Published On: Wed, Nov 28th, 2018

Leila Hedjem’s simple chocolate cake

You’ve never seen baking as heartwarming as this…

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the affected families needed somewhere to cook fresh meals. The Al-Manaar Muslim Heritage Centre became a hub for this displaced community, and the women that worked here began to cook for those that needed it.

Sharing the kitchen for two days a week, the women prepared and ate food together with their families, and before long, word had spread. More and more women and their families began to embrace this new community that had grown out of tragedy. Recipes and food were being shared, and this has grown to what is now known as the Hubb Community Kitchen – with Hubb meaning ‘love’ in arabic.

‘Together, Our Community Cookbook’ is a celebration of these women and their recipes, and all profits from the sales of Together will go to The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. These funds will benefit of the Hubb Community Kitchen, helping widen its reach to others in the community, and enabling similar projects to continue transforming lives through the power of cooking.

Here, you’ll find a classic chocolate cake recipe from the book. Enjoy – and do make sure to pick up the book this Christmas!

Together Community cookbook

Leila Hedjem's simple chocolate cake

I got this recipe from my sister Linda, who lives in France. It’s a family favourite and was

one of the first things I brought in when I started coming to the Kitchen. Then I kept

getting messages from the women saying ‘bring more chocolate cake next time’. It’s very easy

and always works. If I’m in a hurry I don’t always bother with icing, but if you do, it’s special

enough for a birthday cake. I decorate it with chocolate buttons and little biscuits for the kids

and they love it.

Author Together: Our Community Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 125 g dark chocolate roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 150 g butter at room temp, with extra for greasing
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten

For the icing:

  • 75 g butter at room temp
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder plus extra for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Butter and line the base of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

  2. Place the chocolate and milk in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Once melted, leave to cool slightly.

  3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

  4. Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the butter until soft. Add the caster sugar and whisk until creamy and light. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition.

  5. Using a metal spoon, fold in the melted chocolate and then the flour and cocoa mixture until just combined, without over-mixing the batter. Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for about 35–40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin, before turning out.

  6. To make the icing, whisk the butter together with the cream and vanilla extract, then gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, whisking until the mixture is soft and fluffy.

  7. Spread the icing on top of the cake and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Alternatively, you can slice the cake in half horizontally and sandwich the two halves together with half of the icing, then spread the rest on top.

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