Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nigella's Chocolate Marsala Cake

I love to make birthday cakes, any excuse at all to bake. I especially like making cakes that taste as good as they look, though I do also make themed children's cakes, unexciting as they usually are to eat. Natalie, from Bible study, had a birthday last week so I asked her what sort of cake she would like and she requested chocolate. I made Nigella's chocolate marsala cake, as I often do, because it is ethereally light, supremely chocolately and delicious before and after baking ( I do so love to lick the bowl). The recipe is from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson, a brilliant book.

Chocolate Marsala Cake
100g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken up
4 large eggs
175g caster sugar
50g self-raising flour, sifted 3 times
3 tablespoons Marsala
for the Icing:
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Marsala
100ml double cream

22cm Springform tin, greased and lined.

Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave or a double boiler, and then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and moussey, and greatly increased in volume; it should double, triple even. My Kitchen Aid does this beautifully.

Gently fold the sifted flour into the egg mixture, trying not to lose all of the air. Now fold the butter and chocolate very carefully into the cake mixture.

Pour into the tin and cook for 35 minutes, by which time the top should be firm and the cake underneath dense and desirably damp.

The cake will have risen beautifully but will soon sink, leaving a crater perfect for dousing with Marsala and filling with ganache.

Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, and then pour over the Marsala. I find it easier to do this by the teaspoonful so that the liquid is evenly distributed. Leave the cake to cool completely before releasing it from it’s tin.

So, the icing: melt the chocolate, Marsala and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a gentle heat. Take it off the heat, and whisk until it reaches a good icing consistency; smooth, thick, but not solid. I like to spread this just on the very top of the cake, which anyway sinks on cooling so that you have a roughly circular sunken pond to fill, leaving an outline of cooked-cake rim. When set, you're left, beautifully, with a Sacher-shiny disc of ganache suspened on top of this dusty-brown, matt cake.


  1. OMG! Why have I never cooked this cake? It looks absolutely delectable.

  2. As Kristy said, I've never cooked this cake but staring at it, I'm really wondering why as it looks fantastic! :D

  3. this cake and Nigella's victoria sponge alternate as my eternal staples (dinner, respectively picnic). Reason: they are both so easy to make and so amazing to eat that I need not explore any further. And I always have to share the recipe with our guests.
    Thank you for documenting it so thoroughly here. It looks perfect.