• Sweet moments

    Life’s special occasions should be accompanied by a decadent slice of cake. Recipes & styling: Chiara Turilli
    Sweet moments

    Chocolate cake with blueberry preserve and ombré icing

    Prep 80 min | bake 30 min 
    Serves 18–22 

    INGREDIENTS

    For the chocolate cake
    Flour 3½ cups
    Caster sugar 3 cups
    Cocoa 1½ cups
    Baking soda 4 tsp
    Baking powder 4 tsp
    Salt 1 tsp
    Eggs 4
    Strong black coffee 2 cups
    Buttermilk 2 cups
    Vegetable oil 1 cup
    Vanilla extract 2 tbsp
    For the purple ombré icing
    Butter 750 g
    Icing sugar 700 g
    Milk 10 tbsp
    Vanilla extract 1 tsp
    Purple gel food colouring
    Blueberry preserve 1½ cups
    To decorate
    Black grapes 1 punnet
    Gold dust 2 tsp
    Grape vines 

    METHOD
    1 For the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease 4 × 22 cm cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper.
    2 In a bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Combine until smooth.
    3 Divide the batter into the four baking tins, and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
    4 Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.
    5 For the purple ombré icing, use a paddle attachment to beat the butter until creamy and light in colour. Add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla, and continue to beat for a further 3 minutes. Add 2 small drops of food colouring gel to create the desired colour for the lightest section of the cake.
    6 To assemble, place one cake layer on your serving plate, followed by an even layer of the purple icing and then ½ cup
    of the blueberry preserve. Repeat with the remaining layers, finishing with an even layer of icing on the top.
    7 To create the crumb coat, spread a thin layer of icing over the entire cake before chilling in the freezer for 30 minutes.
    8 Remove the cake from the freezer and smooth over another layer of the icing.
    To create the ombré effect, add an extra 2 drops of the gel food colouring to the remaining icing and spread on to the bottom part of the cake, blending it into the existing icing.
    9 To decorate, brush the black grapes with gold dust and assemble on top of the cake. Decorate with vine leaves and serve. 

    Vanilla cake with rose strawberry jam and buttercream icing

    Prep 70 min | bake 30 min 
    Serves 8  

    INGREDIENTS
    For the vanilla cake
    Flour 2½ cups
    Caster sugar 1½ cups
    Baking soda 2 tsp
    Baking powder 2 tsp
    Salt ½ tsp
    Eggs 2
    Milk 1 cup
    Buttermilk 1 cup
    Vegetable oil ½ cup
    Vanilla extract 1 tbsp
    For the rose strawberry jam filling
    Strawberry jam 1½ cups
    Rose water ¼ tsp
    For the buttercream icing
    Butter 345 g
    Icing sugar 500 g
    Milk 5 tbsp
    Vanilla extract 1 tsp
    To decorate
    White flowers 

    METHOD
    1 For the vanilla cake, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 3 × 15 cm cake tins. Line the bottoms with baking paper.
    2 In a bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Combine until smooth.
    3 Divide the mixture between the three tins and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
    4 Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack and allowing to cool completely.
    5 For the jam filling, add the jam to a bowl and stir in the rose water.
    6 For the buttercream icing, using a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and light. Add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat for a further 3 minutes, until fluffy.
    7 To assemble, slice off the domed top of each  cake layer. Place the first layer on a serving plate and spread icing evenly over the top. Spoon rose strawberry jam in the centre. Repeat with the remaining layers.
    8 Ice the top and sides of the cake. Using a spatula, scrape a bit off until some of the sponge shows through. Refrigerate.
    9 To decorate, cut the stems off the flowers and press them into the side of the cake. 

    Spiced cake with caramel sauce and popcorn 

    Prep 55 min | bake 30 min
    Serves 12 

    INGREDIENTS
    For the spiced cake
    Butter 1½ cups
    Brown sugar 3 cups
    Vanilla extract 1½ tsp
    Eggs 6
    Flour 4½ cups
    Bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp
    Baking powder 2 tsp
    Mixed spice 1 ½ tsp
    Cinnamon 2 tsp
    Ground ginger 1½ tsp
    Nutmeg ½ tsp
    Buttermilk 1½ cup
    For the spiced buttercream icing
    Butter 345 g
    Icing sugar 500 g
    Milk 5 tbsp
    Vanilla extract 1 tsp
    Cinnamon 1 tsp
    Nutmeg 1 tsp
    To decorate
    Caramel sauce ¾ cup, shop-bought
    Caramel popcorn 4 cups, shop-bought

    METHOD
    1 For the spiced cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 4 × 20 cm cake tins.
    2 Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy.
    3 Beat in the eggs one at a time, until well combined.
    4 Sift the dry ingredients together, then gently fold them into the creamed butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, until the batter has reached a thick, smooth consistency.
    5 Bake the cakes for 25–30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
    6 Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.
    7 For the spiced buttercream icing, use a paddle attachment to beat the butter until creamy and light in colour. Add the icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract and spices, and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, until fluffy.
    8 To assemble, place a cake layer on a serving plate. Using a butter knife, spread about ¼ cup of buttercream on top, making sure to cover the edges. Repeat with the rest of the layers. Refrigerate to set.
    9 To decorate, heat the caramel sauce in the microwave for 15 seconds, until it reaches a pourable consistency. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the cake, forming drips down the side, and top with mounds of caramel popcorn.

    Chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate glaze and gold leaf 

    Prep 25 min | bake 60 min
    Serves 10 

    INGREDIENTS
    For the chocolate Bundt cake
    Flour 2¼ cups
    Sugar 2¼ cups
    Cocoa 1¼ cups
    Baking soda 1 tbsp
    Baking powder 1½ tsp
    Salt 1 tsp
    Buttermilk 1½ cups, at room temperature
    Coffee 1 cup, hot
    Vegetable oil ¾ cup
    Vanilla extract 1 tsp
    Eggs 3, at room temperature
    For the chocolate glaze
    Cream 200 ml
    Dark chocolate 1 cup, chopped
    Liquid glucose 2 tbsp
    To decorate
    Gold leaf 1 sheet
    Gold candles 

    METHOD
    1 For the Bundt cake, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 26 cm Bundt tin.
    2 In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
    3 In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla extract, then mix in the eggs.
    4 Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
    5 Pour the batter into the Bundt tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
    6 Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, before gently turning out and allowing to cool completely.
    7 For the chocolate glaze, heat the cream in a saucepan until it just reaches a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait for 3 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk until the glaze becomes glossy and consistent. Add the liquid glucose and stir until smooth. Allow to sit at room temperature until it reaches a drizzling consistency.
    8 To assemble, place the Bundt on to a serving platter. Drizzle with the chocolate ganache all around the cake, starting from the inside and flowing outwards.
    9 To decorate, gently place small pieces of gold leaf around the chocolate cake. Top with the gold candles. 

     

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