Chocolate Marsala Cake
This is one of my favourite chocolate cakes. I used to make it a lot and haven’t for quite a while now, I thought to myself is it really as good as I remember? Oh yes! It’s back on the circuit and it’ll be made again soon.
It comes from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess, that wonderful comforting home bakers book. When it first came out I baked from it constantly, much as I’m doing with Dorie’s Baking now – but there is room for them both in my collection, as they are both so inspiring, packed with fabulous recipes and both brilliant in my eyes.
It’s a light but very chocolate-y cake that is drizzled when warm with marsala and then it has a chocolate ganache icing with an extra tablespoon of Marsala in it. I’ve liked Marsala since my very first taste, and like Maderia wine and sweet sherry too for the same raisin-y depth of flavour and sweetness. The cake puffs up while cooking then sinks to give a crater into which the warm chocolate icing is poured. Where it will set to a mirror like finish. Before I made the Daring Baker strawberry mirror cake I’d have said it was glossy, but it does have mirror like qualities!
I think it’s at it’s best with a spoon of softly whipped cream, it sets off the moist fudgy cake and the smooth marsala icing perfectly.
Chocolate Marsala Cake
From Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I change it a little in that for both the cake and icing I use half milk and half dark chocolate - instead of all dark chocolate. I sometimes only sift the flour once as well (!); but here is Nigella’s recipe unaltered.
For the Cake:
100g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken up
4 large eggs
175g caster sugar
50g self-raising flour, sifted 3 times
3 tablespoons Marsala
For the Icing:
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Marsala
100ml double (heavy) cream
Preheat the oven to 180 oC / Gas Mark 4. Greasd and line a 22cm springform tin.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave or double boiler, and then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and moussy, and greatly increased in volume; it should double, triple even. Gently fold in the sifted flour into the egg mixture, trying not to lose all the air. Now fold the butter and chocolate mixture into the cake mixture. Pour into the tin and cook for 35 minutes, by which time the top should be firm and the cake underneath dense and desirably damp.
Cool in a rack for 5 minutes, and then pour over the Marsala. I find it easier to do this by the teaspoonful so that the liquid is evenly distributed. Leave the cake to cool completely before releasing it from it’s tin.
So, the icing: melt the chocolate, Marsala and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a gentle heat. Take it off the heat, and whisk until it reaches a good icing consistency; smooth, thick, but not solid. I like to spread this just on the top of the cake, which anyway sinks on cooling so that you should have a roughly circular sunken pond to fill, leaving an outline of cooked-cake rim. When set, you’re left, beautifully with a Sacher-shiny disc of ganache suspended