Possibly the best chocolate cake recipe in the world, all the more wonderful because it’s non-fussy to make and animal produce free. Indulgently rich and fudgey, satisfyingly dark, and with a hint of mouthwatering orange.
- 180g plain flour
- 30g cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 200g agave/rice syrup (honey if not vegan)
- 1 large orange
- 60g sunflower oil
- 100g dark chocolate (I use Montezumas orange and geranium dark chocolate when I can, but any 70% cocoa solids bar or over will do well here)
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the baking powder, a pinch of salt, and the zest from the orange. In a separate bowl, juice the orange and mix well with the syrup and oil. Pour it onto the flour and cocoa powder mix and lightly whisk it together.
Next, melt the chocolate. To do this, break the bar into smaller chunks and place them inside a pyrex jug or bowl. Place the jug inside a large saucepan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan around it, creating a bain-marie for your chocolate to melt in. Make sure the water doesn’t get into the jug itself or more likely than not your chocolate will seize.
Once melted, stir the oozy chocolate into the mix with everything else. Scrape the mixture into a cake tin (no need to grease, the oil will do that job for you) and bake at 180C (Fan 160C) / Gas mark 6, for 30-40 minutes, till firm to the touch.
Enjoy this cake topped with fruit (raspberries and pears are particularly great with it), a few nuts, yoghurt and cream, or simply as it is with a large cup of tea.
This recipe is adapted from The Star Anise Cafe Cook Book, reprinted here with kind permission from Nicholas Allan.