There’s a lot to thank Sweden for, and I am now adding this fantastic cake to the list.
When I was in the last morbid few days of my tasteless bout of covid, I kept craving the dense richness of chocolate cake, knowing that it was something I could not truly appreciate or savour until my taste had fully restored itself. But there’s often something about a chocolate cake that usually falls short of my expectations. I can’t always quite put my finger on it, but I always find that the rich chocolatey-ness of a chocolate sponge cake is muted, trying to battle its way through the thick sponge, and all you get is a flavour of its cocoa essence, rather than the full intensity of its presence.
The only bake that loopholes this is a brownie, which I always think does a phenomenal job of delivering on the head-clouding chocolate experience, but sometimes can just be a little too cloying. I wanted a chocolate cake that delivered the thick flavour wall of a brownie, but in a softer cake experience.
When I research the kind of chocolate cake I wanted – something gooey and oozing but still with enough cake integrity to keep its sponginess – I happened across this recipe and knew it was the light to guide me home.
I have to explain though that it will feel strange because on face value it may delude you into thinking it’s underbaked. But similar to the texture of a very good brownie, it has a sticky belly that is just drippy enough to feel as though you have a self-saucing pudding, but enough structure to hold its shape as a proud cake.
Now I did go just ever so slightly rogue by adding some coffee into the mix, not out of any disrespect to the Swedish (as I said, I am very grateful, as are my tastebuds) but I was trying to reignite my taste, and there’s something about the smoky sweet char of coffee that just pairs so wonderfully with the rich saltiness of cocoa powder. Omit if you want to feel closer to the authentic beginnings of this recipe.
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
4 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp fine instant coffee
Icing sugar (to serve)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease/line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and using an electric whisk (or a normal whisk and an energetic forearm) whisk until the eggs are fluffy and foamy.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and run the whisk motor again, continuing to whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Put the butter in a small bowl and zap in the microwave just for a few seconds until melted. Pour the melted butter into the bowl and whisk again.
- Now put a sieve over the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, and coffee and stir through.
- Using a spoon, fold the contents of the bowl together gently until everything is combined to a thick, chocolatey batter.
- Empty the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Don’t bother putting a cake tester in the middle of the cake because it will be gooey and running – which is exactly what you want.
- Let rest and cool completely before removing carefully from the tin and sieving over some icing sugar before slicing and serving. It will be very runny, very gungy, and very everything you’d want from something called a ‘Sticky Cake’.