I'm not sure if this is an infringement of copyright, but since Calpurnia requested the recipe for the cake I referred to in Weekend of Farewells, I'm taking the liberty of putting this on the net. It's from Nigella Lawson's NIGELLA BITES book. If you're reading this, Nigella, please don't sue me, I'm a great fan of yours.
For the cake:
400 g plain flour
300 g caster sugar
50 g cocoa powder
2 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
142 ml sour cream (small tub...local brand sun glo would suffice)
1 tbspn vanilla essence
175 g butter (pref unsalted), softened
125ml corn oil
300ml cold water
Oven at 180C. Line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, (they're shallow cake pans, basically)
In large bowl, mix group A ingredients.
In another bowl, mix group B ingredients.
In yet another bowl, mix group C ingredients with mixer. Beat in the water later.
Add group A to group C and mix together on low speed. Add group B ingredients and mix everything till well blended. Divide evenly into 2 tins, and bake for 50 - 55 mins.
I do not recommend the icing in the book coz its toooo buttery and too much icing sugar. Try a chocolate ganache instead. Zap 200 g dark chocolate in microwave with 1/2 cup cream, for about 1 minutes. Mix, and presto, use this as the replacement icing.