So I say spiced, and don’t get me wrong, it is, but I did have a basic bitch moment when I developed this recipe.
I wanted to come up with a new cake for Christmas, and there’s something about warmly spiced chocolate that sings of the season for me. I did a Spiced Chocolate Pudding in my Christmas book Get Stuffed and wanted a cakey elaboration on this.
I partnered together some strong, warm spices in the hope that I could come up with a blend that would satisfy all of my seasonal desires, and I was so delighted and pleased with myself when I achieved the combination after a few attempts of trying. I was buzzing.
And then one day in a supermarket I looked at the back of a tub of seasoning plainly labelled ‘Pumpkin Spice’ and realised I had made the exact same blend.
So basically, I just made Pumpkin Spice. Like the basic bitch that I am.
So this is technically a Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Cake, but we won’t call it that now, will we? Because if I don’t have denial, I don’t have anything.
My spice blend is brought together in a dense, rich, fudgy chocolate cake that I top with sweet, whipped double cream and blackberries to add an incredibly sharp yet fruit twist to what is otherwise, a pumpkin spiced cake. I’m still refusing to title it that though.
I haven’t so much ‘iced’ this cake as I have whipped some double cream and icing sugar and then topped with some blackberries… which is kind of not an icing at all… however if you did want an icing, I have a wonderful buttercream icing on my Party Cake in my book Kitchen Instinct that would go amazing with this cake, including the blackberries on top.
And don’t feel confined to just blackberries. This would work quite lovely with some raspberries or even some sliced figs dusted with a little icing sugar. There’s something about the sharp, fresh, sweetness of the fruit on top of this cake that punches through the warm, dark, deep richness of the chocolate and spice combination.
Yields 10 – 12 slices
250g unsalted butter
50g vegetable oil
200g caster sugar
150g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp all spice
A grating of fresh nutmeg
¼ tsp bicarb soda
170g plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
For the icing
300ml double cream
3 tsb icing sugar + more for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease/line a 23cm springform tin.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and caster sugar. I like to do this with a handheld electric whisk, and I take my time doing it, I’d say about 10 minutes with an electric whisk, but you could do it with a wooden spoon – but do it for as long as your arm is willing to hold out – this is what gives the cake it’s fabulous airiness.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, and bicarb with a small pinch of salt and fork together to mix.
- In a jug or small bowl, measure out the yogurt and then add the eggs and vanilla to it. Using a fork, beat together this mix until thoroughly combined.
- Slowly and carefully, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter, folding the dry ingredients in as you go.
- When the dry ingredients have been thoroughly folded into the butter mix, pour in the yogurt mix and stir in gently but firmly until you have a thick, glossy, chocolate batter.
- Empty this into the prepared tin. The batter will be thick, so you will need to use the back of a spoon to coax it to the edges of the tin, and then to flatten the top as best as you can. Don’t lose your mind over it though.
- Put the tin in the oven for 50 – 55 minutes when the top is risen with a slight crack on it and a skewer can be inserted into the middle of the cake and come out clean (maybe with one or two just slightly damp crumbs clinging to it).
- Keep the cake in it’s tin until it has cooled before carefully removing and leaving to stand on a wire rack to cool even further.
- While it cools, making your ‘icing’ by combining the cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Using an electric hand mixer again (or an enthusiastic forearm and a whisk) beat the cream until it is thick enough to hold it’s shape and can create small mountain peaks when you lift your whisk out of the bowl.
- When the cake has cooled, tip the cream generously but evenly on the surface of the cake, and use the back of a spoon to coax it to the edges.
- Tumble the blackberries on top of the cake, I don’t really go in for much decoration or formality there, I just dump them on top and then using a sieve, dust some icing sugar over the fruit. To be honest, you don’t even have to decorate the cake – you could just slice it as it is and serve the cream and fruit on the side, but I like to go down the decoration route just because.