My daughter came home for a weekend, so we could bake together again after a long time – and we decided to make our favourite chocolate cake.
This quick-and-easy recipe has been in my personal hand-written cookbook for ages. I don’t remember who I got it from and when. I know, however, that it has never failed to satisfy my family’s cravings for ‘something sweet’, as we in Slovakia say.
Both my daughters took the recipe with them when they’d left home to live and work abroad. The cake had an international success with their French, English, Spanish and Greek friends. The good thing about the recipe is that it uses simple ingredients that are easy to find anywhere in the world. What’s more, they are very likely to be on hand at any time, so if you have guests coming at a very short notice, here is a perfect dessert to surprise them with that can be made within an hour. And it makes enough portions for a small party!
Quick-and-easy Chocolate Cake
250 g unsalted butter or margarine
1½ cup sugar
1 cup water
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups wheat flour
1 sachet baking powder (13 g in Slovakia)
1 sachet vanilla sugar (20 g in Slovakia)
a little rum essence
dried shredded coconut or ground nuts to sprinkle on top
Heat the butter/margarine, sugar, water and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat until the butter/margarine has melted. Stir from time to time to ensure all the ingredients combine well. Take away from the heat and put aside ½ cup of the chocolate mixture. You will need it later for drenching the cake.
Grease a baking tray and dust it with flour.
When the chocolate mixture has cooled down a little, gradually add to it the flour, the eggs, the baking powder and vanilla sugar. Remember to stir well after adding each ingredient to obtain a smooth, shiny dough. Flavour with a few drops of the rum essence.*
*As you can see from the picture above, left, I also added a few teaspoons of the blackberry pulp, left in the freezer from preserving blackberries.
Transfer the dough into the baking tray and spread around evenly. Put in the oven and bake at 180ºC for about 25 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides of the baking tray. The cake is done and cooked through when a skewer inserted in it will come out clean.
Take the cake out of the oven and put on a cooling mat. Spoon the ½ cup of the cool chocolate mixture all over the cake while it is still hot to give it a moist, sticky cover. Sprinkle with the dried shredded coconut or ground nuts.
When it has cooled down, cut the cake into squares, rectangles or other more imaginative shapes. My daughter suggested serving it with coconut ice-cream. Yum, if only we’d had some at home 😦
But a cup of coffee was a good replacement …