Friday, April 03, 2020


There is something almost comforting in a slice of a simple homemade chocolate cake. The humbleness of its ingredients, the simplicity of preparation, the sense of normalcy, of having a piece along a glass of cold milk, sincerely enjoying each bite. It is these modest cakes that are the midweek dessert staple, quickly prepared for after lunch, a treat that brings both sweetness and nostalgia.
I love how moist and flavourful this chocolate cake is, especially soaked with chocolate syrup. It is so very soft, almost melts away on each bite, and pairs perfectly with milk, tea, and coffee. Made with only a handful of ingredients that are probably already in the cupboards of many, it is both delicious and hearty. If you like, you can serve it with whipped cream, perhaps with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or simply plain; its charm is exactly in its simplicity.

For the cake
250 grams plain flour
150 grams granulated sugar
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
200 ml fresh orange juice
50 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the chocolate syrup
75 ml cold water
50 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Start by making the chocolate syrup, because it needs to cool down. Pour the water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the sugar and the cocoa powder, and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook for exactly one minute, then remove from the heat. Let the syrup cool down before using. Sift the flour into a large bowl, tip in the sugar, and sift the cocoa powder, instant coffee, and the baking soda over it. Briefly whisk them together, and set aside.
Take a medium bowl, pour in the orange juice, vegetable oil, and vanilla, and whisk really well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and whisk until incorporated. Take a medium pan (20x30 cm), line in with baking parchment, pour in the batter, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-20 minutes. Check it for doneness with a toothpick, making sure it is not overbaked. Carefully pour the syrup over the baked cake, shake the pan gently, and let it cool down completely. Serve with some whipped cream, or just plain with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Yields 9 generous servings.