Chocolate Birthday Cake

A seriously chocolately cake!

The sponge is a Victoria Sandwich, with 30g of cocoa powder replacing 30g of the flour. A fatless sponge works very well too.

The filling is a simple buttercream made by beating together 75g of softened unsalted butter, 200g sifted icing sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 50g of cooled, melted dark chocolate until smooth and creamy.

The topping is a mirror glaze (recipe below). This is a very simple cake icing that sets very smoothly with an impressive shine.

To assemble the cake, put one of the cooled cakes onto a wire rack, use most of the buttercream to sandwich together the two cakes and use the remainder to cover the top and sides of the cake roughly – this gives the glaze a base that it can stick to rather than just pouring it over the cake. If you pour it straight over the cake, crumbs can get into and onto the glaze.

When the cake has been filled and covered in buttercream, put a sheet of greaseproof under the wire rack and pour over the cooled glaze, ensuring the top is completely covered and allowing it to drip down the sides. The top should smooth out immediately by itself. Use a palette knife to ensure the glaze covers the sides. A lot of the glaze will have collected on the greaseproof – use this as needed to ensure full coverage, but any surplus can be frozen and used at a later stage (just heat gently when defrosted).


For this cake, I added further decorations: chocolate cigarillos around the cake, a disc of tempered chocolate set on transfer sheets on top, and a sprinkling of chocolate curls – a touch more than a gentle flirt with chocolate! The only thing missing is the large “70” to be piped on the disc but I had run out of white chocolate! A house without chocolate is a sad place indeed!!!

But the simplest version of this cake, made up to and including the glaze, is nice in its own right.

Mirror Glaze

  • 80ml cold water
  • 80ml double cream
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2 sheets leaf gelatine

Method

  1. Place the gelatine in a little water and set aside.
  2. Put the water, cream and sugar in a pan and, stirring to dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
  4. Sieve the mixture to ensure there are no lumps.
  5. Squeeze the gelatine to get rid of most of the water and add the gelatine to the chocolate mixture. Stir to dissolve and leave to cool at room temperature for about 45 minutes or so  – with this amount of gelatine the mixture will not set fully; it will only just thicken as it cools down and will set just enough to hold its shape when poured over a cake.
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