I had a craving….

…..for a delicious spicy rich carrot cake and was ready to make one when ‘cook’s intuition’ clicked in! I checked whether the four grandchildren would prefer carrot or chocolate cake? The consensus was 100% in favour of chocolate!

I immediately thought of Hillary Biller’s Chocolate and Buttermilk Cake. Hillary is the Food Editor of the Sunday Times, a well known cook book author and had a very practical cookery show on TV, where I think I first saw this recipe.

It is quick, easy and absolutely foolproof.

If I was making the cake for adult consumption I would have added a few chilli flakes, some cardamom and grated orange zest, but for the little ones I just stuck to chocolate and even added their favourite bits to decorate the cake.

The cake batter is very thin and Hilary recommends that you always use a ring cake pan. I reckon it will not cook through in a conventional pan.

I am always amazed at the light texture. If I had not had absolute confidence in Hilary’s skill and recipe I would have questioned only 5ml of bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. The alkaline bicarb reacts with the acidity of the buttermilk to form CO2, the gas required to give texture. It works!

The result is a super moist light cake. The bicarb also ensures that it will be decadently dark in colour.

Two days later the remaining sliver of cake was still moist.

For adults I usually omit the icing and simply drizzle some melted dark and white chocolate over or serve it with a dollop of brandied cream, with a hint of grated orange zest.

For the kiddies I decadently pile the top with caramel popcorn, chocolate coated pretzels and malted chocolate balls. They loved it!

Recipe: Hillary Biller’s Chocolate & Buttermilk Cake.