Anyone else already hungry? I know I am, and I’ve eaten at least two slices of this beauty already! Sometimes you just need cake, and with a cocktail party on the cards for the Bank Holiday weekend it was the perfect excuse to try a new recipe.
This chocolate layer cake with vanilla frosting and salted caramel drizzle is a decadent dream, and inspired by two of my new cake blogging crushes. Firstly, Tessa Huff of Sweet Style CA and Rosie of Rosie’s Dessert Spot – both make insanely beautiful cakes and are definitely worth a follow right now! Go!
This was my first attempt at a drip cake, and even though I’ve watched like a bajillion videos and read SO many blog posts on them, I think some more practise will be in order! Getting the right consistency of ‘drip’ and ensuring you add the right amount is trickier than I imagined it would be.
An excuse to practise by making another cake is hardly a trial though right? I’ve become a little (read ALOT) obsessed with layer cakes at the moment, and can’t stop watching videos of frosting being perfectly smeared onto stacks of cake. So apologies if it gets a little cake heavy round thee parts soon! Though, is an apology for more cake really needed??
If you make any element of this bake though, go for the salted caramel drizzle. Its the PERFECT recipe, and makes more than you need which came in really handy for our household when my sister brought over brownies!
This chocolate layer cake recipe is SUPER moist! Its one of those bakes that needs to be left in the pans for a good 10-15 minutes after taking them out the oven. The sponges are also super bouncy, meaning you have to be delicate in transferring them to your cake stand. But once they’re cooled and encased in light fluffy buttercream they are so delicious – and even better the day after baking!
This buttercream is so light and fluffy – but you have to be prepared to whip that butter for a good 5 minutes or so to ensure it! You need to whip the butter to the point where it looks like frosting, which is confusing for the mind when you decide to taste it!
So have I convinced you that you need to try this yet?
Chocolate Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Salted Caramel Drizzle
312g plain flour
82g cocoa powder
2&1/2tsp baking powder
3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
155ml vegetable oil
400g caster sugar
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp almond extract
340ml whole milk
227ml hot strong-brewed coffee
500g unsalted butter
1kg icing sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
2tbsp whole milk
Salted Caramel Drizzle
150g caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
113ml double cream
2tbsp unsalted butter
flaked sea salt to taste
1tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake:
Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease and line three 8" baking pans.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Then set aside until needed.
Using a hand mixer beat together the oil and sugar for about two minutes. With the mixer still running, add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract ensuring you scrape down the sides to incorporate all the mixture.
On a low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Again, ensure you scrape down the sides to incorporate all the mixture.
Remaining on a low speed, stream in the coffee until just combined.
Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans. Bake in the oven for 23-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and the sponges bounce back.
Let them cool on a wire rack in the pans for at least 10-15 minutes, before removing them from the pans to completely cool.
For the salted caramel:
While the cakes are cooling begin making the salted caramel drizzle by placing the sugar, golden syrup and water in a heavy-bottomed pan and stir to combine.
Heat over a high heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until it turns a medium gold amber colour - this will take about 10 minutes. Once the caramel starts to deepen in colour, remove the pan from the heat. Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream, the mixture will bubble up so stand clear and keep stirring.
Add the butter, whilst continuing to stir until melted. Then add the salt and vanilla to combine, I added around 4 large pinches.
Pour into a heat-safe container (a pyrex bowl, jug or a jam jar will do) and set aside to cool and thicken.
For the frosting:
Put the unsalted butter into a large bowl and using a hand mixer beat for a good 6 minutes, until it is super creamy. Then slowly add the icing sugar in batches, beating continually with the hand mixer until all incorporated.
Add the milk and vanilla extract, and continue beating with the hand mixer until it is super light and fluffy.
For the assembly, place one sponge onto your cake stand and using a palette knife spread a layer of frosting on top. Repeat this with the next two layers.
Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream, and then using a cake scraper or a palette knife drag it around the cake to achieve a smooth finish, removing any excess buttercream.
Finally, pour the salted caramel over the top of the cake, coaxing it to slowly drip over the sides.
Excess Buttercream - As you scrape the cake to achieve a smooth finish, you will undoubtedly remove alot of the buttercream. Rather than wasting this, you can place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Once you're ready to use the buttercream again, place in the fridge overnight to defrost completely.
Black Forest Gateau. The classic seventies dessert is a personal favourite of Craig’s, so when his 25th Birthday rolled around I knew what was gonna be on the menu!
This is a boozy cake. There’s no getting around it, so if alcohol isn’t for you you might want to skip this one! It also makes the cake a little on the pricey side, so save it for a celebration.
Anyway, onto the actual cake! This is choc-a-block with filling, and packed with flavour! You’ve got the cherry brandy soaked sponges, kirsch plumped cherries and a lot of whipped cream. Surprisingly though its not too rich, mainly because the whipped cream cuts through it all!
So the trickiest parts to the Black Forest Gateau are as follows:
Cutting the sponges into four! The batter doesn’t yield huge cakes so cutting each into two was a little tense at times. But use a serrated knife, keep a steady but slow hand and turn the cake as you go.
Stacking the filling covered cakes! As you have to spread the cherry mixture onto the soaked sponges before stacking, when you do come to stack them its tricky! In hindsight, I definitely shouldn’t have stacked them on the opposite side of the kitchen to where they were cooling… But you live and learn!
Assembling! So as you can see from the slightly ‘rustic’ appearance of the gateau I didn’t exactly assemble the cake to perfection. But rustic = cute and handmade right? Tips I learnt from this was to really make sure the cherry filling is evenly spread so the cake doesn’t fall down at the sides. Otherwise the cakes like to split, just like mine did
All in all the Black Forest Gateau went down a treat, and I definitely urge you to make it next time you want to celebrate!
Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
Put the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and eggs into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and thick. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake tins ensuring the batter is level. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until cakes are beginning to shrink away from the sides. Leave them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, until turning them out onto a cooling rack.
Once the cakes are completely cool, cut each in half with a serrated knife and then place onto a board cut sides up.
For the filling, place the jam in a saucepan with the cherries and kirsch and place over a low heat. Bring the pan to a gentle simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring, until the jam has melted and the cherries begin to swell. Then leave to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the cherry brandy over the chocolate sponges, then spread three of them with the cherry mixture and leave to cool. Making sure that the sponge without the cherry topping is from the top half of one of the cakes.
Then whip 300ml of the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Transfer one of the sponges with the cherry topping to a cake stand or plate, and dollop a third of the whipped cream gently on top of the cherry mixture. Sprinkle with a little of the grated chocolate.
Top with another cherry covered sponge, and repeat the cream and chocolate layer. Do this again wth the remaining cherry covered sponge. Place the final sponge on top, with the top surface facing upwards.
Whip the remaining 200ml of the cream until soft peaks form, then spread the cream on top of the cake. Place a few fresh cherries on top, and then cover with the remaining chocolate.
Keep the cake chilled until ready to serve. Best served on the same day it's made.