Fair Warning

I am going to say this just one time: Anyone who utters or disseminates anything disparaging or disrespectful about my Lady Nigella will have to answer to me. Be warned, presently I have 22 different spatulas in my collection, and I know how to deploy each one of them to devastating effect. So choose your next words very carefully sir; they may well prove to be your last……

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Devil’s Food Cake – The ‘Gella Edition

Recipe #15

The one great jewel I have been questing for all my life (apart from a girlfriend) is the recipe for the ultimate chocolate cake.  I figure that if I can perfect the latter then I might improve my chances of getting the former.

I have tried numerous recipe adaptations with varying degrees of success.  There is of course the basic Victoria sponge method with the flour quantity reduced by about a fifth and then that fifth being replaced with cocoa and a pinch of baking powder.  It’s good, but good isn’t really good enough, not for my purposes.  I need EXTRAORDINARY!

I wanted to find a tantalising tasty treat that was bouncy and moist and devilishly decadent with a melt in your mouth texture.  But wait a minute, that entire previous sentence could just as easily be used to describe my favourite Caloristrix of all time; Nigella Lawson!

I felt sure that The ‘Gella (as I choose to refer to her, in recognition of her wobblesome pulchritude), would have something.  Sure enough a quick grope around her web site confirmed what I suspected.  What follows is my interpretation of The ‘Gella’s voluptuously alluring devil’s food cake.  Prepare to be damned for all eternity…..




  • Two 8 inch loose base cake tins
  • Baking paper
  • Tin foil
  • A large bowl
  • Two smaller bowl
  • A hand whisk
  • A mixing spatula
  • An electric mixer
  • A cooling rack


  • 75 grams of cocoa powder
  • 150 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 375 millilitres of boiling water
  • 190 grams of butter
  • 225 grams of caster sugar
  • 340 grams of plain flour
  • 1 level teaspoon of baking powder
  • i level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 medium eggs

This is a link to the original recipe so that you can see how the lady herself did it:
I saw no reason to tinker too much with the original as I always have faith that The ‘Gella knows exactly what she’s doing.  The main difference is that my recipe is larger, obviously because I am the Caloriser and I always go big.  For the cake I increased the ingredient quantities by 50 percent, and for the icing I increased the quantities by a similar factor and then doubled them on top of that.  My reasons will become plain by the end:

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

Start off by preparing the two cake tins by greasing them and lining the bases with baking paper.  To make the cakes easier to extract I use loose base tins.  You can use the regular solid kind, but if you use the loose base ones be sure to wrap the outsides in tin foil to guard against leaks:
IMG_5561In a small bowl measure out the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate and then set aside:
IMG_5567In another small bowl measure out the brown sugar and cocoa.  On this occasion I didn’t have enough cocoa powder so I improvised by sticking in a couple of squares of dark chocolate to make up the shortfall – but that’s just between us, okay?
IMG_5562Pour in the boiling water and whisk until all the ingredients are well combined, then set this chocolate liquid aside:
IMG_5563 IMG_5564In a larger bowl whisk together the butter and caster sugar until the mixture is and fluffy:
IMG_5565 IMG_5566Add one egg, the vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of the flour mix and whisk thoroughly.  Then add the remaining two eggs and whisk until well combined:
IMG_5568 IMG_5569Fold in the remaining bulk of the flour mix:
IMG_5570Once the flour has been thoroughly incorporated, pour in the liquid chocolate mix and whisk until you have a smooth batter:
IMG_5571 IMG_5572Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for between 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  Test the cakes by inserting a toothpick into the centres.  If the pick comes out clean, then the cakes are done.
IMG_5573Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for about ten minutes before you extract them and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely:
IMG_5578 If the tops of the cakes have domed then once they have cooled completely you can slice the tops level with a bread knife:




  • A saucepan
  • A hand whisk
  • A mixing spatula
  • A hand whisk
  • A 10 inch cake board
  • A cake decorating turntable
  • A pallet knife
  • A straight edged scraper


  • 165millilitres of water
  • 40 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 235 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of dark chocolate finely chopped

When I first saw the recipe for this icing, I could not help but pause for a moment.  Water and chocolate together?  Surely that could not be right.  It has been my experience in the past that water and chocolate do not get on with each other very well at all.  Under normal circumstances water will cause melted chocolate to seize up and become unusable.  But then I remembered that if The ‘Gella says it should be so then it MUST be so.  She is the goddess of all things plump and delectable and she would never lead me astray.  My momentary wavering of faith was set straight and I proceeded according The ‘Gella’s word:

Over a low medium heat melt together the butter, sugar and water until the mixture starts to bubble.  Make sure it doesn’t get too hot:
IMG_5574Take the pan off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate.
Here’s a tip: If you don’t fancy chopping up several bars of chocolate then you can use dark chocolate chips.  The important thing is that the pieces of chocolate must be really small so that they will more readily yield to the ambient heat of the butter liquid.  Whatever you do, do not be tempted to return the pan to the heat as this will risk overheating and turning the mixture grainy.
Stir the chocolate pieces a couple of times to make sure they are all coated with the butter liquid and then leave the mixture aside:
IMG_5575 IMG_5576After about five minutes give the mixture a whisk.  All the chocolate pieces will have melted and you should have a smooth and glossy chocolate liquid the consistency of double cream:
IMG_5577At this stage the ganache is too liquid to ice the cake without making an almighty mess.  What we have to do now is enter a waiting game; because this cake may be a temptress, but she’s no floozy.  She’s not going to surrender her delights to anyone any old loser, only to those with the tenderness and patience to finesse her.

Every fifteen minutes during this time of waiting give the mixture a whisk.  You will notice that it will steadily start to thicken.  Eventually, after about an hour, the ganache will reach a thick, buttery texture ideal for spreading:
IMG_5579Once this has happened, place one of the cakes onto a cake board with the sliced side facing up.  Spread about a third of the ganache over it with a pallet knife and then place the second cake on top with the sliced side down:
IMG_5581 IMG_5582Scoop the remaining ganache onto the top of the the cake and smooth the icing flat using the pallet knife and straight edged scraper:
IMG_5583 IMG_5587You could just leave it there and eat the cake as it is.  However, I am the Caloriser, and I always, always have to take things that one step too far….




  • A saucepan
  • A hand whisk
  • A mixing spatula
  • A hand whisk
  • Two disposable piping bags
  • A number 195 nozzle
  • A number 885 nozzle


  • 165millilitres of water
  • 40 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 235 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of dark chocolate finely chopped

All you do is make another batch of butter ganache repeating the method from stage 2.  Except this time instead of spreading the icing, we are going to pipe it on and therefore make the cake look as sexy as it tastes.

Start by placing the number 195 nozzle into a piping bag and then filling the bag with the bulk of the prepared butter ganache, leaving some aside for the final detail.  Pipe a border around the base and top edges of the cake.  You can pipe in whichever way is best for you, but this is how I did it:
IMG_5592Next I took a fresh piping bag and inserted the number 885 nozzle.  I loaded the bag with the spare ganache, including whatever was leftover from piping the borders, and I swirled a rose pattern surrounded by drop flowers in the centre of the cake:
IMG_5594And there you have it; Nigella’s devil’s food cake Calorised:
IMG_5602 IMG_5613 I know, this is bad, isn’t it?  I’m expecting to be raided by the vice squad any minute for this one:

Nigella Naughty 5