Strawberries and cream chocolate Ivy cake

Last weekend, our neighbour Ivy celebrated her 91st birthday. NINETY-ONE!

This was definitely cause for a celebration cake. A bit of sneaky research revealed that creamy cakes are her favourite, so I set about making this strawberries and cream chocolate layer cake.

I used the same sponge recipe that I used for the chocolate gateau a while ago, but baked it in three layers as it rose out of the tin last time. I think this is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for chocolate layer cakes, it’s fudgey, chocolatey, and can hold the weight of several layers on top.

I spread each of the bottom two layers with melted strawberry jam, then piled on whipped cream with chopped strawberries mixed in. The top layer of the cake was decorated with a layer of chocolate ganache, halved strawberries arranged around the edge, and white chocolate writing.

We finished the cake with a few candles and took the it round to surprise Ivy. She loved it!

Strawberries and cream chocolate Ivy cake:

For the sponge

  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 125g plain chocolate
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the dry ingredients into the cake and fold until well combined. Beat in half of the buttermilk, then the melted chocolate and remaining buttermilk.

Divide the mixture between three 7″ tins (I only have two so I baked then in two goes, and weighed the mixture to make sure each tin had the same amount). Bake at 180 degrees on the middle shelf of the oven, for approximately 2 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the filling and decoration

  • 300g strawberries
  • 275ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 25g white chocolate

Halve 8 of the strawberries for the decoration and set aside. Finely chop the rest. Whip the cream until soft peaks are starting to form, then stir in the icing sugar and chopped strawberries.

Melt the jam, then brush onto two of the sponge layers. Divide the cream mix between the two sponges, and sandwich together.

Place the dark chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate and stir until well mixed. Refrigerate until thick enough to spread, then spread onto the third cake layer to within 1cm of the edge. Arrange the halved strawberries around the edge of the cake, then leave in the fridge until the ganache is set.

Melt the white chocolate and transfer to a piping back for the writing. It’s easier to decorate the top before it goes on the cake, so once the writing is done add the third layer. Add candles and celebrations and enjoy!

White chocolate raspberry rose cake

For this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog chose rose as the special ingredient.

I instantly thought of a recipe for a white chocolate gateau from my favourite cookbook, Chocolate by Joanna Farrow. It uses creme fraiche mixed with rosewater as the filling for two white chocolate sponges, filled with buttercream.

Although that was the inspiration, I wasn’t utterly convinced by the creme fraiche idea, so I thought about how I could incorporate the rose into a different filling. Eventually I settled on making a raspberry rose jam, which would also serve the purpose of ticking jam off my to-bake list.

I was a little worried the cake would be too dry with just jam as the filling, so I also added some white chocolate cream cheese between each layer.

Just to go completely over the top I made white chocolate modelling paste roses and leaves to decorate the cake, and tie in with the rose theme.

This is a pretty grand cake, but luckily I had the perfect reason to make it, as one of my colleagues had her last day at work this week before going on maternity leave. Unfortunately she got sick and didn’t make it in for her last day, but we took the cake to her house instead and she was kind enough to give us half back to share in the office, which I think everyone had secretly been hoping she would. Thanks Sam!

White Chocolate Raspberry Rose Cake

For the sponge:

  • 4 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g white chocolate, grated
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, until it leaves a trail when you lift the whisk. Remove from the heat, the whisk for a further 5 minutes. Fold in the sifted flour and chocolate then split the mixture between two 8″ cake tins and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden and springy.
For the filling:
Melt the white chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water, then beat into the cream cheese. When the cakes are cool cut each in half so you have four layers. I always put them in the freezer for half an hour beforehand to make them easier to cut. Place one layer on a plate or cakeboard and spread with a layer of jam. Spread another piece of cake with a layer of the cream cheese, then place on top of the jam (cream cheese side down). Repeat 3 times, ending with a layer of sponge with no filling on top.
For the icing:
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 75g butter
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2 or 3 tbsp milk
Melt the chocolate and butter together over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and beat in the icing sugar, adding milk a spoonful at a time if it seems too thick. Chill until a spreadable consistency, then spread all over the top and sides of the cake. I actually didn’t have enough icing as the crumb coat was quite tricky to do, so I ended up making half of this amount again to finish it off.
For the modelling paste:
  • 125g white chocolate
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
Melt the white chocolate, then beat in the glucose. It should create a ball that comes off the sides of the bowl. Chill in the fridge for a few hours (I left it overnight) then bring back to room temperature (or give it a quick blast in the microwave). I used this tutorial to make 4 roses, and cut leaf shapes out of the remaining paste.

