Yup, this is almost exactly what my family said when they saw this cake. It can be in any variations of “I can’t believe you made this cake!”, “you made this cake?!” “omg, it looks professional!!” Thank you Lorraine Pascale for this awesome cake recipe!! If you don’t know Lorraine Pascale, she is a British model turned chef; she owns few cupcake bakeries in and around London. I can’t say her recipes are all easy and accessible (in terms of ingredients), but overall I find them pretty inspiring.
I decided to bake this cake because I wanted a special cake for my oldest daughter who turned 13 today!! I wanted a “non-kiddie” type cake to mark my daughter’s start of her teenage years (yikes!!).
Few things I want to note before diving into the actual recipe:
1. This recipe require you to use chocolate cigarillos. If you don’t know what they are, they look like this:
Just to let you know, if you live in the U.S.A. it’s quite difficult to find these in any stores. You can order online, but these are pretty expensive. So, instead of using chocolate cigarillos, I went to Wegmans market and bought Venetian Café Cream Wafer Rolls:
2. We did like the cake from this recipe, but as I have mentioned few times throughout my blog life that I am not a huge fan of buttercream icing/frosting. Although this cake and frosting were both pretty good, if it boils down to preference, I will use the Krazy Kake recipe because the Krazy Kake sponge is more moist and fluffy, and it uses chocolate ganache whip cream frosting. You can pretty much use any of your favorite cake recipes.
This will yield more than 12 servings (if sliced thinly): since the recipe came in metric, I converted them into US standard).
- vegetable oil or oil spray
- 200g/7oz (14 Tablespns/3/4cup) butter, softened
- 200g/7oz (1 cup) caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 140g/5oz ( 1-1/2cups) plain flour
- 60g/2½oz (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 400g/14oz plain, milk, or white chocolate cigarillos (about 75–80 in total)
For the buttercream:
- 250g/9oz (17-1/2 Tablespns/a little over 1 cup) butter, softened
- 500g/1lb 2oz (3-3/4 cups) icing sugar
- 100g/3½oz good dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled
For the decorations:
- fresh flowers, for a Christening cake
- strawberries or raspberries, for the girls
- figs, quartered, for the boys
- Preheat the oven to 180/C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 20cm/8in round deep cake tin with baking paper and brush or spray with oil. (I used 2-8inch round regular cake pans).
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they begin to go pale. Add half of the eggs and half of the flour and mix well. Add the rest of the eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and beat for a minute or two until the mixture is uniform. Dollop into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30–40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. (If you’re using regular cake pans, you can reduce the time to 20-25 minutes).
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream: put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk together until the mixture goes fluffy. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and whisk for a further two minutes.
- Once the cake is completely cool, remove it from the tin. Carefully cut the top flat with a large serrated knife. (Eat this bit as a chef’s perk!) (If you’re using regular cake pans you don’t have to serrate the top, only if you want to).
- Turn the cake upside down on a 20cm/8in cake board so that the bottom now becomes a nice flat top. Split the cake horizontally and sandwich the top and bottom together with a 1cm/½in layer of buttercream.
- Spread half of the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, making it as smooth as possible. Put it in the fridge to set before doing another layer – this makes it much easier to get neat squared-off edges.
- Gently push the cigarillos vertically onto the sides of the cake, positioning them as straight as possible and making sure they touch the bottom. (As I have mentioned, I used wafer rolls).
- The next step is up to you – I can’t tell you the wide-eyed looks you’ll get when you walk into a room holding this finished cake. Serve with a self-satisfied grin.
My opinion: Aside from the ones I have mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was a delicious cake!! Once again, it’s the preference thing here, I though buttercream to be too rich and sweet. If you’re using buttercream, make sure to bring the cake to a room temperature (I kept my cake in the fridge for few hours ). Also, I only added the Bartlett pears because I didn’t get enough raspberries, but hindsight, the pears and chocolate go really well!! I think I like the pear and chocolate pairing better than the raspberry and chocolate!
Newly added: December 12, 2011
I recently baked a birthday cake for my dear friend. I used the above recipe, but instead of the original cake and frosting I used the Krazy Kake and the whipped cream chocolate ganache frosting.