|A historic example from my Flickr|
This has become a bit of a family standard and I have never yet found the same recipe online - they're all slightly different. The cake is lovely and dense from the soured milk and intensely chocolatey because of the chocolate and cocoa powder. It's from a St Michael (as in M&S) book called something like "Chocolate", making it pretty difficult to Google.
This recipe can definitely take some abuse - we always had Flora at home and never real butter, we weren't big fans of sieving, and we would have used the microwave to melt chocolate. I don't recall if we ever made the praline (I doubt it), certainly I don't remember bothering to split the cake often, let alone to three layers! The icing I think we must have made at some point but since I learnt that ganache is super easy I usually smother it in that instead - a one-to-one weight ratio of dark chocolate to cream - though the less said about my adventures with white chocolate ganache, the better.
The quantity conversion is a bit suspect, everything's rounded to the nearest whole ounce or 25g. I've made this most successfully in grams so I'm inclined to stick with them, though I'm sure we must have followed the Imperial measures at home as that's Mum's habit.
250ml / 8floz milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
125g/4oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
125g/4oz unsalted butter or margarine
250g/8oz caster sugar
300g/10oz self-raising flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tbsp cocoa powder
150ml / 1/4 pint double cream
1 quantity almond praline (from elsewhere in book - this might be a good substitute)
250g/8oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
125g/4oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz icing sugar
5 tbsp milk
- Grease and line a 20cm/8" round cake tin. Mix together the milk and lemon juice. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and leave over a saucepan of gently simmering water until it has melted.
- Beat together the butter and sugar to soften, in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat in. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and cocoa powder into the bowl and mix well.
- Add half the soured milk and beat well. Stir in the melted chocolate and remaining milk and beat until smooth. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake in a preheated oven, 160c (325F), Gas Mark 3 for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until well risen and a skewer, inserted into the centre, comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
- Split the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Lightly whip the cream and stir in the praline. Use to sandwich the layers of cake together. Place on a serving plate.
- Make the icing. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the butter and leave over a saucepan of simmering water until melted. Stir once. Remove from the heat.
- Add the icing sugar and milk, and beat until smooth. Leave the icing until cool enough to hold its shape.
- Using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter with chocolate curls and serve dusted with icing sugar.
Prep: 45 min + cooling
Cook: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours
Oven temp: 160c / 325F / GM3