I think a chocolate cake is quintessential to baking. There can be no baking talks without talking about Chocolate Cake so that's what we're going to do today.
Heads up, don't read this blog if you're hungry because we're going to be talking about Chocolate and Cake and both of them together a LOT in this one!
What is Chocolate Cake?
A chocolate cake, rather any cake consists of three parts - a sponge cake, the filling between the sponge cake layers and the outer frosting which decorates the whole cake.
In a Classic Chocolate Cake, we use a chocolate sponge and both the filling between the layers and the outer frosting is made up of Chocolate Ganache.
So in short, a Classic Chocolate Cake is made of two elements - a chocolate sponge cake & chocolate ganache.
And a really well made Chocolate cake would be soft, spongy, moist, creamy yet light in texture and be melting in your mouth with every bite. The chocolate flavor should be intense but not have the serious fudge that a brownie gives.
But all of this is easier said than done. I know, I have learned the hard way myself. So if you have ever wanted to bake this all-time favorite, read ahead because this is the recipe for you.
1. The perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe
- Yield - 6-inch diameter x 3-inch ht round sponge (~ 520 g)
- Total Time - 1 hour
- Baking Time - 40 mins (at 175 ℃)
6 inch Dia x 3-inch height Round cake pan with a removable bottom (I'm using a removable bottom pan but you can use a regular cake pan or a springform too)
- Flour - 125 g
Powdered Sugar - 150 g
Cocoa Powder - 40 g
Vegetable Oil - 60 g
Buttermilk - 120 g (110 g + 10 g)
Flax egg - 2 (1 flax egg = 1 tbsp flaxseed powder+3 tbsp Water)
Hot Coffee - 120 g ( 120 gm water + 0.5 tsp Instant Coffee)
Baking Powder - ½ tsp
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence - ½ tsp
Making the Sponge Cake Batter
Step 1 -
First things first - to make the cake aerated and light, we need a good leavening agent - for which we use baking powder & baking soda. But did you know that baking soda needs an acidic agent to boost it up?
So for that, we'll use homemade buttermilk - which is simply milk(110 g) + a dash of lemon juice(10 g). Mix it and keep it aside for 5 mins. The milk will curdle due to the lemon. What it does is give the cake a much-needed lightness and also a special tenderness.
Step 2 -
We make our egg replacement. Eggs are a great source of protein, they give structure to the cake and keeps it together. Without this protein, a cake so light as this one would not be able to hold its shape.
But since we don't eat eggs, we have to find a close enough source of protein that can do the trick for us. Enter flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats which makes it quite useful in baking.
Grind the flaxseeds finely and store them in an airtight container. To replace one egg just add 1 tablespoon flaxseed powder with 3 tablespoon water, stir and leave aside for 5 mins. Multiply this proportion according to the number of eggs required in the recipe.
It will become a gelatinous substance resembling a whisked egg. This can be used in any baking recipe requiring a whole egg. Trust me, you won't even know its there.
Since this recipe calls for 2 eggs, we will mix 2 tbsp flaxseed powder and 6 tbsp water to prepare our flax eggs.
Step 3 -
We are going to mix our dry ingredients together. Sift the flour & the cocoa powder, mix in the sugar, baking powder, and the baking soda. Whisk it lightly and keep aside.
Please note that sifting the flour & cocoa powder is really important in this step to get a smooth batter.
Step 4 -
Whisk together the wet ingredients - start with the flax eggs and buttermilk and use a hand whisk to mix it. Next, add the oil (60 g) and continue mixing.
It will need a heavy mixing here to bring it all together homogenously.
Step 5 -
Prepare a hot cup of coffee. To 120 ml water, add 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder of your choice and keep with you.
Remember it should be hot while adding into the batter so prepare accordingly.
Step 6 -
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold everything in with a spatula. Once you have almost mixed all the flour in, add the hot coffee in.
What this will do is slow down the gluten development which will help the cake stay soft after baking. Additionally, it also helps to intensify the chocolate flavor.
Fold the batter gently. The cake batter will appear thin & runny but don't worry, this is the way it was supposed to be. Our batter is now ready to be baked.
Pour the batter in the lined baking tin and bake at 175℃ for 40 mins.
Let the cake cool completely before unmoulding and finally, the sponge will be ready! But wait, we still have to decorate our sponge and make the final cake!
2. Decorating the Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients for the Chocolate Ganache ▼
- Chopped Dark Chocolate - 170 g
- Whipping Cream - 125 g
- Butter - 14 g
Step 1 -
To prepare Ganache, we melt chocolate with heavy whipping cream and a little butter. The result is creamy chocolate spread which can be used to decorate our cakes.
Chop 170 g dark chocolate and keep in a bowl. Now heat 125 g heavy cream to up to the boiling point and add it into the chocolate.
Step 2 -
Cover with a lid and let the chocolate melt with the heat of the cream. Do not disturb for 5 mins. After 5 min, add room temperature butter (14 g) to this mixture and give it a stir. We want a smooth chocolate spread which should not have any bits of unmelted chocolate.
To speed up the process, you can keep this bowl over a hot water bath and let the whole melt slowly and come together.
Cool the ganache completely. If your ganache is a little runny, put it in the refrigerator, allowing it to firm up a little.
Step 3 -
Once the cake is completely cooled, we can start decorating it. To do that, let's divide our cake into layers. I have divided the cake into just 2 layers, each 1 inch thick.
For seamlessly cutting these layers I use these guidance markers as I have shown in the video below. They are very easy to use and you can actually cut laters of your own desired thickness.
Step 4 -
After the layers are cut, place the bottom layer on your cake stand or tabletop or a large plate and generously top it with the cooled ganache. Spread it around the whole of the cake layer, making sure that the ganache layer is at least 1 cm thick.
Place the top layer upside down on this layer. This would ensure we get the perfectly flat base on the top.
Step 5 -
Cover the entire top and sides of the cake with the ganache. With the help of a spatula, spread the ganache around on the sponge evenly. To see how this can be done watch the video below.
We hope you will try this recipe out and let us know your thoughts on the same in the comments below. Don't forget to tag us on Instagram when you post your creations! Happy baking to you 😁