So it’s only my first Blogmas and I have already failed! But never mind, because yesterday I made my first wintry bake of the festive season and cake makes everything better, right?
So here I present you my ‘frosty forest chocolate sponge cake’, for lack of a better name. It’s made of two chocolate sponges sandwiched together and covered with blue/green vanilla buttercream icing and decorated with chocolate trees, sugar snowflakes and…edible glitter!
It’s a pretty simple cake, but for anyone wondering how you can make it, here is the recipe!
For the cake:
8oz self-raising flour, sifted
8oz caster sugar
4tbsp cocoa powder, sifted into the flour
1tsp baking powder, sifted into the flour
For the chocolate trees: 200g dark chocolate or dark chocolate flavoured cake covering
For the icing: 200g butter, softened
400g icing sugar
A couple of drops of vanilla essence
Blue food colouring
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 (160C if you have a fan oven). Grease and line two normal cake tins with greaseproof paper.
First off, you want to make your trees so they have time to set enough to stick them to the cake. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, putting it in for 30 seconds then stirring, 20 seconds then stir, then in 10 second burst until your chocolate is all melted. Put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes so it’s not quite so runny, then snip the corner off and create your trees on greaseproof paper by drawing a thick line up the middle and then zig-zagging the chocolate along each side. Put in the fridge to set while you make your cake.
To make your cake, first start by creaming the butter and sugar together in a medium-large bowl.
Add the eggs one by one, along with a quarter of the dry ingredients mixture each time. You can beat the mixture together using a hand mixer, a worktop mixer or just some good old elbow grease and a wooden spoon. Make sure there are no lumps of flour or any uncombined ingredients around the edge of the bowl by scraping it with a spatula into the middle.
Split the mixture between the two cake tins and make the mixture is even by banging it on the work surface a little bit. Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Once you have taken your cakes out of the oven and pricked it with a fork or knife to make sure it is cooked all the way through, turn them out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool entirely.
While your cake is cooling, you can make your buttercream icing. Put your butter in a bowl and mix in the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, so it doesn’t create an icing sugar cloud while you’re mixing it! Add a few drops of vanilla extract to the buttercream, and add as much food colouring as you would like – I used blue to make it look more wintry, but you can use whatever colour you would like. (Turns out using blue colouring in buttercream turns it a kind of minty green – not what I was aiming for, but nice anyway.)
Now’s the time to put your cake together! If you want to, you can level your cakes off by cutting the top off, but I never bother with this. Find a nice plate you want to serve your cake on and spread buttercream on the bottom sponge. If you want to, now is the time you can add some jam, or if you want to go for even more chocolate, some people like to spread Nutella in the middle of their cakes.
Place the second cake on top of the first one and carefully push it down a little. Next, spread a thin layer of the buttercream all over the top and sides of both cakes. Leave this to set. (This is called the crumb coat and will stop cakey crumbs getting in the pretty outer layer of icing.) If you don’t have time, like I didn’t yesterday, you can skip this part!
Once the first thin layer of icing has set, spread the rest of the icing all over the cake in a medium-thick layer, hiding all the cake. Smooth it over the top and around the sides.
Take your chocolate trees out of the fridge – they should be completely solid by now. Carefully peel them off the greaseproof paper and press them gently to the side of the cake. Repeat this all the way around the cake.
To finish, you can leave it as it is, or you can add more decorations of your choice. I went for some super cute sugar snowflakes on the top and edible silver glitter up the tree trunks and all over the top. If you want to make it look even more wintry you can dust icing sugar all over the top!
And there you have it! Your tree-adorned chocolate sponge cake. Like I said, it’s pretty simple, but it can make quite an impressive centrepiece! When I took it to the Korean Society Christmas party last night it was like the cake paparazzi had turned up!