The doily cake

A few weeks ago, I had a real craving for a chocolate cake. A chocolate Victoria sponge cake, to be exact. One with a lovely deep chocolate flavour and delicious creamy filling. Once again, Mary Berry came to the rescue. Her Baking Bible has helped me out many a time – it has a whole chapter dedicated to chocolate cakes, for goodness’ sake! If you don’t already have it, I would heartily recommend making it a permanent fixture on your kitchen shelves. My copy has many a dogeared and lemon-stained page, and I love it all the more for that.

Anyway, enough about Mary. Let’s get to the CAKE. I followed the recipe for Mary’s Very Best Chocolate Fudge Cake (p.105), at the beginning of which Mary claims that it “will become your favourite chocolate cake recipe – it is the best!” A grand claim, perhaps, but if the reactions of my knitting buddies were anything to go by, Mary is right. She says it has a grown-up chocolate flavour, and that’s true, but more than that, it was light, crumbly and incredibly moist. We polished it off within two days.

Instead of Mary’s fudge filling, I used the Hummingbird Bakery’s chocolate frosting for the middle of the cake. I left the top naked, but for a lovely doily decoration. I’ve tried this before on icing, and as the icing melts and wobbles about slightly the pretty pattern tends to move about, spoiling it a little. But on plain cake, it looks GREAT. Simply cover your cake with a doily and shake icing sugar over the top, making sure to get it as even as possible. Then remove very carefully…and your doily cake is done! I loved the effect of the white sugar on brown cake, it looked so pretty! My final cake reminded me of a giant Oreo, which could never be a bad thing. Except if you’re not into chocolate, in which case you can get the heck outta my kitchen.

Chocolate doily cake

50g (2oz) sifted cocoa powder
6 tbsps boiling water
3 eggs
50ml (2fl oz) milk
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
100g (4oz) softened butter
275g (10oz) caster sugar

For the filling:
150g (5oz) sifted icing sugar
100g (3.5oz) softened butter
40g (1.5oz) sifted cocoa powder
1 tbsp whole milk

– Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm (8inch) sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.

– Blend the cocoa and boiling water in a large bowl then add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until the mixture has become a smooth, thickish batter. Divide the cake mix equally between the prepared tins and level the surfaces.

– Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

– To make the icing, beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixture down to slow speed. Add the milk to the butter mixture and turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

– Spread the frosting on top of one of the cakes and sandwich them together. Then do your doily thing, admire, and EAT!

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