If you want to make a cake for a party or a special occasion and you need to prepare it in advance, then this recipe is the one for you. I believe this cake is better the following day and even tastier on day three. The cake contains oil, which helps to keep it moist, hence it keeps well.
Another really good reason why I love this recipe is that it requires very little effort to make. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and bake. It really is as simple as that! This means you can then put a bit more effort into the decoration, if you like.
I have used blackberry jam and fresh blackberries for the decoration, but the flavour of jam and the fruit you use are entirely your choice (choose fruits in season if you can, for a lovely seasonal touch). Raspberry, strawberry or apricot jam will all work well, but if the season for these fruits has passed, then either you don’t have to use the fruit or simply use what fruit is available. Canned (drained) fruits (like cherries, apricot halves or peach slices) are an alternative option, or you could simply decorate the cake with shavings of dark chocolate, if you prefer.
Ingredients & Method
For the chocolate cake
- 340g self-raising flour
- 525g caster sugar
- 75g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 100g dark chocolate (72% cocoa solids), melted
- 180ml sunflower oil
- 3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 375ml just-boiled water
For the buttercream and filling
- 340g unsalted butter, softened
- 300g icing sugar
- 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 150g good-quality thick blackberry jam
- 120g fresh blackberries (optional)
First make the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two deep 20cm springform cake tins. Set aside.
Put the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Stir in the melted chocolate, oil and eggs and then finally add the hot water, mixing quickly. Do not overwork the mixture. The cake mixture is very loose/runny, but don’t worry as this is correct and the result is a lovely moist cake with a very fine crumb once it is baked.
Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins, levelling the surface. Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes or until cooked and well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out the cakes on to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, place the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, then sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder over the butter. Cream together using the balloon whisk attachment until lighter in colour and fluffy and creamy in texture.
To assemble the cake, carefully cut each chocolate cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers of cake. Spread a good helping of blackberry jam on one side of one cake layer. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream on top, then place a second layer of cake on top. Spread this with jam and thinly spread with buttercream as before, then repeat this one more time with a third layer of cake. Top with the final (fourth) layer of cake.
Cover the entire cake with most of the remaining buttercream, spreading it evenly all over. Spoon the rest of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and then cover the top of the cake with small buttercream kisses. Decorate the cake with fresh blackberries, if you like. Serve.
This cake will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge a little while before serving to bring the cake back to room temperature.
The cake mixture is also ideal for making cupcakes. It’s quite a lively and very runny mixture, so be careful because if you fill cupcake cases too full the mixture will rise over the top during baking. For cupcakes, fill the cupcake cases about three-quarters full and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (they do take quite a while to cook). Once cooked, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating. The cake mixture makes about 16–18 cupcakes.