Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Let them eat cake - Part 1

Ok so not the most original idea for a title.  But I was so very flattered when I was asked for my delicious, fool proof cake recipes (it really doesn't take much).  Have to say I am often asked for the recipes but never by someone who hasn't tasted them is really is just going on my word (which is good but at the end of the day, is just that) and as they say, the proof really is in the pudding.  

I can't very well share the recipes without revealing their sources.  Recipes over time become our own, but really they almost always originate from somewhere else.  

The chocolate cake recipe was my aunt's - when I was growing up we would often spend our summers visiting cousins in either Kenya or Canada.  My aunt in Kenya would make this cake.  And my cousin was an expert at making the most beautiful looking cakes out of these cakes.  She made me a guitar once (out of cake).  For the record, I don't play the guitar - but I think I was going through a phase where I wanted to.  You can find this recipe on the internet by the way and I've seen versions where they use sour cream instead of yoghurt but I got it from my aunt first and I always use yoghurt.



  • 1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar 
  • 2/3 c. cocoa 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. soda 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 1 1/2 c. plain yoghurt 
  • 1/2 c. shortening (butter, softened)
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Measure all ingredients into a large bowl
  2. Blend on low speed then beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
  3. Bake in 9"x13" greased and floured pan for approximately 30 to 35 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean) at 350 degrees (176 C).
It really is that easy.  But I make notes every time I make a recipe (helps for the next time) so I've copied them here in case you need them.

My notes:
  • Last time I made 1 ½ times the amount - I found it fit in the rectangle tin better (i.e wasn't so thin)
  • For a layered cake, this recipe fills 2 9” rounds nicely  - just remember to split the batter in half so that the two cakes are even
  • The cake is fudgier on the second day.
  • Obviously if you make more of the recipe and put it all the same pan, it takes longer to cook.  Check it after 30 minutes and add the time according your own oven and how much of the mixture you've put in there
  • The recipe makes great cupcakes.  Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 and adjust the bake time (about 15 minutes for large cupcakes, less for mini ones) - it makes just a little over 12 regular sized cupcakes
Icing Options (totally optional - it's great without): 
  • Sprinkle icing sugar on top
  • A buttercream icing or other icing
  • Make a strawberry coulis/sauce (boil strawberries, sugar and water).  Put in the middle of the two rounds.  Whip fresh cream and put on top and through the sides.  Make sure the coulis & the cake are well cooled before putting on the whipped cream or the cream will separate.  Decorate with fresh strawberries on top.
  • Make a chocolate ganache by melting chocolate chips with cream (check internet for recipe).  Pour over the cake and allow to harden.  This option makes the cake seem a lot richer.
Do let me know how it goes if you try it.  Unfortunately I don't have photos for the steps... it would require me to make the cake again and honestly I think I need to hit the gym after all the cake I've consumed in the last couple of weeks!  Maybe next time.

Off I go to Kindergarten orientation - round 2 here we go!  More on that next time.


  1. I'm going to do this. Today.

  2. Am interested to see that you equate shortening with butter. Do you think that works? I've wondered, when I use American recipes, whether Flora or some kind of vegetable-based spread is more like shortening.

    I could never really bring myself to use shortening when we lived in America. Didn't seem right to bake with some fat-based substance that you didn't find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. (But I guess the Americans feel the same about us not keeping eggs in the refrigerated section!) But shortening just seems like a processed substance beyond processed - and what's the point of home baking if it's going to include so much processed stuff. Even the name, Crisco, sounds very processed somehow.

    I think I've got shortening prejudice issues.

    1. I always thought shortening was lard and since we're Muslim, I substitute with butter. I never really thought about it and it seems to have worked for me - though perhaps if you used shortening you'd get a different result?

      I too am distrustful of products that are processed. I tend to use coconut oil for cooking, butter for baking and on occasion olive oil.

    2. So you got me thinking - I just went and googled shortening. Turns out Shortening is the word they use for any fat in a baking recipe.

      "Butter or other fat used for making pastry or bread"

      And according to the Oxford English Dictionary - "fat used for making pastry." I clicked on the link to check the US English dictionary and it was the same as above.

      I think it's probably used in America to describe vegetable shortening because butter is called butter and lard is called lard?

  3. I'm with you on the shortening front. I love butter. I don't really use anything else. I think it comes from living in places where I can't read the ingredient labels on food and margarine is a step into the unknown. You know where you are with butter. At least I think you do...

    So, how did the cake turn out? Details please!

  4. ps. Thanks WLDU for this - it's much appreciated and sounds delicious. It's now in my recipe file. Once something goes in there, it never comes out....

    1. No worries - happy to share! Do let me know how it turns out when you get around to making it. x

  5. Ooh. am on the quest for the best ever chocolate cake - I remember making it once for B's bday but I now can't remember which recipe it was, so we're working through them.

    It's a tough job etc etc.

    Will add this one to the list!

    1. Do let me know the verdict! And if it's not the "one" I'd be interested to have the recipe of the one that is. Are you going on taste alone or are there other criteria?