I made this cake for my 18th birthday. Before you feel sorry for me my mum offered to make me a cake, but no way was I going to let anyone other than myself make this (it was literally the highlight of my birthday.) I’ve been drowning in revision but still spent a week sketching out different ideas and thinking of colour schemes, flavours blah blah blah, so when I finally got to make it I WAS SO EXCITED. I think I felt the way God did when he was making Earth and putting fish in the sea. I’m really proud of this cake; it’s forever in my heart and thighs.
As I was focusing so much on how the cake was going to look, I had a last minute panic that I had forgotten about how it would actually taste. Kind of an important feature. To solve this problem I decided to add some raspberry flavouring to the buttercream, seeing as the cake is pink and berry themed, and hooooo boy it turned out delicious. For the cake itself I used the ‘chocolate creation’ recipe from the GBBO book. I used this when I made my mums’ birthday cake back in November and I was SO impressed with it. I usually make it a day in advance and it’s still really moist and rich, it doesn’t need much levelling, and it comes out of the tin like a babe. If you’re impatient and clumsy like me this cake is not going to crumble or break. I wish I had this blog when I made my mums’ birthday cake because it was hands down the best thing I have made in my life (a three tiered chocolate salted caramel cake with chocolate bark and gold dusted truffles (I’m drooling at the memory.)) Making that cake was the first time I ever started in depth planning and sketching, and really putting effort into decorating, so I think that it made me realise I have a passion for this.
Anyway, back to my own cake. It is pretty big, three layers of 8 inch cakes. I wanted it to have height and emphasised this by stacking it up with chocolate bark I made (I will do a separate recipe for this!), strawberries, cherries and crushed meringue. I also attempted to do an ombre effect with the buttercream for the first time. It’s not the neatest but I’m happy with it. I just really want to eat some more of this cake again but it’s long gone. I need to stop talking about it because it’s making me hungry.
If chocolate cake is not your type (alien), I made my dad a birthday cake just the week before this (June is the month of birthdays in my family) which was carrot, so please have a look:Carrot cake celebration cake
For the cake:
- 125g cocoa powder
- 200ml boiling water
- 6 large eggs
- 100ml milk
- 350g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 200g softened butter
- 550g caster sugar
For the buttercream:
- 250g softened butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 20-30 drops raspberry food flavouring
- red food dye, if you are doing the ombre effect
For the decoration:
- 2 crushed meringues
- 1 punnet strawberries
- Tub of glazed cherries
- Chocolate bark (recipe in my next post)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160c fan. Grease three 8 inch sandwich tins and set aside. Stir the cocoa powder and boiling water together in a bowl until you have achieved a thick paste. Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat together until it forms a smooth thick batter.
- Divide the cake mix evenly between the tins and then place in the oven for 30 minutes. or until well risen. The tops of the cakes should spring back slightly when pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes and then turn out on a wire rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter for a few minutes with an electric whisk until very smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar as you continue to whisk on a high speed. Add the drops of raspberry flavouring to that intensity you prefer, and carry on whisking until the buttercream is soft and smooth.
- Divide the buttercream evenly between 3 bowls. In the first bowl, add a splash of red food dye and combine until you have your deepest shade of pink (I did this to sight so there are no exact measurements.) In the second bowl add a little less dye, stiring until a paler shade of pink is reached. Add a smaller amount of dye to the remaining bowl, so that there is just a hint of pink.
- Place one of the cake layers on a stand with a small dab of buttercream underneath to hold it in place. Cover this layer on top and around the edges with the darkest bowl of buttercream, leaving a little left over. Place the next layer on top and cover this with the middle shade of buttercream, then finally top with the last layer and cover this with the palest buttercream, leaving a little left over. With the remaining bits of buttercream and the tip of an offset spatula, begin to smooth the shades up the cake. Apply very little pressure and spin the cake around as you work your way up and around, until the shades have blended to create an ombre effect.
- Arrange the chocolate bark on top of the cake by sticking it inside the sponge to stand up. In front of this stack some strawberries and cherries, and then sprinkle some crushed meringue over the top. If the bark needs some extra support place cherries behind it. Slice a few strawberries thinly and stick into the butter cream around the sides of the cake in a line (don’t do this if the cake isn’t going to be eaten immediately because I realised the juice seeped into the buttercream and made it kind of slide down.)
- Photograph! EAT.
Cake recipe from GBBO Book/BBC website Chocolate creation cake, buttercream from Jane’s patisserie carrot cake recipe