You don’t need an excuse for chocolate cake - but having a national day helps!

Tyler Florence's A Gooey Decadent Chocolate Cake for Food Network
Tyler Florence's A Gooey Decadent Chocolate Cake for Food Network

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Cake Day and an ingenious way of banishing any remaining January blues.

The first mention of chocolate cake in print was in the Dover Post newspaper, based in the state of Delaware in the USA, back in 1765.

A doctor and a baker had teamed up in an old mill where they ground up cocoa beans between huge millstones to make a thick syrup. The liquid was then set in moulds and was meant to be transformed into a beverage.

Philadelphia based cook book author, Eliza Leslie, published the earliest chocolate cake recipe in 1847 in her book “The Lady’s Receipt Book”. Unlike many of the chocolate cake recipes of today, Eliza used chopped chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I agree with her – if you’re going to make a chocolate cake, use chocolate.

My first recipe is for a chocolate buttermilk cake, using chopped dark chocolate, butter and sugar, melted together in a pan. Buttermilk, eggs and flour are added. The whole mixture is made in one saucepan – no beating and folding and only one pan to wash. The cake is doused in coconut liqueur when it comes out of the oven to keep it moist but don’t worry about this. The cake is split and sandwiched and covered with toasted coconut cream.

If you’ve done dry January you might want to try something alcoholic and chocolatey to accompany the cake. I’ve added a recipe for an iced chocolate cocktail with chocolate melted in a sugar syrup, a toot of brandy or whiskey added and loads of ice. Perfect to wash down the cake with or you could just settle for a nice cup of tea.

My other recipe is for a vegan brownie. Like it or not this lifestyle choice looks like it’s here to stay. A lot of children have allergies nowadays and this cake ticks the dairy free, egg free boxes. I’m not a fan of a lot of vegan food but this recipe, given to me by one of my students, is actually very nice.

My last recipe is definitely not vegan but one for a molten chocolate cake. A chocolate cake mixture is spooned into individual cake tins and half way through the cooking you insert a chocolate truffle into the middle. It’s a good way of using up a post Christmas chocolate glut. When the cake is cooked, it should ooze chocolate truffle from the middle when you cut into it.

No one knows who invented National Chocolate Cake Day but you’ll have to agree it’s the perfect pick me up for this time of year. Enjoy it now – Lent will soon be upon us.