chocolate cake with dark chocolate cream cheese icing

My next door neighbours daughter will not eat fruit, even in cake form, so I need to consider that whenever I bake. The last few bakes have been fruit centred so I decided to make a chocolate cake so she wouldn't feel left out.

I turned to a Danielle Alvarez recipe from her latest book, Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking. As I'm now officially obsessed with the cream cheese icing from Beatrix Bakes, I whipped up (literally) a dark chocolate version with which to top the cake. The cake can be made as a layer cake, but I was in no mood for fiddling and made a single layer cake.

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a larger cake, refer to the original recipe. For a layer cake, divide the batter between two 16 cm round cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes and make a double batch of the icing.

Chocolate cake with dark chocolate cream cheese icing
37g Dutch cocoa powder
85g brown sugar
75g caster sugar
112 ml hot, freshly brewed coffee (decaf and/or instant also work here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
70 ml neutral oil, such as vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup Greek yoghurt or milk
½ tsp white wine vinegar
125g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda 
½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp fine salt

60g dark chocolate, 
broken into pieces (I used 52%)
12g Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60g pure icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
60g cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 180°C conventional. Grease and line the base of a 17cm deep cake pan with baking paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cocoa and sugars. Pour in the hot coffee and whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Add vanilla, oil, egg, yoghurt or milk and vinegar, then whisk until smooth. Lastly add in the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and sea salt and, again, whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan (about 1 hour) before making the icing. When cool, invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the round of baking paper then turn right side up.

Place the chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second bursts until melted. Set aside to cool before making the icing. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cocoa powder, butter, icing sugar, vanilla, cream cheese and a pinch of fine sea salt and beat on medium-low speed for 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and stir to combine.

To finish, you can slice the top of the cake off using a serrated knife to create a flat layer or leave it as is. Scoop the icing onto the cooled cake and spread it all the way to the edges. If making a layer cake, add half the icing to the top of one cake, spreading it all the way to the edges then lay the second cake on top and scoop the remaining icing onto the cake, spreading all the way to the edges. Slice and serve.

We all agreed that the star of the show was the icing so next time, I think a layer cake is the way to go. Expect to see another flavour of this icing on the blog very, very soon.

See you all again next week with some more fruit forward baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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