Last night, spurred on by MasterChef*, but not willing to go to the lengths of a carrot snowman, I decided to make my favourite standby cake – Store Cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake from Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess. This is a recipe for which I always have the ingredients to hand and one I know I can have in the oven in about 20 minutes! Feeling a little extravagant, I also decided to ice it with cream cheese and butter frosting, as I happened to have both in the house.
- 100g milk or dark chocolate
- 150g caster sugar
- 125g butter
- 300g quality marmalade (or raspberry jam, as I have used here)
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 150g self-raising flour
- 125g butter (at room temperature: softened)
- 125g cream cheese
- 500g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Rind of 1 orange (optional)
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180° (fan-forced).
Next, in a decent sized saucepan (this will be your main mixing bowl for the batter), melt the butter and then take it off the heat. Drop in the chocolate, broken into pieces, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Now stir in your sugar and jam/marmalade, again stirring vigorously until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring each one in well.
Now, add the flour, a third at a time, stirring well after each addition. Also add the salt at this point.
Pour the batter into your greased, lined (make sure you completely cover the base, this is a moist and sticky cake), 20cm round springform tin, tap to settle and pop in the oven. You can see here little bits of the jam/marmalade in the batter. This won’t affect the consistency of the cake, they will simply melt in the oven.
While it cooks away for 40 – 50 minutes, marvel at how quickly you got that in the oven OR, if you’re feeling extra decadent/energetic, make the following icing.
(NB: When the cake is cooked, allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then unmould the sides and place it on a cooling rack. It is important that the base of the tin stay on until you are ready to put it on your plating cake – it has a very soft bottom, owing to the moistness of the cake!)
Beat together the cream cheese and the butter. When they are smooth and fluffy, add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. If you are using orange rind, add this in now.
When you are happy with the consistency, cover it with glad wrap and pop it in the fridge until your cake has cooled and ready to be iced.
Then simply ice, decorate as you wish (you can see some orange zest on the cake here) and enjoy! I didn’t actually have any of this cake, but I have made it MANY times before, and I trust that it tasted great as always! I have also iced this cake with a simple chocolate ganache before, and if this is your preference, it is delicious. However it does make for a very rich cake. Most of the time, I simply dust it with icing sugar once it has cooled.
This cake is fantastic made with any jam you have in the house, so long as it is good quality and has no lumps of fruit in it. Nigella also recommends making it with the same weight in prune puree and adding Armagnac to the batter. While it does sound lovely, this isn’t something I keep in the house, or even something I have seen in the supermarket! If I find it somewhere, I will test it out and let you know how it goes.
*while I refused to watch The Renovators which had been so rudely spliced into the middle of the finale!