Chocolate Cake from Guadeloupe


I had many lovely cakes in Guadeloupe - one on a chocolate plantation, which you could tell was made with cocoa butter & the chocolate logs for grating that you find there. There were also several other inspiring, tall chocolate cakes ready-cut into pieces for buying to eat on the beach or take home. This one is a beautifully rich & dense cake. I love that it has just a thin jacket of icing. If you like a thicker coat – then you can make more.

250g(9oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g(2¼ cups) self-raising flour
100g(1 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
300g(1½ cups) sugar
300ml(1¼ cups) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
125 ml(½ cup) cream
3 eggs

60g(2¼oz) dark unsweetened chocolate
50g(2oz) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
40g(1½ oz) icing sugar
1 tablespoon hot water from the kettle
3 heaped tablespoons fine shredded dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 160'C (325'F). Grease a 26cm (10inch) springform tin with a little of the butter. Sprinkle in some flour & swirl the tin around to lightly coat the base & sides.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar & add the butter, milk & vanilla. Using electric beaters, mix everything together on a low speed until nicely blended. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, then add the cream, mixing to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin & bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating once, until the centre is set & a skewer comes out slightly damp still from the middle (don't overcook it - this cake should have a lovely moist texture). Set aside in the tin to cool completely, then remove from the tin.

For the icing, put the chocolate, butter & vanilla in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bowl isn't touching the water) & stir until melted with a wooden spoon. Remove the bowl from the pan, then sift in the icing sugar & stir in the water. It will seem a bit thin, but will thicken as it cools. When the icing has thickened enough, use a metal spatula to scrape out every drop & spread over the top & sides of the cake. Scatter over the coconut.
This cake keeps well for a few days.