Have you ever wanted to make something impressive and beautiful but don't have the patience for fiddly icing and sugar flowers? This cake is easy to make, and foolproof. The icing and cigarello sticks hide any flaws in your cake. It is my favourite cake to make, and one of the most popular amongst my clients, and this recipe is GLUTEN FREE.
Follow my simple steps and good luck. This recipe makes a 9 inch round cake approx 4 inches high. Plenty big enough for at least 20 small slices.
What you will need before you start baking
- 3 x springform non stick 10 inch round cake tins -
- Greaseproof Paper
- 1 x 12 inch round silver cake board - I get mine from cake stuff
- 1 x 9 inch round silver cake board - I get mine from cake stuff
- Ribbon of your colour choice
- Pritt stick
- Name/message cake topper - I get mine from
- Decorations for the top of your cake - in the past I have used chocolates from hotel chocolat, the favourite sweeties of the birthday girl/boy, chocolate shavings from The Chocolate Trading Company and fresh flowers of your choice can be beautiful on these cakes.
- Chocolate cigarello sticks from The Chocolate Trading Company(you will need approx 85 cigarellos for a 9 inch cake)
- Electric Scales
- Kitchenaid or Kenwood mixer (ideally)
- Large metal mixing bowls
- Metal spoons, spatulas etc.
For the cake:
- 900g plain GOOD QUALITY chocolate, cut into chunks - use dark chocolate, not MILK!
- 675g caster sugar
- 530ml boiling water
- 675g cold butter
- 18 eggs, FREE RANGE - separated (separate them into CLEAN METAL BOWLS)
- 3 tsp instant coffee granules
- 6 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Optional: grated rind and juice from 1 orange
- Cut the butter into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Grease and line the cake tins with greaseproof paper/baking parchment
- Mix the chocolate and sugar together in a magimix - you should end up with a powder
- Add the boiling water, butter cubes, egg yolks, vanilla, coffee and orange (if using) to the chocolate and mix
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peak in a metal bowl
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a metal spoon
- When you have folded all the egg whites into the mix, (make sure there are no white lumps), you can divide the cake mix into your 3 tins
- Put your cakes into the oven and cook for approx 40-60 minutes. They are cooked when a skewer is inserted and it comes out clean
- When your cakes are ready, remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack and then leave them in the FRIDGE OVERNIGHT to cool and firm up. It is very important to do this as otherwise your cakes will be too crumbly to handle.
For the icing:
- 750g butter, softened
- 1.5kg icing sugar - sieved
- Milk - approx 200ml
- Vanilla Bean Paste - 3 tsps
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder - sieved
- 100g melted plain chocolate
- Orange rind (optional) if you want a chocolate orange taste!
- Cut the butter into small cubes and place into your Kenwood/Kitchen aid with the vanilla bean paste
- Beat this and leave it beating for approximately 15 minutes - YES SERIOUSLY! You want your butter to turn white and be really really soft before you add any icing.
- Once your butter is soft and white, slowly add in half of the icing sugar and beat for another 15 minutes
- Add in the other half of the icing sugar, beat again for 15 minutes. Then add in the cocoa powder and melted chocolate and mix.
- Add in a splash of milk until you get a 'dropping consistency' - if you put some on a wooden spoon it should slip off without you forcing it too hard.
- Mix in the orange rind now if you are using it.
- Do not put your icing in the fridge - leave it at room temperature
- Any left over icing can be frozen for up to 3 months, but when you go to use it again de frost it thoroughly and re beat.
- Remove greaseproof paper from the cakes and cut each cake in half if it is not too flat. Dont worry if it has flattened so much you cannot do this - you need a minimum of three layers and you have three cakes!
- The cake will have shrunk a little bit so should fit onto a 9 inch board nicely. IF some of the sides are over spilling the board, cut them down to fit it. If you cut it too much - dont worry - you can cover it up with your yummy butter icing!
- Melt some more chocolate and spread this all over your 12 inch cake board and leave to cool and dry.
- Then put a dollop of icing onto the 12 inch cake board and put the 9 inch cake board on top of this, secure firmly.
- Layer up your cakes onto the 9 inch board and fill between with generous amounts of butter icing.
- Carefully ice the cake all up the sides and all around - be generous!
- Smooth off the sides neatly
- Alternately put one white chocolate cigarello stick, then one dark chocolate cigarello stick round the sides, making sure they are lined up nicely and at the same height. You can use just one colour here - it is entirely up to you.
- Carefully tie a ribbon around the whole cake to secure you cigarellos in place.
- Use pritt stick around the edge of the 12 inch cake board and carefully place your ribbon flat around the base edge of the board - we dont want to see any silver sides!
- Decorate the top of your cake as you wish - with fresh flowers, cake toppers, sweets, fruit or chocolate shavings - entirely your choice!
- Leave in the fridge overnight and then serve the next day.