ALICE NIVENS’ CELEBRATORY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Our Celebratory Cake was featured on Channel 9's Postcards (12/08/16), where I demonstrated with Livinia Nixon how to bake & make it. It's a fail safe recipe - and one our most popular cakes! I like to use the chocolate cake base & mix it up with different flavours and decorations too!

 

INGREDIENTS

– 300g dark chocolate, at least 70% solids (chopped)
– 263g plain flour
– 98g dutch cocoa
– ¾ tsp baking soda
– 6 eggs
– 450g caster sugar
– 210ml oil
– 375ml buttermilk (homemade* or store bought), room temp
*Homemade buttermilk = 125ml milk + 1 ½ tsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)
 
 

method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C, grease & line 3 × 8” tins w baking paper. If you only have one, that’s alright – just bake each cake individually OR one big cake which you can slice up later into three.
     
  2. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl over saucepan, set aside to cool (alternatively you can melt chocolate in a microwave, stirring occasionally in 30 second increments).
     
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into bowl.
     
  4. Whisk eggs and sugar together to be light and fluffy.
     
  5. Slowly pour oil into egg mixture, followed by melted chocolate, milk and flour mixture - mix until just combined.
     
  6. Divide into three tins and bake for 35-45 mins (the cake will be cooked when you put a skewer in and it comes out clean).
     
  7. Cool in tins for 15 mins before turning out of the tins.
     
  8. Cool completely before frosting (the colder the better, you can put it in the fridge).

    To frost & finish the cake
     
  9. Once the cakes are removed from the tins, using a serrated knife, run it over the surface to even them out so they sit on top of each other balanced and more or less equally in width.
     
  10. Put a little bit of buttercream on the base of the plate so that the cake does not move during frosting process.
     
  11. Place the first layer of cake on the plate, and cover surface liberally with buttercream. You can do this with a spatula, or alternatively fill a piping bag with the frosting and squeeze directly onto surface of the cake.
     
  12. Using a palette knife, smooth the frosting into a uniform surface, before putting the second layer of cake on top.
     
  13. Repeat process 11 & 12, and place the final layer of cake UPSIDE DOWN so that the top of the cake is now completely flat.
     
  14. Press down tightly, and have a look on the side if the cake is straight up. If not, just gently nudge the cake layers until it’s more or less straight.
     
  15. With your piping bag or spatula, liberally spread frosting around the cake sides – it’s alright if it’s a big old mess!
     
  16. Use a scraper – you can buy one at specialty kitchenware shops (eg. House, Chef’s Hat, Cake Deco) or a paint scraper is perfect for the job! Place the scraper even with the base of the plate, and following the rounded edges of the cake, move along the perimeter until you’re happy with the smoothness. If the frosting gets soft, place the cake in the fridge for a few minutes and redo. You can repeat this step as many times as you like until you’re happy with the cake edges.
     
  17. Finally, spread a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake to finish the frosting process completely.
     
  18. Using a dessert spoon, drop spoonfuls of ganache on the edges of the cake, allowing them to naturally drip down the sides. Sometimes the drips may need some extra encouragement, so just use the tip of the spoon to guide them. Once you’re completed the sides, pour a generous dollop in the middle and smooth to the edges with the bottom of the spoon.
     
  19. Decorate the cake with whatever you please – you can place colours, candy, cookies – whatever you like! Happy eating!

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  1. Combine in kitchen aid and beat until light and fluffy, this process can take 15 mins or even longer sometimes – don’t worry! The longer you beat the buttercream, the fluffier and lighter in colour it gets!
    *You can flavour this buttercream anyway you like with fresh rinds, flavoured oils (Cake Deco have the largest range) and use food colouring to get any colour you want!

DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  1. Take thickened cream to boil on stove up, remove from heat.
  2. Add chocolate & mix thoroughly until all melted and the mixture is a thick consistency.
  3. Cool slightly before use, making sure it’s still runny for pouring.
 

TO DECORATE

– 1× buttercream frosting recipe
– 1× dark chocolate ganache recipe
– sweets, chocolate, candy, flowers – whatever you want to top the cake with!
 
– 360g unsalted butter
– 90g pure icing sugar
– 50ml full cream milk
– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
 
 
– 100g thickened cream
– 200g dark chocolate, chopped