The best chocolate cake recipe

No excuses are needed for baking a brilliantly indulgent chocolate cake...

With a touch of ale for extra richness and deliciousness this bake can be out of your oven and on your cake stand in less than 45 minutes.

Serves 8-10
Ready in 45 minutes

Ingredients
175g self-raising flour
¼ level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
275g dark brown soft sugar
110g spreadable butter
2 large eggs, beaten
50g cocoa powder, sifted
200ml ale (we used Old Speckled Hen)
For the Icing:
200g butter, soften
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp Ale (we used Old Speckled Hen)
50g dark chocolate, melted
Cocoa powder or grated chocolate to dust

Method
1. Preheat the oven 180°C, fan oven 160°C, gas mark 4.  Grease and line the base of 2 x 22cm round cake-tins, with non-stick baking parchment.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer.

3. Add all the other ingredients, except the ale. Either using an electric hand whisk or the freestanding mixer combine all the ingredients for about one minute until you have a smooth creamy consistency.  Pour the ale in a little at a time until thoroughly combined.

4. Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for about 30–35 minutes. The cakes are cooked when pressed lightly with your little finger and the center springs back.

5. Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling further on a cooling rack.

6. To make the icing: melt the chocolate in the microwave - 2-3 minutes on medium should do it - or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.

7. Beat the softened butter, gradually adding the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been added, whisk the icing for about 5 minutes on a high speed with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the ale and mix thoroughly. Add the melted chocolate and beat until everything is glossy and smooth.

8. Spread or pipe half the icing onto the bottom layer, top with the other cake, spreading the remaining icing on top.

Recipe and photo credit: Old Speckled Hen

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