As January, traditionally a month of austerity, draws to a close, there’s a treat in store for anyone who is on their last nerve with kombucha, skinny lattes and cross trainers.
Today is International Chocolate Cake Day!
For a potted history of chocolate itself, have a little peek here, but chocolate cake – ie cake containing cocoa - first came about in the late 1800s. An American book called The Hostess of To-Day (1899) by Linda Larned detailed a recipe named Chocolate Cake, the results of which bore very little resemblance to the vast, dark confections that we indulge in today. Originally chocolate cakes only contained a fraction of the sugar and cocoa and a good deal more flour than we might use today. This meant that early chocolate cake was more like a fluffy bread.
By the mid twentieth century the hunger for chocolate cake was beginning to take hold in the US and as we know, it doesn’t take long for what happens there to start happening across the pond.
Cakes began to contain ever more cocoa and sugar. They were richer, sweeter, bigger and with more elaborate designs.
Today, the British cake market is worth some £1.2 billion a year. We still can’t get enough.
One of our all-time favourite recipes is Nigella’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. As you can imagine, it is rich, full of flavour and incredibly moreish – while being simple and elegant to behold. We remember the recipe instructions from inside her Domestic Goddess book: “Serves 10, or one with a broken heart”, which is exactly what a blooming marvellous chocolate cake should do.
For something completely show stopping, we recommend checking out Ren Behan’s baking recipes. She has a wealth of cake ideas – including an incredible looking Rolo cake, but it is her Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake – affectionately known as the Big Daddy – that makes us swoon.
If you want something less fussy but no less tasty, look no further than Skye Gyngell’s Rich Chocolate Cake – which is served without icing and is perfectly delectable.
And if you need to whip up a treat for any clean eaters in your life you can’t do better than this utter beauty by the Detox Kitchen team, which is gluten free and features avocado, cacao powder and dates in its rostra of healthy ingredients.
Remember to have some fresh cream or good quality vanilla ice cream at home when there’s a chocolate cake in the house. For many, it’s an essential extra.