It was supposed to be the perfect excuse to bake – hubby was due to host a ‘Guys’ Night’ at our house, and a bunch of fellas were coming around who would need some grub – so I used an otherwise boring day to rustle up this cake. Alas, the guys were too busy chatting (chatting?!) that they never got around to it… So instead it became the perfect excuse to call some friends and invite ourselves around there for dinner (on a picnic rug in the backyard) instead!

Basically, the dense texture of this chocolate cake is up there with the best chocolate mud cake I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting… and it doesn’t even purport to be a mud cake!

The texture, the crumb, the flavour (not sickly sweet, despite two whole cups of sugar!) all combine to make a winner. Add to that the fact that it does not require a huge financial layout for ingredients, and I’m voting this number one on my list of awesome but unassuming desserts!

There ain’t much left…!

Espresso chocolate cake

Serves 12
Prep and cook time: 1 hour 30 min (+cooling time)

250g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups (375ml) strong coffee
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
1 ½ cups (225g) SR flour
¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (I substituted Brandy essence)

Chocolate Icing
100g dark chocolate, chopped finely
½ cup (125ml) cream 

Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C fan-forced). Grease a deep 25cm round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper.

Combine butter, chocolate and coffee in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the combined sifted flour and cocoa, then add the eggs and liqueur until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until the surface of the cake is firm. Cook cake in the pan.

CHOCOLATE ICING: combine the chocolate and cream in a small heavy-based saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Allow the icing to cool until it is the consistency of thick cream.

Turn cake out of pan. Drizzle icing over cake.

Published by the Women’s Weekly, August 2011.

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