Nigella Lawson is on crack. This took me two bowls, not counting my
food processor and my blender, and the three tiny cake pans I baked it
in. She says about it:
A cake takes scarcely five minutes to mix, you do nothing to it
while it bakes and then you have a glorious creation in your
kitchen, bestowing welcome all weekend.
Those who remain unconvinced should start off with the all-in-one
chocolate cake below. There is nothing to get alarmed about: you
just plonk flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter,
eggs, vanilla and sour cream into a food processor, blitz for a
few minutes, pour the ensuing Aztec-earth-colored batter into two
greased pans and bake.
The hardest thing you have to do to make the frosting is sieve the
confectioners' sugar, my most hated job in the kitchen. Melting
the chocolate for it is a cinch if you have a microwave; otherwise
just chop it fine, and put it in a bowl that can be balanced on
top of a pan of simmering water. This is the perfect chocolate
cake: beautiful, melting, intense but not heavy.
-- NYTimes, 18 Feb 2004
Well, she's on crack. Three bowls if you try to do it her way;
probably just one if you do it the normal way and mix by hand (or by
coveted KitchenAid). Nigella, stop fucking around and just put the
necessary effort into your cake -- it will be better, and less messy.
Also, as for that "Aztec-earch-colored batter" -- dude, the woman has
clearly never worked with chocolate before. I mean, yeah, it's great,
but I think you're only allowed to rhapsodize like that if you're a
neophyte in the kitchen -- which she's clearly not, if she's got a
food column for the Times!
I haven't actually tried the frosting, but the cake is pretty good.
Your basic chocolate.
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
For the cake:
- Butter for greasing baking pans
- 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 C sugar
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/3 C best-quality cocoa powder
- 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/8 C sour cream, at room temperature
For the frosting:
- 6 oz good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 3 oz (3/8 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 T light corn syrup
- 1/2 C sour cream
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 1/2 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
For cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter sides of two 8-inch
cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper. In the bowl of a
food processor fitted with a knife blade, combine flour, sugar, baking
powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour
cream. Process to make a smooth, thick batter.
Using a rubber spatula, divide batter between pans, and smooth
tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25
to 35 minutes; do not overbake. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10
minutes before removing from cake pans.
For frosting: Combine chocolate and butter in a large
heat-proof bowl, and heat until melted in a microwave oven or over a
pan of simmering water. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5
minutes. Stir in corn syrup, sour cream, and vanilla. Whisk in
confectioners' sugar until very smooth. Frosting should be thick and
spreadable. If necessary, add a teaspoon or two of boiling water to
thin it, or additional sifted confectioners' sugar to thicken.
Cut four strips of waxed or parchment paper, and place them side by
side on a cake plate, covering the surface. Place one cake layer
domed-side down on plate.
Spoon about a third of the frosting onto center of cake, and use a
knife or a spatula to spread it evenly. Place the other cake on top,
domed side up. Spoon another third of frosting on top of cake,
spreading to make swirls or a smooth finish. Spread sides of cake with
remaining frosting, and allow to sit for a few minutes until set.
Carefully remove paper strips. Place cake under glass or in an
airtight container, and set aside in a cool place until serving.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.