1,000 calorie chocolate caramel lion birthday cake

This week was a special week.

It was the friendly pony’s birthday, and such a special day deserves a special cake.

Quite a while ago we saw a recipe on the BBC good food website for a chocolate caramel layer cake that had an obscene 1,000 calories per slice.

There’s almost nothing the pony likes more than big calories, but I insisted that I would only make such a big calorie cake for a special occasion…

The cake itself was actually quite easy to make and wouldn’t have taken too long – had I not decided that what would make it complete was a marzipan lion.

Having never made marzipan animals before I didn’t really know what to expect, but colouring it and moulding it was easy enough. The part that took me a good hour or more was making his mane, from individual thinly rolled pieces of marzipan…

I was happy with the finished lion though, even if he was a little on the chubby side.

I proudly placed him on top of 4 layers of vanilla, caramel, caramel-chocolate and chocolate sponge, sandwiched with caramel and coated in thick chocolate ganache (you can actually hear the calories if you read that sentence out loud).

The towering cake somehow managed to make a 25 minute car journey to the pony’s work, where everyone had a slice and seemed to enjoy it. One person actually asked if making cakes was my job, amazing!

The recipe I followed is here, and the only change I made was adding a little extra yoghurt to the chocolate layer as the mixture was a bit too thick after adding all the cocoa powder.

It really was an awesome cake, but unless you’re one of those hateful people who can eat and eat and never put on weight, I would definitely save it for a special occasion and only have a very small slice!

Super Chocolate Gateau

So this weekend I had a specific cake request from a friendly pony – a chocolate gateau with chocolate cream, Sara Lee style. After much searching through recipe books and looking online, I was unable to find anything that would be chocolatey enough, so i decided to adapt a chocolate fudge cake recipe from Joanna Farrow’s ‘Chocolate’ cook book, substituting her praline cream for a chocolate cream and cherry jam filling.

The recipe calls for an 8″ round cake tin, but I decided to split it between two 7″ tins. Looking at the list of ingredients I didn’t think it would make that much – how wrong I was! It’s as high as it is wide, at least, and extremely chocolatey, so I would recommend eating in small slices – not that the friendly pony paid any attention to that…

Super chocolate cream gateau with the first slice missing

Super Chocolate Cream Gateau

Cake Ingredients:

  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 125g plain chocolate
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Filling Ingredients:
  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 50g icing sugar, or to taste
  • 284ml double cream (I used light in a half-hearted attempt to cut calories)
  • about a third of a jar dark cherry jam
Method:
  • Add the lemon juice to the milk and leave to sour.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Sieve the flour, bicarb and cocoa powder in to the mixture and mix well (at the point the batter will be very thick and hard to mix).
  • Add half the soured milk and beat into the cake mix, then add the remaining milk and melted chocolate, beat until all combined.
  • Divide between two greased 7″ cake tins and bake at 160 degrees for 50 minutes, or until risen and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t overcook or it won’t turn out fudgy!
  • To make the chocolate cream, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water and leave to cool. Whip the cream, then add a spoonful into the melted chocolate to loosen (if it looks like the chocolate is going to seize, pop in the microwave for 10 secs and it should be fine). Add the chocolate mix to the whipped cream and stir until combined. Sieve the icing sugar in and beat it all together, then leave in the fridge to cool.
  • To assemble, wait until the cakes are completely cooled then slice each one in half. Use one of the top halves and turn upside down  onto a plate to use as the base. Spread a third of the jam onto the sponge, then top with a quarter of the chocolate cream. Add another layer of sponge and repeat, and the same again with the third layer. Place the final layer of sponge on top (one of the tops) and spread the remaining cream over it. Dust with cocoa powder and serve!
Slice of chocolate fudge gateau with chocolate cream

The first HUGE slice of gateau, cut for the friendly pony