It was my birthday last week and I decided to make a triple layer chocolate cake! I’ve been fiddling about with this Hummingbird Bakery recipe for a while and I think I’ve finally cracked it! It’s very rich and moist and will make enough cake for 20+ people, so it’s not one to make unless you’ve got a lot of people to feed! I got a new palette knife and an icing turntable just after Christmas and was keen to try and make an incredibly smooth outside. I think I might need a little more practice, but I was still incredibly proud of the result! :)
You will need:
- 160g butter at room temperature
- 550g caster sugar
- large pinch of salt
- 90g cocoa
- 400g plain flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 480 mls gold top milk from Jersey or Guernsey (whole milk will do if you can’t get this one)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if you don’t have any)
for the buttercream frosting
- 100g very soft butter
- 100mls gold top/whole milk
- 500g icing sugar
- A bit of boiling water
- 100g cocoa powder
- Preheat your oven to 180°c.
- Beat together the butter, sugar, salt, cocoa, flour, and baking powder in a freestanding mixer on a medium speed until it is well combined and is soft and granular to the touch.
- While your dry mix is mixing, measure out your milk into a mixing bowl and add the eggs. Whisk lightly until beaten and slightly frothy. Gradually add the milky eggy mix to your stand mixer, letting it gradually come together. When it’s all in the bowl, turn up the speed slightly and add in the vanilla.
- Scrape down the edges and mix again until you’re happy the mixture is smooth and well combined – but be careful not to overmix it. An over beaten sponge can lose all its lightness.
- Grease three 8″ round cake tins (I only have two, so I have to do this in two batches) and bake for roughly 20-40 mins. This depends entirely on your oven – I tend to have a very quick check every five mins after 20 mins, but it prob won’t be done till 30 mins at least.
- While the cakes are cooking, make the frosting. I am a bit of a devil with frosting, as I never follow recipes and tend to just throw in the sugar, butter etc until it tastes right and is a good texture. So the above figures might not be 100% accurate…! I start by beating the butter on its own until it’s soft and spread out in the bowl. I then gradually add about 150g of icing sugar at a time, along with a tbsp of cocoa until the mix becomes delicious but slightly stiff. Then I add a bit of whole milk to loosen it up and beat it on medium until it fluffs up and becomes stiff enough to stick a cake together with. Add some boiling water if you need to loosen it up more but be very sparing! Cover the bowl with cling film and leave. I am not very disciplined with icing and do tend to make it up as I go along, so if you’re a beginner and you don’t want to brave ad libbing, then there is a nice recipe here you could try!
- When the cakes bounce back slightly and a skewer comes out clean, they are ready to come out of the over. Leave to cool in their tins for 5 mins until they have slightly come away from the edges of the tins and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool for an hour or two.
- When the cakes are cold, mix up your frosting again to make sure it’s not gone too stiff. I usually pop my palette knife into a mug of boiling water about 30 seconds before I start frosting. Splodge a little bit of frosting onto your cake plate or board so that the cake doesn’t slide around, and place a layer of cake on top. Smooth some of the frosting onto the top and spread evenly with the warm palette knife. The heat should melt the butter slightly and make spreading easier. Go down over the sides of you want to completely cover the cake. You can use an icing turntable if you want a smooth finish (that’s what I did).
- Once you have a good solid covering of frosting on your first layer, carefully place another on top and repeat the frosting process. Once that is done, place the final layer on top and frost. Once the cake is all together, you can use your warm palette knife to smooth the edges of the cake.