RECIPE Have another piece of chocolate cake


I have that old Crowded House song in my head. “Can I have another piece of chocolate cake?” The rest of the lyrics deal with buying cheap Picasso fakes and Andy Warhol laughing in his grave. No idea what it’s really about but I’m happy because my weekend chocolate cake attempt was fantastic!

Let’s say I’m a fairly decent cook. I throw savoury things together hurriedly and the flavours work; when I set my mind and time to recipes they mostly perform on cue. I’ve never been great at pastry but I used to be pretty good at baking when growing up. British cooking wiz Delia Smith says baking is the one area where you have to stick to precise measurements and she’s right.

So I’ve found it incredibly annoying that after spending years in Asia where stirfry-orientated stovetops are standard in rented kitchens but ovens are not, I was finally armed with baking tools again. A reliable Defy oven, and a coveted Kitchen Aid artisanal mixer, the latter a collective wedding gift from generous family. Yet I still had baking flops.

Was it the recipe, the oven or me? The lightbulb moment was when somebody told me conventional fan-assisted ovens should be reduced by 10 degrees, the baking time shortened by five minutes or so.


I’ve edited enough chefs’ recipes and found crucial steps omitted to not even attempt some of them. I was in search of a rich and gooey chocolate cake recipe, ditching plainer versions from the very user-friendly cookbooks of Ainsley Harriott, Tessa Kiros, Rick Stein, Pete Goffe-Wood and Lannice Snyman in my collection. Then in a worn copy of Donna Hay’s Flavours I found an entire chapter devoted to chocolate recipes. A layered chocolate fudge cake sounded perfect, the synergy with Donna’s cookbook name only sinking in later.

The result? Reducing the oven temperature and baking time meant the recipe worked like a dream. Quality Nomu cocoa powder for the sponge, double layers halved and filled with chocolate cream.

A word of caution. This was no budget or diet-friendly version; three packs of melted Lindt 70% chocolate later, blended with butter and cream… But it was delicious and the sugar-free fudge frosting kept it bittersweet and not overly rich. A splash of Frangelico liqueur even kept it decent on day three. Three rugby-watching boys on Saturday afternoon were extremely happy to supplement their beer and biltong with a coffee and chocolate break. And most importantly, it seems I’m finally getting my baking groove back!

Contact me via email if you want to try Donna Hay’s delicious recipe, with my modifications. I’m reducing the fudge quantities as there was a heap left over.


  1. Cindy Moritz
    September 2nd, 2009 at 07:45AM

    Kim, it sounds decadently divine, and far safer for me to read about than to actually attempt to make or, even worse right now, eat. So thanks for the vicarious pleasure. And good luck with the website and blog, I'll make sure to visit often :)

  2. Fortunato
    September 3rd, 2009 at 07:37AM

    Hey Kim. Please send me the recipe for this choccy cake sounds GOOOOD. I have my own idea for a little adaptation using a Strega based syrup to make it last. I'll let you know how it works out...
    I really like the site and enjoyed the articles. Now if only you could get the recipe for that lemon curd baby in the blog cos that also looks spectacular.

  3. Kim Maxwell
    September 3rd, 2009 at 07:58AM

    Forti I will definitely send you the chocolate recipe. Just need to type up my modified version...

    Will do my best to persuade the passionate purist to part with hers too! But I can't promise - she was embarrassed that the cake looked 'horribly lopsided' which of course I don't agree with at all... As mentioned, it tasted delicious.

  4. Tamsin Laight
    September 5th, 2009 at 12:00PM

    Kim, would love that recipe. Fortunately for me I have a fan assisted oven that can also be used without the fan assist. So I use the fan to heat up the oven and then turn it off to bake. Gary says he wants that for his birthday. Who says we have to wait for his bday. Good for you starting a blog and all the best with it.

  5. Kirsten
    September 21st, 2009 at 11:38AM

    Hi Kim, I would also love to try this recipe! And for those like me who most of the time, end up with flops - a few months ago I discovered Cassis Paris, in Kildare road, Newlands. They have a selection of divine cakes (to buy and order) and I can recommend the Douceur Noisette! Heaven in a box!

  6. Kim Maxwell
    September 21st, 2009 at 01:02PM

    Hi Kirsten
    Your recipe has been emailed... I've shared an eclair from Cassis Newlands too. Was really a cut above the rest.

  7. vanessa quellec
    October 7th, 2009 at 10:31AM

    Was wondering if you could teach me how to make this cake and I will write about it, and then eat the whole thing. Let me know.

  8. October 7th, 2009 at 03:43PM

    Me teach an expert pastry chef like you how to make a cake? That's a joke right, Vanessa?!!!
    I'm flattered if my humble attempts could tempt you though...

  9. I have an excited synthetic eyesight designed for detail and
    may foresee troubles just before these people happen.

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