The myth of the self-saucing chocolate cake continues…

My friend from high school, Claire, was staying this weekend with her family, and it’s tradition that we make her her favourite pud. And it was so very very good; better than we remembered!

The self-saucing chocolate cake comes from the Back to Basics cookbook. The book was An emergency purchase when we moved house 15 years ago; all the cookbooks were packed, and Mum didn’t have a scone recipe! It’s a good cookbook, with basic recipes – take a butter cake – and shows you how to adapt them to be something more complicated and delicious.

Basic Chocolate Butter Cake
125g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
185g caster sugar
2 eggs
60g chocolate*, melted
170g plain flour, sifted
15g cocoa, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125ml milk

Self-saucing additions
2 tbsp cocoa powder
90g brown sugar
375ml boiling water

Butter cake
Cream the butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually.

Beat in eggs one at a time. Add melted chocolate.

Combine flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold in alternately with milk. (At this stage you could bake the cake!)

Self-saucing cake
Spoon mixture into a greased 2L ovenproof dish. Sift cocoa powder and sugar over mixture. Pour water evenly over top.

Bake at 180 degrees Centigrade for 40 minutes or until pudding is firm. The bottom half should look uncooked – its meant to! Don’t chicken out and cook it for too long or it’ll turn into a cake with no sauce.

Stand for 10 minutes before serving.

* I prefer milk, but plain makes a richer flavour.

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