So easy yet so impressive, you'll want to make this classic chocolate fudge cake every time there's something to celebrate! This recipe really is fool-proof and gives plently of scope for decoration - once you've made one chocolate cake, you'll want to make another...
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
For the cake
100g (4oz) butter
100g (4oz) plain chocolate
250ml (9fl oz) milk
1tbsp red wine vinegar
15g (1/2oz) coca powder, sifted
300g (10oz) self-raising flour
1tbsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
225 (8oz) golden caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
For the icing
225g (8oz) plain chocolate
142ml carton double cream
50g (2oz) marzipan
Icing sugar, for rolling
8 chocolate-coated coffee beans
1. Heat the oven to 180 C (160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4). To make the cake, melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Place all the remaining cake ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the butter and chocolate mixture. Spread into the prepared cake tin.
2. Bake the cake for 1 hour until firm. Turn out, cool and split in half horizontally. Meanwhile, make the icing. Melt the butter until smooth, then beat in the cream. Cool slightly. Sandwich the cake with a quarter of the icing - it should be a thick consistency for the filling.
3. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. If the icing is too firm, warm it a little until it is a spreading consistency. If you prefer, you can make it even softer still and pour it over the cake for a glossy icing finish. If the cake has risen in the centre, you can trim off the top a little or ice the cake upside down.
4. To decorate, mix the cocoa powder into the marzipan until smooth. Roll out on a work surface dusted with icing sugar and cut 8 florwer shapes. Arrange on top of the cake and finish with a chocolate-coated coffee bean in the centre of each flower.
Per serving: 663 calories, 37 fat (22g saturated), 72g carbohydrate
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