Other than for work or grocery shopping, I have barely left home in the past month and a half. Like millions of people of many nationalities glued to their television, Twitter and Facebook feeds, I’ve sought to find ways to support the truly extraordinary popular movements in my native Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere. This has, naturally, taken a toll on my nerves.

One way of relieving the stress inflicted on me in real time by the images, articles and accounts of severe state-sanctioned brutality against peaceful protesters has been baking – something I have always loved to do in my free time. During the Egyptian revolution, I was trying to perfect a chocolate cake recipe, sharing my trials with friends and neighbours. After several tries, I found the right balance of ingredients for a perfectly delicious, moist and rich chocolate cake on the afternoon of Feb. 11, just a couple of hours before Hosni Mubarak resigned as President of Egypt following three decades of repressive rule. I decided to name the cake “Thawra”, the Arabic term meaning revolution.

Today, two weeks after the fall of Mubarak, I’ve baked it again in honour of the people of Libya. Please find the recipe below, it is easy to make and absolutely scrumptious!

Thawra chocolate cake



  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Cocoa powder, ½ to ¾ cup depending on your taste
  • 75-100g of baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • ¾ cup margarine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 200 ml of fresh cream


  • 1 tablespoon of margarine
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • 75 ml cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa
  • Grated baking chocolate shavings (optional)
Directions for cake:
Pre-heat oven at 175 degrees Celsius. Grease cake pan (I use a round cake pan with a removable base).
Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl, and set aside. Break two eggs into a small bowl and using a fork, whip with vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together margarine and sugar until mixture is smooth (I don’t have an electric mixer and it turns out perfectly). Fold in egg mixture with the butter and sugar and mix until the texture of the batter is light and smooth.

Then add the fresh cream, which contributes to the cakes velvety taste and texture. Add cocoa and baking chocolate and mix well. Finally, add the flour mixture and blend well.

Place the batter in the pan and bake until a fork pressed in the centre of the cake comes out clean (for me it takes about 40 minutes).
Directions for icing:
Mix together margarine and icing sugar until smooth, then add vanilla and mix in fresh cream one spoon at a time until the texture of the icing is thick and creamy. Add cocoa and chocolate shavings.
Enjoy! Viva la revolution!