Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? Ultimately this is what made my decision easy when choosing what to bake with some delicious new chocolate I’d been sent from Lilly O’Briens.
I must admit though, this post is a tiny bit selfish as it combines two of my favourite things…cake and chocolate!
Confessions over, I actually ummed and aaahed for ages over what to bake and concluded that to really give this chocolate a run for its money I needed to bake my most complimented cake flavour – ta-da! Here you have it.
With the Christmas season now well and truly in full swing I also needed to jazz it up a little. Do not be scared off by this chocolate wrap – I promise you, it’s far far easier than it looks! All that’s needed is a little bit of patience.
Let’s start with the cake recipe first. I’ve been using this recipe for a while and it’s inspired by the amazing May-Clee Cladman and you can find it in her Romantic Cakes recipe book, but I’ve adapted slightly.
This recipe will fill three 8″ round tins and will bake each layer around 1.5″ tall so you end up with a lovely modern deep cake when assembled.
For the cake:
220g dark chocolate
2 teaspoons of fresh ground coffee
130g of self raising flour
130g of plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g of cocoa powder
480g of golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
120ml sour cream
1tsp of vanilla extract
50ml of vegetable oil
For the buttercream:
600g of Lurpak butter.
1000g of icing sugar
250g of melted dark chocolate
This recipe is super simple and quick.
- In a saucepan on medium heat add your butter, chocolate, water and coffee stirring slowly until all melted. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Turn on your oven to 180 and grease and line your three tins.
- Add all your dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir to combine. That’s your flour, sugar, bicarbonate, and cocoa powder.
- In another small bowl add your eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla.
- Then, and this is where the magic happens, pour your chocolate mixture into the dry bowl then add your egg mix so all three are combined together. It will be very runny, that’s normal, and it will be delicious looking too.
- Pour evenly between your three tins and turn down the oven to 160 degrees baking for 40 minutes or until the cake just starts to shrink away from the edge of the tin.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in their tins for a minimum of 30 minute before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
- Whilst cooling you can make your buttercream. Soften your butter in your mixer first and gradually add all the icing sugar until combined. Drizzle in the melted chocolate on slow speed until its silky smooth. Mine takes around 4 minutes. If doing by hand I suspect it will take around 10.
- Back to your cakes. When cool, level off so each layer is nice and flat. I use an Agbay cake leveller, but a bread knife or cake wire works fine too.
Having my cake layers ready I filled a piping bag with my buttercream and I pipe a layer of buttercream so it’s nice and even. At this point it doesn’t have to be neat and tidy, just even.
Add your next layer and repeat the process until your cake looks something like this.
Now you can completely cover your cake with the buttercream using a scraper and a turntable to get it nice and even.
When completely covered and as neat as you can possibly get it, take some greaseproof paper. Measure the height of your cake and cut your paper around 1cm higher. Measure the circumference, making sure your paper fits nicely around the whole cake where the ends match. Put the cut paper strip on a clear worktop and pop your cake in the fridge.
Now. Take a breath. It get’s a tad messy on this next part.
Melt 200g of Lily’s Dark Chocolate in a Bain Marie, or short blasts in the microwave will also work. Have a piping bag and nozzle ready to fill. I use this nozzle here. Don’t go too small as your chocolate wrap is more likely to break as it will be incredible delicate.
Fill your piping bag with the melted chocolate and swirl away over your strip of greaseproof paper, going over the edges onto your worktop.
When completely covered and happy with the pattern carefully lift up the strip and place on a clean sheet of paper bigger than your strip.
The chocolate needs to set so leave it be for around 15/20 minutes until dull and not so runny. It needs to set enough that you can lift it easily but not so much that it will crack. As soon as it’s shine starts to fade give it a little check by lifting on one corner.
When you think its ready take your cake out the fridge, lift up your chocolate wrap and start at the front of your cake with the middle of the wrap at the front and slowly, taking your time wrap around the cake and press down.
Back in the fridge it goes for another 20 minutes.
Now, here’s the fun part. When you take out the fridge you can very slowly start to peel off the greaseproof paper. It’s like magic and extremely satisfying! You’ll feel so proud – I promise!
Get your decorations ready for the top of the cake. I chose to pipe some swirls so I could use some of Lily’s Dessert Collection chocolates, taste just a few, y’know… just to check they’re not poisoned or anything. I then sprinkled on some gold dragees and added a few cute gingerbread men.
Sure to wow any Mum, boyfriend, husband, aunt or school fair even. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a giant slice waiting for me to eat it all up!