My sister asked me to make my nephew’s Christening Cake a few months ago which I was slightly nervous about but very excited to do. I spent ages trawling through loads of recipes and ideas of what I could make and came across a delicious looking chocolate wedding cake recipe which sounded perfect. I then had to decide how to decorate it. If you know me well, you will know that making decisions is not my strong point – I can be very indecisive – and when it comes to cakes there are sooooo many options it makes it even harder!
I did relish the challenge when Sarah asked me to do this last year. Yes, I know, I have been meaning to post this for quite some time. I don’t really have an excuse as I was made redundant a few months ago, and am also now waiting for my own new little family member to arrive, who is now overdue and seems quite happy to keep us waiting, so apart from getting ready for our little one, I’ve had plenty of time to write this post.
Anyway, back to the cake decorations…. I found this great silicone fondant icing button mould from Lakeland and thought that would be perfect – particularly in blue and white icing. However, I didn’t think that was enough and remembered the planned theme for Oliver’s nursery was going to be something to do with giraffes so decided to make my own fondant giraffe for the first time – I’m very proud of that giraffe, although my Father said it looked a bit like a cow which was nice of him, but that shows I’m multi-talented I think!! I found loads of really great YouTube tutorials on how to make fondant animals, with the one by Little Ounces Cake Company being the most helpful in my opinion. The first of her three videos can be found here.
The cake was absolutely delicious, and definitely my favourite of the chocolate sponges I’ve made over the last few months -and one I’d make again (although not quite so big!)
To ensure the cake was level, I did cut the tops off each layer and used the scraps to make a very calorific tiramisu. It was DELICIOUS!
Double Chocolate Cake
- 400g butter
- 200g plain chocolate
- 700g plain flour
- 800g caster sugar
- 100g cocoa
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 large eggs
- 400ml buttermilk
- 2 x 200g bars white chocolate
- 550g softened butter
- 550g icing sugar
- Decorate as desired
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of deep, round 20cm and 15cm cake tins with baking parchment – making sure the paper comes a few cms above the sides.
You’ll be making the four cakes in two batches, so only weigh out half of everything for each batch.
Boil the kettle. Put half the butter and chocolate in a pan and gently melt, stirring. Mix together half of the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarb with a pinch of salt. Whisk 2 of the eggs and 200ml buttermilk together. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add 150ml boiling water and whizz everything together with an electric whisk until lump-free. Divide between the tins and bake for 40-45 mins, swapping round after 30 mins if they’re on different shelves (the 15cm one should be done after 40 mins). To test they’re cooked, push in a skewer and check it comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins.
Repeat the first two steps again, so you end up with 2 x 20cm cakes and 2 x 15cm cakes.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat together the butter and icing sugar, then beat in the white chocolate. When the cakes are cool, split each one in half. Use the icing to sandwich back together so you end up with 2 x four-layered cakes. Sit the 20cm cake on your serving plate and spread some more icing over the top. Sit the smaller cake on top of that, and completely cover with icing.
Decorate it however you like, and most importantly enjoy.
It was a bit of a labour of love, but I had great fun making and decorating (and eating) the cake, and it was definitely a hit. The fondant giraffe is still sitting on my sister’s kitchen worktop a few months on (although now missing an arm and a horn) so it’s definitely been appreciated.
NB: To prepare in advance, I made the cakes a week or so before and froze them. I thawed them out the night before I wanted to decorate the cake and it was absolutely fine. Just wrap well in cling film and foil.