nigella’s dark and sumptuous chocolate cake

This is the second cake I made for Rock’s birthday and the one he specifically requested.  Rock’s had it on his brain ever since we saw Nigella Lawson make it on an episode of her television show, Simply Nigella.  It probably has something do with how she describes it as a ‘cake and frosting of such depth and fudginess’ that it ‘confounds’ and ‘delights’ her.  This cake is actually a vegan cake, though you honestly would never know it, and it really was sooooo good.  It really is dark and fudgy and sumptuous. I don’t think I’ve ever described anything as sumptuous before but this cake totally is that.  I think this may be Rock’s favourite chocolate cake now.  Just a note, the cake is supposed to have pistachios and rose petals scattered over top, which indeed looks amazing, but I skipped this step.

frosting:  1/4 cup cold water  /  5 tbsp coconut butter (or regular unsalted dairy butter which is what I used so my cake wasn’t actually vegan but that’s OK since we’re not vegan!)  /  1/4 cup brown sugar  /  1 and 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder  /  1 and 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder  /  6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I couldn’t find any so I subbed with semi-sweet chocolate), chopped up

cake:  1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  /  1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda  /  1/2 tsp fine sea salt  /  1 and 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder  /  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  /  1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar  /  1 and 1/2 cups boiling hot water  /  6 tbsp coconut oil  /  1 and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar  /  1 tbsp edible rose petals (optional)  /  1 tbsp chopped pistachios (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350F and line the bottom of a round springform cake pan with parchment paper.  The recipe calls for a 8 inch pan but I only have 9 inch ones and it worked just fine.  First is the frosting so that it has time to cool down before you frost your cake.  Put all of the ingredients for the frosting except for the chocolate into a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the chopped up chocolate, letting the chocolate melt down.  Give it a bit of a whisk and then set the frosting aside to cool.  You can give it a little stir every now and again while you work on the cake.


Now onto the cake!  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, instant espresso and cocoa powder.  In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, water, vinegar and coconut oil until the coconut oil has completely melted.  Stir the wet mixture into the dry until everything is combined and then pour into your cake pan.


Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or when the cake is pulling away from the edges of the pan and an uncooked spaghetti noodle comes out of the centre pretty much dry.  Let the cake cool in its pan on a wire cooling rack and once it’s done cooling, you can frost it.


Take the cake out of the pan and pour the frosting over the cake, using a spatula to spread it evenly to the sides.  If you want, sprinkle with the pistachios and rose petals or just leave it be.  Let the frosted cake stand for at least 30 minutes so that the frosting can set before serving.


The cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  Ours was unsurprisingly all polished off in 1 day.


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