A little while ago, a friend of mine was approaching his 30th birthday.
If you asked him, he would say it was the worst thing in the world, he didn’t want to celebrate it, and no one would even remember. Yeah, right.
Instead of ignoring it, our group of friends decided to plan a surprise birthday afternoon/evening, taking him out for food, drinks, music and more drinks, and banishing the old age depression for one day at least.
Obviously, I had to make a surprise cake, and considering that near enough every time we’ve been in the same room one of us has been drinking rum, deciding the flavour was easy.
It took me a while to decide how I wanted the cake to look, as a lot of my ideas were a bit too girly for this manliest of men. I settled on chocolate shards sprayed gold and placed all around the sides, and a pile of chocolate rum truffles on top (just in case this monstrosity of a cake wasn’t tall enough already).
I managed to transport the cake in secret to the place we were eating, and then bring it out after the meal. Even though we had all eaten insane amounts of food already, most people tried a bit of the cake and the feedback was good – my personal favourite comment was “I’ve never had an orgasm over a cake before, but….” – a decent if slightly weird endorsement, I think?!
Chocolate rum truffle cake (adapted from Charlotte White’s Burlesque Baking and Oh Sweet Day)
- 220g dark chocolate
- 220g butter
- 160ml water
- 125g plain flour
- 125g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 480g caster sugar
- 40g cocoa powder
- 125ml buttermilk
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp golden rum
For the icing:
- 170g dark chocolate
- 3tbsp cream
- 225g butter
- 85g cocoa powder
- 200g icing sugar
- 3-4 tbsp rum
For the ganache:
- 50g dark chocolate
- 50g double cream
For the truffles and decoration:
- 100g dark chocolate
- 50ml double cream
- 1-2 tbsp rum
- 100g dark chocolate
- Edible gold shimmer spray
For the sponge, melt the chocolate, butter and water in a saucepan over a low heat then set aside. Sift the two flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Slowly pour this into the dry ingredients, and beat it in to create a thick batter. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir until completely combined, then divide between 3 greased and lined 7″ round tins (the original recipe is for an 8″ cake, but I wanted it to be smaller and taller). Bake at 160 degrees (140 fan) for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and a skewer comes out clean.
When the cakes are cooled, slice off the tops of the cakes to level the layers, then brush the rum all over the tops. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and cream and leave to cool. Beat the butter to soften, then gradually beat in the cocoa powder and icing sugar until completely combined. Add the chocolate and rum and beat until light and fluffy – taste as you go with the rum, I like a strong flavour but you might prefer a little less.
To make the ganache, simply melt the chocolate and cream together and stir until smooth.
To make the truffles, chop the first 100g of chocolate finely, then heat the cream and rum to almost boiling. Pour this over the chocolate, leave for a minute to melt the chocolate, and then stir until smooth. Chill in the fridge until completely firm, then roll into small round balls. With the remaining chocolate, finely grate about 15g worth and use this to roll the truffles in before spraying them with the gold shimmer spray. Melt the rest of the chocolate and then spread fairly thinly onto a large sheet of baking paper and leave to set.
Spray the chocolate with the gold shimmer spray, then break it up into small shards. Assemble the cake by spreading icing between each cake layer and all over the outside. Place the shards of chocolate all over the sides of the cake, and then spread the ganache on top (if it’s cooled down and gone too thick you may need to give it 5 or 10 seconds in the microwave). Leave for 30 minutes to set, then place the truffles in a pile in the middle of the cake.
This is one of the longest methods I think I’ve ever written, but it’s worth it, trust me! Once assembled, keep the cake in the fridge until serving – it’s so rich that I think it tastes best colder.