When I asked Theo what sort of cake he would like for his birthday this year, his reply was "something very chocolatey." I knew, then, exactly which cake I would bake, and how I was going to decorate it. The result was this:
The cake is large (perfect for birthdays) and beautifully moist, so keeps well for several days.
FOR THE CAKE
175g unsalted butter, softened
100g 50-60% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g ground almonds
275g dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
FOR THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
280g icing sugar
60g cocoa powder
175g butter, softened
3-4 tbsps milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degs C/fan 170 degs C/gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins, each 4.5cm deep.
2. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over 120ml of just boiled water. Stir until melted and set aside to cool.
3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or using an electric hand whisk), cream together the sugar and butter until very light and fluffy (this will take a good five minutes.) Add the vanilla extract to the eggs. With the whisk running, very slowly add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar, adding 1 tbsp of the floour during the process to prevent curdling, then add the melted chocolate and buttermilk.
4. Fold in the remaining flour very gently and divide the mixture between the tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Leave for a minute or two in the tins before turning out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave until absolutely cold.
5. To make the frosting use an electric whisk or mixer to combine the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter. Add the milk to make a soft cream (you may need to add a little more.) Sandwich the 2 cakes, bases together, then spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides.
6. Use your imagination to decorate as you wish!
This cake comes from Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns