There has been a bit of radio silence on Bee’s Teas recently, and apologies for that. The last few months have seen me being a busy bumble bee (quite literally) and baking sadly had to take a back seat. But now that things have calmed back down, Bee’s Teas is back up and running, full of new and exciting ideas for yummy recipes.
My older sister recently got married, and she asked me to make a cake for a gathering the night before. After giving it a good hard think, I realised that there was no better person to turn to for inspiration than one of my favourite bakers, Lorraine Pascale. I had been waiting for the perfect occasion to make her ‘I can’t believe you made that’ chocolate cake and this was definitely it! It was fun to make and with a few tweaks, it pulled off the Wow Factor.
400g butter (softened)
400g caster sugar
8 medium eggs (lightly beaten)
280g plain flour
120g cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
400g chocolate cigarillos or chocolate fingers (roughly 75 – 80)
250g butter (very soft)
500g icing sugar (sifted)
100g good quality dark chocolate
2 tsp milk
Box of chocolate (mixture of white, milk and dark chocolate)
Note: The above ingredients are doubled from the original recipe. Should you want to make a smaller version, half the measurements to make 1 cake, then slice it in half before decorating to make two layers.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C, and grease and line two 20cm cake tins. Cream the butter and sugar together until they become pale and fluffy, then beat in half of the egg mixture and half of the flour. Do not worry if it starts to slightly curdle as it will even itself out. Once combined, add the rest of the eggs and flour along with the remaining ingredients, and beat until fully combined. Split the mixture between the 2 tins, make a small well in the middle of each and place in the oven for roughly 45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean). They will still be slightly wobbly but that is good as the finished cake will have a lovely fudge texture.
Leave the cakes to cool completely in their tins. If you want to bake the cakes ahead of time and freeze them, then this is the point to do so. Wrap them in 2 layers of cling film and 1 layer of foil and place in the freezer. Take them out the night before you need them and leave them to defrost in the fridge in their wrappings (placing them in the fridge will stop them from getting soggy).
Cut the tops off both cakes so that they are level. Melt the dark chocolate by placing it in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave to cool slightly. Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk until the mixture is silky soft. If it is still a bit stiff, add a drop more milk to loosen it up. Stir in the melted chocolate until it is fully combined. Place a few heaped tablespoons of the buttercream on the top of one of the cakes and spread it around evenly with a spatula. Turn the other cake upside down and place it on top (so that the cake has a flat top).
Gently spread a thin layer of buttercream all around the top and sides of the cake and leave it to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is the ‘crumb’ layer and ensures that no crumbs get mixed into the top layer. Once set, remove the cake from the fridge and cover it in the remaining buttercream, smoothing the top and sides so that they are level. Uniformly place the cigarillos around the side of the cake with no gaps between them (they should sit nicely in the buttercream). I ordered mine from the Chocolate Trading Co, which has a wide range of chocolate decorating products.
Once done, gently place the chocolates on the top of the cake (my choice was Thorntons). Add any extra decorations to suit the occasion – a nice ribbon tied around the cigarillos adds a lovely bit of colour to the cake. Enjoy