I think a chocolate cake is quintessential to baking. There can be no baking talks without talking about Chocolate Cake.
But what is the perfect chocolate sponge cake?
A good chocolate cake should be soft, spongy, moist, 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 going to change the way you bake cakes.
The perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe
First, let me start by giving you all the ingredients so that you know what I am talking about.
- Flour | 125 gms
Caster Sugar | 200 gms
Cocoa Powder | 40 gms
Vegetable Oil | 60 gms
Buttermilk | 120 ml
Flax egg | 2 (1 flax egg = 1 tbsp flaxseed powder+3 tbsp Water)
Hot Coffee | 120 gms ( 120 gm water + 0.5 tbsp Instant Coffee)
Baking Powder | ½ tsp
Baking Soda | 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence | ½ tsp
If you see some very foreign elements here, don't worry we're going to break it all down together.
Step 1 -
First things first - to make your cake aerated and light, you 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 + a dash of lemon juice. 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 your cake and keeps it together. Without this protein, a cake so light as this one would crumble altogether.
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. And just for the purpose of this recipe, sugar is also a dry ingredient.
Usually, you might have seen that all baking recipes start with creaming the sugar with butter or oil, but in this case, particularly, we are going to mix it with the dry ingredients.
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 oil and the flax eggs and use an electric beater to mix it. Next, add the buttermilk and continue mixing with the electric beater. Once the mixture has turned lighter in color and increased in volume, you can stop the beater.
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 we need it to be hot and not just lukewarm so this step does not have to be performed too much in advance.
Step 6 -
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in parts. Don't whisk it though, just fold it in. And once you have almost (not all of it, just almost) mixed all the flour in, add all of 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 'bloom' the cocoa powder in the batter intensifying the chocolate flavor. Coffee also helps intensify chocolate flavor but you can omit it if you don't have it handy.
Once you have dunked the hot coffee in, I usually turn on the electric mixer for just 30-40 secs more to kind of bring it all together. The cake batter will appear really thin but don't worry, this is the way it was supposed to be.
Our cake is now ready to be baked.
Pour the batter in the lined baking tins. This batter is perfect for baking in two 6 inch baking tins.
The cake should be baked at 160℃ for 35 mins for an even baking. One of the reasons cake develops a dome in the middle is because the sides cook faster than the center of the cake. To avoid this we bake at lower temperatures for a bit longer so that our cake will cook evenly from all sides and come out flat.
And even if by chance it does develop a dome, don't worry it almost flattens back as it cools down.
So finally our cakes are ready! So far so good?
But wait, we still have to decorate our cake! Yes, in the next post I will tell you foolproof techniques of decorating your cake. So hang tight, we're going to make an amazing cake together.