This is what I consider a simple chocolate cake. An everyday sweet treat, a weekday dessert, something homemade, flavourful, and comforting. The charm of these cakes will always lie in their availability, in the easiness of preparation.
They can be ready in under an hour, and served, too, especially if you like hot desserts topped with ice cream. Usually made with only a handful of ingredients that most already have in their cupboards, not requiring more than a bowl and a whisk, they are so very simple to prepare, yet utterly delicious and wholesome.
A few notes regarding serving this lovely cake – I always cut it in nine very generous servings, but you can most certainly cut it into sixteen. I do not recommend cutting the cake in smaller pieces than that, because they will be very difficult to serve, due to the softness of the cake.
And as for the serving itself, you can serve it after only a couple of hours at room temperature, as it will still be warm, with a thick and glossy chocolate syrup still running from the slices, and it will pair perfectly with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Or, you can serve it the way I prefer to – after a whole night of chilling in the refrigerator, with the syrup completely soaked into the cake, and it having a fudge brownie texture. It will be amazing and delicious either way.
For the chocolate cake
200 grams spelt flour
50 grams semolina
100 grams granulated sugar
20 grams dark cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 teaspoons baking powder
150 grams finely chopped pistachios, divided
150 grams vanilla yoghurt
150 ml cold water
75 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the chocolate syrup
250 ml cold water
150 grams granulated sugar
100 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Sift the flour, baking powder, and the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the semolina and the sugar, and give them a quick whisk to blend. In a separate medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the yoghurt, oil, vanilla, and water. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and mix until it starts coming together. Add in 100 grams of chopped pistachios, and whisk the batter until combined. Do not overmix, because the finished cake will be tough. Pour the batter into a lined square cake tin (18×18 cm), and bake it in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for 15-18 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched.
While the cake is in the oven, make the chocolate syrup. Pour the cold water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and sprinkle in the sugar. Place the saucepan over high heat and let it come to a boil without stirring. Once it starts to boil, cook it, still without any stirring, for 6 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved, and the syrup has thickened. Remove it from the heat, add the chopped up chocolate, stir until completely melted, then reserve.
By then, the cake should be baked; remove it from the oven, and very carefully cut the cake into 9 squares, and gradually pour over the chocolate syrup. Pour it slowly, a spoonful at a time, waiting until the cake absorbs the amount you poured before adding more syrup. Pay special attention to the edges of the cake, as well as the cuts you made. Once you have added all of the syrup, sprinkle it with the remaining pistachios, and set it aside until it cools down to room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably longer. Yields 9 generous servings.
By Tina Vesić