If there’s something you cannot trust besides the department of meteorology and Tinder profile pictures, it’s the baking aisle of the supermarket. Those boxed cake mixes will lure you in with their siren song about the most amazing chocolate fudge cake of your dreams. It will only cost you $4 and cup of oil and an egg. AND YOUR SOUL.
This is why cake mixes and Tinder have a lot in common. Those heavily curated photos, so casually enticing, so promising; it never crosses your mind to question the advertising because why would the advertising lie? Next thing you know you’re sitting alone in the dark with the regretful taste of disappointment in your mouth.*
*Except after disappointing cake you probably don’t feel the need for a hot shower.
Apparently you can make a boxed cake taste homemade by adding more eggs, substituting the water for milk, and adding twice the amount of butter for oil. If you’re going to all that trouble you then may as well just throw in some flour and cocoa and suddenly you’ll have yourself an actual homemade cake, or am I missing something here? Obviously I’m not a huge fan of cake mixes but admittedly I don’t mind some of that ready-made chocolate frosting in a can *ahem Betty Crocker* Just don’t look at the ingredient list because it reads like a chemistry experiment.
This incredibly delicious cake is nothing fancy but goddamn it’s good. A good old fashioned chocolate cake with good old fashioned frosting. Yeah frosting. Just imagine licking that chocolately frosting off your fingers or wherever. This is the kind of simple yet amazing cake that you get cravings for, the way you do your mum’s homemade lasagne (or pho in my case). I mean when was the last time you craved a 16 course degustation dinner or a fancy dessert with raspberry dust and edible flowers? Do yourself a favour and make this cake. You might even already have some of the ingredients left over from the last time you had an urge to bake something. However if this was in the early 2000’s then please go out now and buy new ingredients and then hurry back and make this cake already.
This cake improves in flavour and texture over a few days so conceivably the best slice you’ll have of this cake will be on Day 3 or Day 4, if it lasts that long, which is probably more than can be said of your Tinder dates.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
2 ½ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup hot water
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
250g softened butter, cut into 16 pieces
2 cups caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
150g softened butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups thickened cream
200g dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake: Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 8-inch square baking pans. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another small bowl, whisk hot water with the cocoa powder until smooth. In a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add cocoa mixture and vanilla until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake f0r 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool cakes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the frosting: Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa. Heat 100g of the butter, brown sugar, salt, and 1 ½ cups of the cream in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is bubbling and thickened. Transfer immediately to a large bowl. Slice remaining 50g of butter into 4 pieces and stir in until melted and combined. Add the chopped chocolate and the vanilla and stir until smooth. Stir in the remaining ½ cup of cream. Slowly whisk in the icing sugar and cocoa until smooth. If the frosting is not thick enough for spreading, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assemble the Cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread approximately 1/3 of frosting over the surface. Top with second cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of cake. If not serving straight away then place in an airtight container and refrigerate until serving. Bring to room temperature before serving.