Thursday, 3 April 2014

How to make a lush cake when you can't bake!

To my readers who are good cooks or excellent bakers, feel free to completely ignore this post, I'm not trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs; this is for the lazy and incompetent bakers like myself!

I'm starting my whole recipes posting with a mega cheat! This is for those of you who want to be able to make yummy cakes, but have no luck with baking (or no time for measurements).... just to clarify, I can bake if I put my mind to it, but I'm much more of a savoury cook, and (with the exception of banana bread) much of my cake making has been disappointing. Sometimes this is because I hate following scientific methods when it comes to cooking (I like to be much more slapdash!) and have messed up the measurements, but on occasion it's because I've followed a recipe to the letter and I don't like the end results (don't even ask about the chocolate mouse made with avocado!).  Frankly there is little in life that makes me sadder than preparing and cooking for hours and not liking what I've made! That is what happened when I made the Nigella Lawson chocolate Guinness cake. The cake itself was okay, but as it turns out, I don't really like frosting made with cream cheese unless it's on a vegetable cake (carrot / courgette / beetroot, that kind of thing), so I didn't really enjoy it!

I'm now going to admit something that may be shameful in the eyes of anyone who bakes.... I love betty crocker. Specifically I love her Devils Food cake mix and her chocolate fudge frosting, but also, for pure sugary filth, devils food cake with VANILLA frosting! It's baking for non-bakers, but the results are yummy and big and taste pretty much like chocolate fudge cakes you get in restaurants and from supermarkets, but considerably better than the frozen devils food cakes that taste like cocoa powder. I figured that I could adapt the mix to create my perfect chocolate cake!

It's so easy that it's truly shameful!

First up I put the oven on to pre-heat, then I grease my two 9 inch cake tins with sunflower or vegetable oil and put a bit of grease proof paper in each (I just tear off a little bit, I don't bother to fill the tin because these come out really easily!).
Put the cake mix into a big bowl. and get your whisk ready (electric whisk is best, but I normally use a hand whisk!)

Add the 3 eggs as instructed on the pack, along with  a big slosh of oil (I always add a bit more than the pack suggests, because I like the sponge to be extremely moist!) now I go off piste. I always add a pinch of salt because I think it balances out the sugaryness, but that's up to you of course!
For the Guinness version I add half a can of Guinness (which is around 220mls) instead of the water, and that is pretty much the ideal consistency! Half of the mix goes in each tin, into the oven, same shelf if you have room at about 180 (you'll know your oven better than me, just use the instructions on the packet!) and cook for 15 minutes. I always check the sponge at this point because I can't stand over cooked chocolate cake.... normally they take under 20 minutes and then the knife in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Leave the cakes to cool, make sure the icing is at room temperature and then SMOTHER the cakes in it! I always try to put 1/2 between the cakes then 1/2 to cover the top and sides. 
That's it, so easy it's laughable, but anyone who eats it (anyone with a sweet tooth anyway!) will think you're a genius!
This went down so well that I made another as soon as this first one was finished (I did have the other half of Guinness in the fridge to use up after all!), it's gooey joy! FYI, this is just as good (and easier to make) if you use a large, deep baking tray and put the whole mixture in at once. Icing on top and cut into squares like brownies... much less fiddly, tastes just as good!

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