Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know who Nigella Lawson was. Someone sent me a link to a video of her making this chocolate cake on You Tube. So after a little reading I discovered that she is a Food Network star (yes apparently I have been living under a rock) and has written several cookbooks (4 of which I will be picking up from the library tomorrow). She’s also British, which I am too, though I don’t have an accent anymore like she does. I couldn’t help but make this cake after seeing the video.

This cake recipe is also available on The Food Network’s website here and is also from Nigella’s book Feast. The reviews produced 4 stars out of 5, though many people complained that the cake was dry. Even more said that the cake was fine but that you had to watch it carefully and in most cases it was done at 25 minutes instead of 30. I have to agree. I actually baked mine for the full 30 minutes and it was a little bit dry, but next time I will watch it more closely. In the instructions below I’ve changed the time to 22-25 minutes.

I don’t agree with those reviewers that said the cake was tasteless. I thought it tasted great and the frosting was fabulous. I will definitely make this again. Someone on my Facebook page said that the frosting was pure food porn. I agree. :)

If you would like to watch the video and hear Nigella’s lovely accent, click here.

Nigella’s Old-fashioned Chocolate Cake
printable version

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 sticks unsalted soft butter
1/3 cup cocoa
2 eggs


6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
3/4 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract

Take everything out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put all the cake ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter.

Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 22-25 minutes. Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate and butter in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Cool.

Place confectioners’ sugar into the food processor and blitz to remove lumps. Add remaining frosting ingredients and process until smooth.

Spoon about 1/3 of the frosting onto the center of the cake-half and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly, leaving about 1/2″ from the edges. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the 2 together.

Spoon another 1/3 of the frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it in a swirly, textured way. Spread the sides of the cake last of the icing.

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23 Responses to Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  1. 1
    Cooking With Abandon says:

    I am going to try this one! (see my recent cake failure on my blog)

  2. 2
    Katrina says:

    Looks great! My dad used to walk around the house sometimes just saying "Chocolate cake". He'd say it in such a way that everyone wanted chocolate cake. I'd always end up making him one (I'm sure just a box mix). I'll have to try this one.
    I love Nigella. She bugs my husband, but I think she's pretty cool.

  3. 3
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says:

    Love Nigella Lawson! I could just sit in front of the television and listen to her talk. That accent blows me away! I've also seen her make this cake and thought it looked divine. This means it must make it for myself very soon!

  4. 4
    Nichol says:

    I have watched the video but haven't made it around to the cake yet. This looks wonderful so that means I must make this asap!

  5. 5
    Kathy - Panini Happy says:

    I absolutely love Nigella! Glad you've found her. :-) Dry or not, the cake definitely looks beautiful!

  6. 6
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    That cake looks outstanding! I love that it doesn't skimp on the icing:-)

  7. 7
    Maria says:

    Looks good to me!

  8. 8
    Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd says:

    the way you swirled that frosting is so nigella, casual yet classy.

  9. 9
    alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    wow . Heavenly!

  10. 10
    Cooking Rookie says:

    Beautiful cake! I just had a dessert, but I could still fit in a slice of this chocolate heaven (or two slices…)

  11. 11
    BigFatBaker says:

    I made this for my parents anniversary with a blackberry buttercream. Wow…that is by far one of the best chocolate cake recipes I have had the pleasure of making. It's definitely a keeper. You look like you did a wonderful job with yours. I love the swirls in your frosting.

  12. 12
    Erika says:

    That frosting looks divine. You are clearly much better with an offset spatula than I am – I can never get the sides of my cakes that smooth!

  13. 13
    Elle says:

    Gorgeous! I love Nigella-her writing, her style, all of it. Never tried this cake, though! It seems as if I must. :)

  14. 14
    Sue says:

    Well Amanda, You definitely know who Nigella Lawson is now:) The cake looks classic and beautiful!

  15. 15
    Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    What a perfect way to be introduced to Nigella. I love her :)

    The shot of that batter is pure sin. Oh my! Yum. Bookmarked :)

  16. 16
    Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    P.S – How did you manage to keep the cake plate so clean? I can never do that :(

  17. 17
    Heather Davis says:

    Nigella is an institution here in the UK. I have a lot of her books but her Domestic Godess one is my all time fav. Lot's of great baking recipes in that one. This cake looks amazing. I have Feast too so will have to try it.

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  22. 22
    Diana Taylor says:

    i only eat chocolate cake and i have made all kinds of them this one was okay my kids didn’t like it at all it took over 25 min to cook and i wont make it again wasn’t for me but thanks for sharing

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