Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake

December 364_s

I don’t think much of an introduction is needed for such a cake. The recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s mother and it is a delight; I look for excuses to bake it. The soured cream doesn’t add a noticeable tang but seems to encourage the plush texture, while the chocolate and cinnamon-sugar pebbling the cake within and without makes it divine. It’s the sort of thing you can easily hoover up without feeling burdened by all the sugar and fat that, to your joy and detriment, make this cake so good.

There is a slight difference in taste and texture depending on the type of chocolate you use. Chocolate chips–the supermarket kind, at least, I’ve never the opportunity to use high-end stuff, e.g. Callebaut–tend to hold their shape more, so you get cute button-like chips scattered across the surface.

December 342
Freshly baked cake rapidly de-puffing upon cooling. It will still end up considerably plush.

I used chopped dark chocolate bars, which half-melted inside the cake while creating a speckled crust on top. This version tasted more richly of dark chocolate than the one with chocolate chips; I love them both for different reasons. This cake will taste strongly of whatever kind of chocolate you use, so make sure you choose one you love. I certainly want to try this with chilli chocolate. Another excuse?

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Note: The recipe I give has been scaled down slightly so I could bake it in my 23 cm (9 inch) square tin; please adjust to your needs. The cake also keeps pretty well at room temperature, covered in foil, for a few days.

Cake batter
250g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
75g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra for greasing.
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300ml soured cream

Filling and topping
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
225g dark or plain chocolate, roughly chopped (or same weight of chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/160 fan. Prepare a 23 cm (9 inch) square baking tin with butter and paper over the bottom and sides.

Sift the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat the unsalted butter and 200g caster sugar together until you get a grainy mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Add a third of the soured cream followed by a third of the flour mixture, beating well between additions, alternating between them until everything’s in and you have a smooth, thick batter.

Place egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl and whisk until you have stiff peaks (no floppy tips!). Scrape into the cake batter and fold it in thoroughly.

Mix the 75g caster sugar and ground cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Pour a little more than half of the cake batter into your prepared tin, spreading gently right to the edges. Sprinkle over half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and half (just over 100g) chopped chocolate as evenly as possible over the layer of cake batter. Spoon over the remaining cake batter, smoothing gently to cover the filling. Top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar and chopped chocolate.

Bake for about 35- 40 minutes or until a cake tester (dry spaghetti, in my case) poked into the middle comes out completely free of raw batter. Leave to cool completely before slicing.

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