME. Make it your signature Christmas dish for 2007. Take it to friends, give it to your Nana, it is heady and rich in spices, dense in its moistness that is so deeply satisfying you do actually feel all grown up and childlike all at the same time.
In her intro to this Nigella says, ‘This is very rich, very strong: not for children, but perfect for the rest of us’. I don’t know about the type of palate your child has or even if you have children, but mine will wolf this when they get home this afternoon.

Chocolate Gingerbread

  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 125g muscovado sugar
  • 2tblsp caster sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g black treacle or molasses
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4tsp bi-carb soda
  • 2tblsp warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 275g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa
  • 175g chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray thats 30x20x5cm
  2. In a decent sized saucepan melt the butter with the sugars, golden syrup, molasses and the spices
  3. Combine the bi-carb with the water, then combine with the eggs and milk
  4. Beat the milk mixture into the butter mixture
  5. Fold through the flour, cocoa and choc chips
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes until risen and firm. It will be slightly damp underneath the set top and that’s what you want
  7. Let it cool in the tin

Ginger ale icing

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1tblsp cocoa
  • 60ml ginger ale
  1. In a heavy based saucepan heat the butter, cocoa and ginger ale
  2. once the butter has melted whisk in the icing sugar
  3. Lift the gingerbread out of the baking tray and pour over the icing to cover the top
  4. Cut into 12 fat slabs.

How appropriate.

I don’t have any ginger ale in the house or any inclination to leave it (these sudden downpours keep occurring) so while her Chocolate Gingerbread recipe was in Feast, I’m going to use the lemon icing she put on the Fresh Gingerbread recipe in How to be a domestic goddess. Apart from the fact I love lemon icing on pretty much anything, I absolutely adore it on chocolate cake, so it seems like a perfectly acceptable swap. But after eating a piece, I may indeed go and buy a bottle of ginger ale, such is its power.

**UPDATE #2** Well, the boys each wolfed down their warm piece I’d taken with me in the car for them on after-school pick-up and I did a purposeful detour to get ginger ale. What remains of it is now iced. I’m wishing I’d gone with the lemon though, I think it a better counterpoint to the spice that the sweetness in the ginger ale icing, which just tastes like a chocolate glaze.

Nigella’s lemon icing

  • 1tblsp lemon juice
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1tblsp warm water
  1. Whisk the lemon juice into the icing sugar then gradually add the water
  2. It has to be good and thick so go easy when adding the water as you might not need it all
  3. Spread over the gingerbread with a palette knife and leave to set before cutting.