Both the cake and the icing are from Nigella Lawson’s Feast and Domestic Goddess respectively, but after lots of practice (yes, I eat a lot of cake) I have adapted the quantities and ingredients into a hybrid of my own.
For the cake
150ml of milk
1 big tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of real vanilla extract
175g of sugar
175g plain flour
3 tablespoons of cocoa
3 teaspoons of baking powder
For the icing
250g of icing sugar
100g of dark chocolate
Teaspoon of brandy
Teaspoon of vanilla extract
40g of butter
Sweets to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line either a heart shaped cake tin/silicon mould or a 23cm cake tin.
Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts. Add the vanilla.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and very frothy, easiest with a hand held electric whisk. Mix the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Next pour the milk and butter into the cake mixture and then slowly fold in the flour. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. You can tell it’s cooked because the mixture will have come away from the sides of the tin. It doesn’t look very pretty yet:
Leave it to go cold before removing it from the tin or mould. If you have used a round tin, draw a heart shape on baking parchment, cut out and pin onto the cake. With a sharp knife cut out the heart shape.
To make the icing melt the butter and chocolate over a very low eat until melted. Pour onto the icing sugar and add the brandy and vanilla and then the egg. Beat with an electric whisk until smooth. Leave for about ten minutes to harden slightly and then spoon onto the cake. Use a knife dipped in boiling water to get a smooth finish and spread onto the sides too. Whilst still wet, decorate the cake with whatever appeals.
See the finished cake in A Homemade Valentines post.