Hi Team Nigella, I am taking part in a cake baking competition this Christmas. I haven't baked since I was at school (nearly 25 years ago!) let alone enter competitions! I wondered if you have a simple recipe that was easy to follow. It has to be a chocolate cake and the more spectacular the better! Please help! Kind regards Elaine.
Nigella has a multitude of chocolate cake recipes and we would particularly suggest that you look at Nigella's book "Feast" which has a whole chapter dedicated to these cakes called "The Chocolate Cake Hall Of Fame". Some recipes are more complicated than others but we hope that by reading through the recipes you may find one suited to your ability and confidence.
We would also suggest considering Nigella's Chocolate Fudge Cake from Nigella Bites and also available on the Nigella website. This cake is a perennial favourite and the comments posted below the recipe confirm that it is an incredibly popular recipe. It is also fairly straightforward to make and doesn't require any creaming of butter and sugar. The recipe requires two 20cm/8-inch cake pans or sandwich tins. This is a very common size and the tins can be borrowed or bought easily in a cookware store or even in the cookware section of a large supermarket or department store.
When making any cake there are a few basic rules that will help. Nigella's website for October has some video tips in "Nigella's Latest Video" on the home page. We would suggest that you make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature as this will help them to blend easily. Check that any leavening agents (baking powder or bicarbonate of soda) have not passed their "best before" dates. Grease the cake tins with butter or a flavourless oil and line the bases with baking parchment (parchment paper). Make sure that the oven is preheating when you start to make the cake so that it is at the correct temperature when the batter has been mixed and bake the cakes promptly so that it rises properly.