There are some foods that just shouldn’t be done in halves. Ice cream should not be low fat, seafood should be in abundance, and cake should always, always be sensational. Dry, boring tasteless cake is just a waste of fat/sugar points in my opinion. I won’t reach for a piece of cake unless it’s eye-catching in appearance or has a flavour I just can’t resist.
Jaffa cake is my absolute favourite of favourites. You may have read previously about my obsession with Queen of Cakes‘ jaffa marble mud cake. To. Die. For. I am not joking. I have ordered it for various birthdays over the years, and I may have been inconspicuously stingy in cutting it and handing it out so there’d be ample left over. It’d be my last supper choice of dessert, simply sensational.
Lately I have noticed my ideas for baking have been around big layered cakes dripping in delicious frosting just itching to be ogled then eaten. I am new to baking layered cakes, my first one being only a few weeks ago. But I can see this new obsession growing, I am finding it hard to want to bake a one layer cake these days.
So, I decided a chocolate layer cake was necessary. I used the fudge cake recipe from Boutique Wedding Cakes by Victoria Glass as previously used here. Deliciously rich chocolate to please the diehard chocolate lover. And what goes well with dark chocolate? Raspberry of course.
My decorating ability does however leave little to be desired. I was at first concerned about how well this Swiss buttercream would turn out, but I didn’t consider my ability (or lack of) to move it around the cake decoratively. I watched a few youtube videos, I mean how hard could it really be, right? Well there is a reason people get paid big bucks to turn out fancy decorated cakes, and the frosting would have to be a part of it.
Take two and I was sufficiently happy enough to show it to you here. Note to self: enrol self into Megan’s cake decorating workshop. STAT.
Ingredients // makes 2 x 18cm cakes:
(Cake recipe from Boutique Wedding Cakes by Victoria Glass)
200g premium quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 2/3 cups milk
2 1/4 cups packed light muscovado sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 cups plain flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarb soda/baking soda
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 2 x 18cm cake tins and line with parchment paper.
Place chocolate, milk and 3/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and well combined. Put aside to cool.
Cream the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter in a bowl until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add eggs one by one and mix well. Add vanilla extract and salt and combine well. Fold in cooled chocolate.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda together in a separate bowl. Gently fold into batter mixture.
Pour batter into tins and bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, rotating tins after 25 minutes.
** Original recipe states cakes are baked in 25-30 minutes, but in my oven they take 45-50 (I’ve made this cake three times). Check on the cakes at 25 minutes (and not sooner), if they are still raw and wobbly when you move the tins, rotate tins and continue to bake.
Cakes are ready when a skewer entered into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap cakes in cling wrap and place into freezer. This will help when slicing the cakes.
Raspberry Swiss Buttercream
1 ½ cups raspberries
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Place raspberries into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the berries release their juices. Push the berries through a strainer to remove seeds and put sauce back into saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until sauce reduces to a concentrate. Set aside to cool.
Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a double-boiler over heat (you can pop your mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water if you don’t have a double-boiler). The mixture is ready once sugar is melted, you can test this by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers. Remove from heat once sugar has melted.
**Tip: Rub a slice of lemon over the inside of mixer bowl before adding egg whites to remove any traces of fat (egg whites apparently won’t peak if they come into contact with fat) and dry well.
Take bowl off heat and whisk until the mixture turns white, fluffy and doubles in size. This can take a good 10 minutes.
Once mixture has doubled in size, change to paddle attachment and ensuring the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to touch, start adding the butter a little at a time and whip that baby smooth and silky!
Add vanilla extract, raspberry concentrate and salt to the buttercream and whip until smooth.
To assemble cake:
Remove cakes from freezer. Trim off any doming on the top of the cakes and slice in half horizontally.
Place a small amount of buttercream onto your cake stand or board, and place the first layer of cake on top, flattest side down. Place about ½ cup of buttercream on top of the first layer and smooth out. Don’t worry if frosting drizzles over the edge of the cake, you’ll be frosting the sides once the layers are in tact.
Place second layer on top, and repeat with another ½ cup of buttercream. Repeat for the third, and with the fourth layer place it flattest side up to form the top of the cake. Completely coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat), and pop cake in fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove cake from fridge and frost with buttercream. Sprinkle top with grated chocolate or chocolate sprinkles. Cake keeps well if left out overnight, but if you do refrigerate it leave out for 30 minutes prior to serving.