Recipe for an easy to make all-in-one chocolate cake

It only takes a few minutes to make up the batter, and washing-up is minimal

Photograph: Harry Weir

Photograph: Harry Weir

 

If you want to bake a weekend treat without a trip to the shops, here is an easy chocolate cake that you can whip up in a jiffy.

The all-in-one method for making cakes is perfectly simple, and it only takes a few minutes to make up the batter. Just one bowl is used, which means less washing-up. Perhaps that is why all-in-one cakes are so appealing to busy souls.

My ever-nurturing grandma often had a chocolate cake ready when we came home from school. Not one for faffing, it was always made with ingredients found in her store cupboard, and only ever using cocoa powder.

Substituting chocolate with cocoa powder saved on the expense of buying bars of chocolate and having to melt chocolate in a separate bowl – remember, less washing-up.

This easy chocolate cake was her staple and now my kids love it too. For a last-minute birthday cake it can be dressed up by decorating it with lots more fresh raspberries over the top. Or fold raspberries through the batter if you are going to eat the cake on the same day it is made.

While less light and fluffy than cakes made by first creaming together butter and sugar, the dry crumbly texture and thick layer of chocolate buttercream make it a delicious tea time treat that slices neatly.

The main tip for the all-in-one method is to keep the ingredients at room temperature before you start baking. Ensure your butter is softened to the consistency of margarine before you combine it with all the other ingredients (otherwise you will end up with flecks of butter).

Margarine can also be used to make this cake and will impart a lighter consistency. Sift the flour and don’t be overzealous with the beating – stop as soon as the mixture is smooth and fully blended. A good pinch of salt enhances the chocolate notes while balancing out the sweetness of the cake.

Easy chocolate cake

Ingredients
For the cake
200g softened butter (or margarine)
200g self-raising flour, sifted
60g good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
150g caster sugar
A good pinch salt
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1tbs milk, if needed

For the frosted icing
150g softened butter
250g icing sugar, sifted
1-2tbs cocoa powder

To garnish
fresh raspberries

Method
1
 Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan).

2 Using an electric mixer, place all ingredients for the cake (softened butter, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and eggs) into a large mixing bowl and beat well until smooth and fully combined (avoid over-mixing the batter to keep it as light as possible), add in some milk to loosen the mixture if it is very stiff.

Spoon the batter into the lined loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (avoid over-baking). Cover the top with a clean, lightly damp cloth for a softer crust, and leave to cool fully in the tin.

4 To make the icing, beat the butter with an electric beater until creamy, add the cocoa powder, followed by the icing sugar a third at a time and continue to beat to a spreadable consistency.

5 Once the cake is fully cooled, spread the frosted icing on top. Dust the top with a little extra cocoa powder and decorate with fresh raspberries.

Variation
You can also bake this in a round, square or pair of sandwich tins with adjusted baking times. Slice the cake in half lengthways and fill with buttercream and fresh berries. Add a contrasting flavour to your cake frosting by substituting cocoa powder with a fruit-flavoured buttercream.

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