Doña Petrona by me: chocolate cake

There was a big hoopla recently following Narda’s departure from El Gourmet to Utilísima. There she is cooking recipes from Doña Petrona´s book Julie-Julia style. Every Argentinian household worth its salt has a copy, mine is no exception. It was my referent when I was too little to think about buying cookery books but not too little to discover the joys of baking.

My battered copy is still at home (in Argentina) but I still use it a lot whenever I’m there.

This cake is a bit unusual in that the liquid element is boiling water: not milk, not anything else but good old boiling water. It does remind me a bit of the English chocolate pudding in this respect. The pudding though, has a much softer consistency than this. It’s a veritable cake. And delicious.

This is my adapted version of the cake.

 Doña Petrona´s chocolate cake


320g plain flour

4 tsp. baking powder

200g sugar

100g cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla essence

120g butter

2 eggs

250cc boiling water

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa in a bowl. Add the sugar and the butter, cubed. Crumble the butter into the rest of the ingredients until you get a sandy texture.

In a separate jug, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla essence. Add this to the dry ingredients and combine using a wooden spoon. Add the hot water and pour the mixture into a buttered and floured cake-tin. Bake at a moderate temperature until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

You can cut it in half and fill it with dulce de leche but, as you can see, I didn´t bother and it was delicious all the same!


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