Chocolate Cake

October 26, 2009

This is the essential, easy chocolate cake recipe from Mary Berry. You can fill the cakes with apricot jam and whipped cream, or sprinkle with icing sugar and serve if you’re in a hurry!

You will need 2 spring-form base 20cm/8in sandwich tins, 4cm deep.

Ingredients:

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
220g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease the tins and line the bases with non-stick baking parchment.

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat with electic mixer for approximately 2 minutes.

Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins and level so the surface is smooth.

Bake for about 25 minutes until well risen and the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, run a knife around the edge to free the sides and turn out onto a wire rack. Peel of the paper and leave to cool completely.

Serve with desired filling or icing.

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This pesto/puree is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Asparagus puree from  Super Natural Cooking. See ‘Asparagus pesto’ recipe.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 cups peas (frozen or fresh)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 cup roasted walnuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Maldon sea salt, to taste

250g dried spinach fettuccine
250g dried egg fettuccine

Asparagus, pea and walnut pesto
Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt. Add the asparagus and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spears and peas are bright green and just tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor.

Add the garlic, Parmesan and 3/4 cup of the walnuts. Puree and add the olive oil whilst the motor is running. You should have a smooth paste the consistency of pesto. Add more oil if necessary.  Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain and toss immediately with asparagus and pea pesto. Drizzle with olive oil and serve sprinkled with the remaining toasted walnuts and Parmesan.

This pesto/puree is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, a book that’s been recommended and I’ve finally read and made many of Heidi’s recipes. If you’re not keen on garlic you can reduce or exclude. The pesto can easily be varied to include different vegetables, herbs and nuts. See ‘Asparagus, pea and walnut pesto‘ recipe.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach
2 cloves garlic
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 cup roasted pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Maldon sea salt, to taste

250g dried spinach fettuccine
250g dried egg fettuccine

Asparagus pesto
Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt. Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and just tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor.

Add the spinach, garlic, Parmesan and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts. Puree and add the olive oil whilst the motor is running. You should have a smooth paste the consistency of pesto. Add more oil if necessary.  Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain and toss immediately with asparagus pesto. Drizzle with olive oil and serve sprinkled with the remaining toasted pine nuts and Parmesan.