Hello lovely people! welcome to my first ever recipe post! I have been meaning to share this with you for sometime, it seems perfectly fitting to do this because i made it for my grandmas birthday celebrations this year and it was absolutely gorgeous!
On the 23rd November 2015, we lost my beautiful grandma. after years of health battles and operations she finally was at peace and grew her wings. We weren’t and never would have been ready for this but she left when she was ready with her family surrounding her. My grandma was an incredible woman, full of wisdom and great advice and she loved to share a bar of whole nut with me whilst i filled her in on all the gossip surrounding my life. She didn’t know half of who or what i was talking about but she loved to hear it all the same. The love she had for all of her grandchildren was more than you could ever imagine and spending time with her family, (usually involving a roast dinner with very alcoholic gravy) was always so special. Birthday, christmas and just your average sunday meant we all got together and filled her home full of laughter, smiles and incredible family memories.
Its been a few years now and it doesn’t get any easier. My grandma was the heart of the family, the glue that held us all together and its been tough without her. I know we are all living our lives now but the pain from loosing her won’t ever go away. This is why every year we celebrate her birthday together, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable. She hasn’t really left us, the memories of your passed loved ones stay in your heart forever and thats what keeps them alive. All the stories, smiles, laughs, photos, videos and reminiscing will keep on returning year after year. I have given my grandma 3 incredible great grandchildren and i know she will be proud of me for achieving what i have. I vow to keep her memory alive and talk to my children about the wonderful woman she was. I miss her terribly, as much as i did when i got the phone call from my mum saying she had passed. I know she would have loved this cake, even though she wasn’t allowed to eat much chocolate for health reasons, we would always give her a sneaky little bite of whatever we had and i know this was one of her favourites.
Baking is my favourite pastime. If I’m feeling low or a little lost, theres nothing like stepping into the kitchen and creating something you can be proud of. When i have been in some of my worst days with my mental health, i typically sit back and try to channel my negative energy into reading cookbooks, making something, tweaking recipes and sharing them with my family. The heart of my house is the kitchen, you come to my house and even if you’re not hungry I’m feeding you. its just how it goes!
This recipe comes from an old cook book that my mum has had for years. well the base of it does, I’ve just changed it and added things along the way to make it my own and my family love it! I’ll forever be cooking it, and passing it down to my children for them to cook with their kids. Thats the beauty of baking, or cooking in general, having something to teach for generations after you’ve learnt yourself.
Now there is plenty of things you can to to change this recipe to fit your own needs. I will be experimenting myself to bring more variations to this such as using gluten free options and non chocolate options in the new year. Also this cake is very sweet! If you wish to cut back the sweetness, whisk up a big tub of double cream with a tbsp of sugar and a dash of vanilla (or you can leave it plain if you prefer) until it is whipped and use it in-between the layers of the cake, using the buttercream for just the outside. Thats also very delicious!
I also experimented with using hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa. This makes the cake less rich and lighter in colour but still nice and chocolatey! It sounds strange but if you want to give it a go as a replacement. I was pleasantly surprised. I used the cadburys chocolate powder – purely because thats what i had at the time. I only figured this out because i had to whip up a cake quickly and had no cocoa. It was still just as tasty as the original and i have swapped them out from time to time ever since.
Brendas Chocolate Cake
- 10oz Butter
- 10oz Caster Sugar
- 8oz Self-Raising Flour
- 2oz Cocoa Powder (if you don’t want it as chocolately tweak this bit to your preference for example 1oz and the other oz add flour – so it adds up to 10.)
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 or 3 tbsp Milk
- Dash of Vanilla
- 8 oz Butter
- 4oz Cocoa Powder
- 1.2kg icing Sugar (it seems a lot but remember this ices a three tier cake!)
- 2 or 3 tbsp Milk
- 2 packets of chocolate fingers. 1 white, 1 milk
- Any chocolate of choice for the top. I used milky buttons and smarties.
- Turn on your oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas mark 6, my oven is a fan oven and this is the temperature that i usually cook all my bakes at. Grease and line 3, 7 inch cake tins. (i actually use some butter and then a dusting of cocoa powder instead of greaseproof paper but you can do either)
- Cream together your butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer or by hand until it becomes pale and fluffy.
- Add your eggs one at a time, mixing in between until they are completely incorporated and then add your dash of vanilla.
- Sift your flour and cocoa powder in a little bit at a time, mixing in between to make sure its fully incorporated and then if your mixture seems a little thick, add your milk. (This isn’t a must – it just loosens the mixture if it needs it)
- Divide your mixture into the three tins you lined before and even out with a palette knife.
- Put them in the oven for 20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into it and it comes out clean.
- Place on a cooling rack until all cakes are completely cool. I usually take them out of the tins straight away so they cool quicker.
- Put the butter and cocoa powder into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth and fully incorporated. Usually no more than 2/3 minutes.
- Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time. (1 cup is about 8 oz) mixing in between to make sure all the icing sugar is mixed into the chocolate butter mixture before adding more. This way you can see how thick your icing is.
- The buttercream should hold its shape when on a spoon or whisk. If it is a little thick, same rules apply as with the cake. add a tablespoon of milk at a time, whisking in between to achieve desired thickness.
- Once all three of your cake layers are cooled. Place first tier right side up, on a cake board, or a plate if you prefer and use a small pea sized amount to stick it to desired surface.
- Place a scoop of buttercream on the first tier and spread into a thin layer using a palette knife.
- Add second layer, right side up and repeat step 12.
- Add third layer, UPSIDE DOWN. (this is important to give you a completely flat surface on top to work with) put two large scoops of buttercream on the top of the cake and use your palette knife to work it own the sides and smooth out the top.
- Take the remainder of your buttercream and work this around the sides of your cake, smoothing it out as you go until all sides are covered. Keep going until you are completely happy with the smoothness of the sides of the cake. (i use a side scraper for this effect. picked one up on amazon fairly cheap but you can also use your palette knife)
- Once you are happy with the placement of the buttercream, work your way round the sides of the cake with your chocolate fingers. I alternated white to milk chocolate and left a small gap in between each one. You don’t have to do this, i just wanted to be able to cut it easier. Add as many chocolate fingers as you want!
- To decorate the top i added a ring of milky buttons and just piled them into the middle of the cake. this part is completely customisable. Its your cake and your creativity so do whatever you like!
- Keep in a cool area or even the fridge to make this layer of icing set. if you do put it in the fridge just take it out 30 mins before you choose to eat it just to bring the temperature up.
And there we have it! I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as me and all my family do. i would love to se your creations so please feel free to take photos and add them into the comment section below! In the mean time, happy baking! I can’t wait to share more of these types of posts with you in the new year.
Peace, Love and Chocolate Cake.