Forgive me the name. I remember many a cake being called this in the 80s, mostly on chain pub menus. Not sure I ever felt those mass produced, icy cold, spongey (as in sea sponge, not sponge cake) textured cakes lived up to the hype though. I recently tried the choc cake at Nando’s and well, it’s probably one of the best chain restaurant cakes I’ve ever tasted.* I helped my son eat a portion, as in I ate 85% of the slice.
This chocolate cake is light and tender, leading you into a false expectation of a not too chocolately hit. Then the ganache filling and icing hits you and it’s time to sit down, cram the rest into your mouth and maybe have a glass of milk to counter the effects of the richness. I decorated this particular cake rather conservatively as it was a gift for a friend. If I were decorating it for myself I’d cover the entire thing in chopped up chocolate bars and Smarties. Then I’d sit down with a large fork and dive straight in…
*No, Nando’s haven’t paid me to say that, however if they would like to give me a free slice of cake every now and again I’d be very much up for that. I have elasticated trousers ready should such an occasion arise.
150g castor sugar
175g margarine/butter at room temperature
150g plain flour
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
30g cocoa powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
35g Greek yoghurt
300mls double cream
200g dark and 100g milk chocolate, broken into squares
Chocolate bar(s) of your choice
Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Butter and line two tins with greaseproof paper. I used 8.5 inch wide ones. Cream together the sugar and butter/margarine until light and fluffy. I use an electric hand mixer for this. Scrape down the bowl and add in the flour, eggs, bicarb of soda, cream of tartar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and Greek yoghurt. Whizz up for about 4 minutes with the handheld mixer until all combined, light and fluffy.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and level with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once the cakes are ready they should be well risen (one may have cracked a little – worry not) and a toothpick should come out of the centre of the cakes clean. Leave to cool for ten minutes in their tins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the chocolate ganache, pop the cream into a saucepan and heat until it starts to bubble, remove from the heat, then add the chocolate and stir, stir, stir until the mixture is completely molten and without any chocolate lumps showing. Leave to cool until the mixture has thickened, (this takes a couple of hours at room temp, you can pop in the fridge but the ganache may lose its shine) then spoon about two large tablespoons onto one of the cakes already secured to the cake board with a tiny bit of ganache . Spread evenly, though not all the way to the edges, possibly add a little more if you wish, then place the other cake on top.
Add the rest of the ganache to the top and then decorate with chopped up chocolate bar(s). Leave to set. Eat or give to people you love.
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Thank you ^_^
And Greek yoghurt is pretty expensive here in India since it has to be imported.. Do you think I can just use plain yoghurt that I’ve strained???
I am sure you can but it might have a slightly sour tang to the cake. X
And also… Do you think there is a substitute for cream of tartar??? I live in a remote area and I’m not sure where I can get it…
You can substitute this for 1 tsp of baking powder but the texture will be a little less fine. Still taste good though. X
I loved this cake when I ate it at nandos!!! I’m gonna try it out tomorrow and if it goes down well in gonna surprise my sisters with it for Christmas!!! I just don’t have scales though… Would you please convert the measurements in cup measure please???
Hi Hannah, this isn’t like the Nandos cake I’m afraid so please manage your expectations! Afraid I am a bit busy at the moment what with it being almost christmas so you’ll have to use the power of google to convert the recipe – it shouldn’t take too long. X
hi holly ,do you use your kitchen aid to make chocolate cake,i purchased a kitchen aid 6 month ago and iam still wary of using it thank you,
ps love watching you on qvc.x
I use it for everything Terry! Well, almost everything! Why are you wary may I ask? x
iam used to baking with a hand mixer ,also iam used to feeling the texture,this might sound stupid,my mother taught me to bake she never used scales and always said you can tell by the texture ,mind she was a brilliant cook,i think the kitchen aid is something you have to get used to,hopefully i get used to it,i must admit watching you on q v c has made me want to use it, it would be good if you brought a dvd out on how to use the kichen aid ,the cook book i got with the kitchen aid is lovely but not very informative on how to use.thanks terry .
You can totally tell by the texture! I’m with your Mum. Go on, crack the KA out for Christmas and give your muscles a rest! x
I don’t have two tins can I make in one tin and then slice it in the middle?
Holly this cake has a lovely crumb and is very nice. But if I were looking for something richer and more dense which chocolate cake would you recommend?
I made this yesterday, i didnt have cream of tartar so used normal plain flour & baking powder (as normally do /right amoubts) but the sponge just didn’t rise- I tried making again and sponge stayed exactly the same, so did 4 thin layers with white chocolate Ganache inside. Went down well for my sisters birthday all decorated with extra chocolate bits and pink sparkles, just not sure what happened firstly! Will be making again though!!
Hi Louise, I have no idea as I use this in my classes and have never had a problem with it. I haven’t tried it with baking powder though. How old is your baking powder? Try mixing a little in a glass of water and if it doesn’t fizz it’s not active anymore. xx
Thank you, it must just be me as I brought the powder on my last shop! It was still moist and chocolatey so layered up went well! Was lovely as a flat cake so can’t wait try again for a deep cake!! Sure goes down very well in your classes!! :o)
How long would you cook for if made as cupcakes instead of a sponge?
Also thank you for getting back to me! So Many different cakes to try out … Just not enough time in the day or room in the trousers!!
Made this at weekend & seems to have gone down well. Filled middle with cream & raspberries with some more raspberries on top. Very nice indeed.
Love that combo! Sounds great. x
Holly, will the ganache keep for a day after making it before i use it? if so how do i store it? It looks yum; i’m making it this week :) x
It keeps but you need to make and use on the same day to get a proper shiny covering. If you reheat it never really shines again. You can however make truffles from any left over and allowed to go rock solid. xx
Holly, this cake looks gorgeous, glossy and so lush!! Absolutely love it x
Thanks lovely. I would love to see what you’d put on it. I can imagine some amazing flavour combos. x
that cake looks amazing!!!
Each cake recipe is a completely different taste experience, and all are equally delectable. Nothing beats the smell of a cake being baked in the oven. Forget air fresheners, bake a cake for the perfect home scent!
I remember the Death by Chocolate on pub menus in the 80s, we used to joke that if you ordered it a mars bar would come flying out the kitchen hit you on the head and so was called Death by Chocolate of course we would have had lots to drink at that stage that’s why we would think it was funny :)
I like your joke a lot. I might even use it. x
Holly, what is your preference for this cake milk or dark chocolate or do you use a mix of both? x
Mixture of both. 100g milk and 200g dark for me but I do like dark choc. x
That sounds gorgeous! I must try this recipe soon!
Please do! It’s a keeper. x
Ooh, looking like you’ve surpassed yourself with this one, my dear! YUM!!!! Now on my ‘must bake’ list!
I tell you what, it’s possibly my new fave choccy cake. Love it. xx
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