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The Hours Chocolate Cake

Mr. Taylor said he would write the recipe himself. I have to admit I've wanted to make this cake for ages given The Hours is one of my favourite films. It's not a true replica of the cake that Laura Brown makes given it has flowers piped with a star tip and not individually pipped petals. I did try the latter but they sucked and will never see the light of day.

I came up with this recipe without doing testing and was surprised to find it’s better than my original Chocolate Cake recipe, which I’ve spent a fair bit of time faffing around with in the past, so I've retired it. It’s a decadent cake as the sponge and buttercream are flavoured with real chocolate and not just cocoa, but it’s not too rich or at all sickly. It's just right.

Serves 10-12

Hands-on Time 40 minutes (plus cooling)

Baking Time 40 minutes


360g Dark chocolate (minimum 70%)

560g (plus extra for greasing) Unsalted butter (softened)

100g (plus extra for dusting) Cocoa powder

430g Caster sugar

4 Eggs, large

325g Plain flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 1/4 tsp plus a pinch Salt

330ml Full-fat milk

6 tsp Vanilla extract

65ml Double cream

700g Icing sugar


Microwaveable bowl




Baking parchment

2 x 20cm Fixed or push bottom cake tins

Mixing bowl

Wooden spoon or spatula

Wire rack

Electric whisk

Palette knife

Piping bag and nozzle (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C(Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Add 250 grams of chocolate to the microwaveable bowl. Pop into the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat until melted and set aside.

Cut two circles of parchment to fit the bottoms of the tin.

Grease the tins with butter. Line with the parchment and then grease the tops of the parchment.

Add a little cocoa powder to each tin and shake it around, coating the sides and bottoms. Turn over the tins and tap them to remove any excess cocoa.

In a mixing bowl cream together 185 grams of butter and the caster sugar.

Gently beat in one egg at a time.

Add 50 grams of cocoa, the plain flour, baking powder, bicarb, and salt and fold into the mixture.

Add the melted chocolate, 285 millilitres of milk, and 4 teaspoons of vanilla and give a final fold.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth it out flat.

Pop them into the oven on a middle shelf for 40 minutes.

Remove the tins from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack, remove the parchment from their bottoms, and leave to completely cool.

When you’re ready to assemble the cake, prepare the icing.

Melt 110 grams of chocolate in a clean microwaveable bowl as before.

Whisk together 375 grams of butter, 50 grams of cocoa, and the icing sugar until fluffy yet thick.

Add a pinch of salt, 45 millilitres of milk, the double cream, melted chocolate, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla and whisk again until fluffy and light.

Put one of the cakes, right way up, onto a serving plate.

Dollop one third of the icing on top of the sponge.

Take the second sponge, turn it upside down, and press it onto the icing.

Top the sponge with some of the chocolate icing before spreading the rest around the sides.

Chill the cake if you are planning to decorate it with buttercream.

To mimic the cake from The Hours you will need to colour some of the buttercream yellow and some blue. You’ll also need a small circular nozzle for lettering, and a star tipped nozzle for the flowers and frills.



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