This chocolate sponge cake is easy to make and looks stunning! After baking you can leave the cake plain or add a simple melted chocolate topping – choose your favourite chocolate - white, milk or dark.
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Put the soft butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a food mixer. Beat thoroughly with an electric whisk, mixer or a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes very pale in colour and light in texture.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then gradually beat in the egg mixture, beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of the weighed flour with each of the last two additions of egg.
4. Sift the flour onto the mixture and gently fold into the mixture using a large metal spoon. Spoon half of the mixture into another bowl and set aside. Sift the cocoa into the remaining portion of cake mixture, add the milk and whisk or beat again until just combined.
5. Put alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures into the prepared tin until both bowls are empty. Bang the tin on the work surface to knock out any air pockets, then use the handle of a teaspoon or a chopstick to swirl the two mixtures together.
6. Bake in the heated oven for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
7. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake then gently turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
To make the topping:
1. Chop or break up the chocolate then put into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of steaming hot water and leave to melt gently – white chocolate melts at a very low temperature so watch it carefully and be ready to remove the bowl from the pan of water.
2. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the butter. Leave until thickened and almost set, then spread over the cake.
3. Sprinkle over extra chocolate in a contrasting colour – you can either grate it or use a vegetable peeler to make thin shards of chocolate.
4. Leave until firm before cutting. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
Makes one large loaf cake – cuts into 12
Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 1 hour
For the cake:
225g unsalted butter, very soft
225g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, beaten to mix
225g Marriage’s Finest Self Raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
For the topping (optional):
100g chocolate – white, milk or dark
25g unsalted butter, soft
Extra chocolate for sprinkling
1 large loaf tin, 900g, (about 26 x 13 x 7cm/10 1 ¼ x 5 ½ x3 inch) greased and base-lined