It was my friend Tony’s 40th birthday party at the weekend and I was asked if I could make him a birthday cake. I always get a bit nervous when making friends cakes. I’ll admit I can sometimes knock out a good tasting cake but I’m not a great cake decorator. I’m more of a ‘rustic’ baker *ahem*, rather than a professional one. So when its for a big occasion like a 40th I get a bit anxious.
I decided to make a 3-layer chocolate fudge cake. Looking through all my recipe books I decided to adapt a recipe I found in Jo Wheatley’s ‘A Passion For Baking‘. Her recipe is for a 2 x 20cm sandwich cake. However I wanted a larger cake so increased the ingredients for a 23cm sandwich instead.
Since I didn’t get any good photos of the cake I made for Tony (trying to ice a cake on a very hot day does not make for good photos!), the photos in this post are of the same cake recipe, but as a 2-layer cake, just the way Jo Wheatley’s book states. I made this cake yesterday during the Murray v Djokovic match at Wimbledon. I couldn’t sit still watching it so I had to bake a cake to keep myself occupied while I watched it. I did the same thing last year when I made scones during his match with Federer. Thankfully this time, he only went and won! Hurray! So this really was a celebration cake.
20cm tin (23cm tin)
225g (300g) unsalted butter, softened
225g (300g) caster sugar
4 (5 large eggs, 1 egg yolk) large eggs, beaten
1 (1.3)tsp vanilla extract
200g (264g) self-raising flour
½ (0.7) tsp baking powder
½ (0.7) tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g (40g) cocoa
2 (2.6) tbsp full-fat milk
100g (132g) good-quality dark chocolate, melted
200g (264g) dark chocolate
100g (132g) milk chocolate
250ml (330ml) double cream
1 large packet of Maltesers
You will need 2 x 20cm (2 x 23cm) sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined with buttered baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180oc/160oc fan oven/350oF/gas mark 4.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy.
Gradually add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract.
Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa and milk, then mix until combined.
Add the melted chocolate and mix again until smooth.
Divide equally between the prepared sandwich tins and spread level.
Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 22-25 minutes (20cm)/25-28 minutes (23cm) until a skewer comes away clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Turn the cakes out of the tins onto a wire cooling rack and leave until cold.
To make the ganache, warm the double cream in a saucepan then stir through the finely chopped dark and milk chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth.
Pour the ganache into a shallow dish, cool and then chill to firm.
To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on a cake or serving plate and spoon half of the ganache on the cake and spread. Then scatter with crushed Maltesers.
Cover the top of the second cake layer with ganache, spreading it smoothly with a palette knife. Sandwich the two cakes together and finish off with more Maltesers.