This extremely reliable BBC Food recipe makes a virtually fool proof emergency chocolate cake recipe (emergency in that it is not only very quick to make, but requires no actual chocolate, only cocoa.
I’ve used it for birthday cakes, children’s cakes and in this case some rather haphazard little cupcakes. It might not be the most sophisticated of dense chocolate cakes, but it certainly works a treat.
Emergency chocolate cake
For the cake
225g plain flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
125ml vegetable oil (light olive oil works fine)
250ml boiling water
For the chocolate icing
200g plain chocolate
200ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins or one 23cm tin.
For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins (if using two, or just one tin otherwise) and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake(s) from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tin(s), before icing.
For the chocolate icing, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.
To assemble the cake, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the cake tin(s) to loosen the cake(s). Carefully remove the cake(s) from the tins.
If using two cakes, spread a little chocolate icing over the top of one of the chocolate cakes, then carefully top with the other cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing, using a palette knife. If just using one cake, simply ice it as it is. Decorate as you wish.