Today is Midsummer’s Day and my son just turned 17. Happy Birthday, Sean!
It’s a wonderful time of year for pool parties but a terrible one for baking cakes. We hit 35 C today and it was so humid. My poor dogs spent the afternoon panting in front of a fan in the office, as we cranked up the oven in the kitchen to honour a family tradition: blowing out one’s candles on a coca-cola cake.
If you’re turning up your nose at the star ingredient as you read, just hold it right there–this cake is the best! It has lovely chocolate and caramel flavours (not too rich, not too sweet) and the perfect moist crumb. You taste the cola tang in the glace icing, and a tongue-tingling fizz as you chew on the sugar-frosted cola-bottle candies on top. At the risk of sounding like a coke cake pusher, I’m going to suggest you just give it a try–a little won’t hurt!
for the cake
200 g (7 oz) plain flour
250 g (1/2 lb) golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
175 ml (3/4 cup) Coca-Cola
(22-23 cm Springform, lined with foil to prevent the batter leaking, then greased)
for the icing
225 g (7 oz) icing sugar
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
3 tablespoons (45ml) Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon (15 mL) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180?/gas mark 4/ 350 F and put in a baking sheet at the same time.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarb and salt. In a measuring jug, beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla.
3. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola, heating it gently. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients from the jug, beating until it is well blended.
4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake on the warm sheet for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
5. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the tin before unmoulding. Then unclip, unwrap and turn out on a wire rack, making sure you’ve got a sheet of newspaper or something underneath the rack to catch any icing that drips through.
6. Sieve the icing sugar and set aside for the moment. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and spoon in the sieved icing sugar, beating as you do so, until you’ve got a good, spreadable, but still runny, icing.
7. Pour this icing over the cake, while the cake is still warm, spread gently and leave till cool before transferring to the plate on which you’re serving it.
8. Optional: decorate with cola bottle candies.
Note: I used a slightly larger tin than prescribed and paid for it with a thin cake. Lesson learned!