My Dad was 60 in August so my task was to make a cake as usual, however, he isn’t he biggest fan of sweet buttercream and doesn’t like the amount of icing normally accompanying the traditional maderia style cake.
So I got my thinking cap on & after discounting making a train cake (his present to is learn how to drive a steam train!) I remembered the cake Lorraine Pascale had made on her TV series with chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream (which isn’t too sweet) and fresh fruit – the ‘I can’t believe you made that’ cake.
Now I did leave it a bit late to co-ordinate what I needed as Anthony and my brothers were taking part in a 24hr mountain bike race which also involved our first camping holiday so I was quite busy balancing a few things. The result of this was a lack of chocolate cigarellos. I had assumed I would be able to order them from my usual online cake suppliers but they didn’t sell them. A number of others do, but I was very surprised at how expensive they were and I would have had to pay for fast delivery.
After some thought we abandoned the cigarellos and used the retro-sweets Matchmakers (orange flavour).
Se here we go – one chocolate cake with fresh raspberries.
The cake went down really well and everybody enjoyed it. It wasn’t too sweet and the matchmakers worked well, but a word of warning they are fragile so if you are transporting the cake any distance maybe take some extra matchsticks & a small pot of buttercream to glue back into position!
One alternative to matchmakers I had been considering was using wafer cigarillo type biscuits but I couldn’t source what I wanted at short notice. However, I have since found that the Harvey Nichols pop-up shop in Liverpool One selling them & think these would work just as well.
The Recipe – from Lorraine Pascale
You will need a 20cm/8in round deep cake tin and a 20cm/8in cake board.
- 200g/7oz butter, softened (plus a little extra to coat tin)
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 140g/5oz plain flour
- 60g/2½oz cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 400g/14oz plain, milk, or white chocolate cigarillos (about 75–80 in total)
For the buttercream
- 250g/9oz butter, softened
- 500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar
- 100g/3½oz good dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled
For the decoration
- Fresh raspberries or strawberries
Preheat the oven to 180/C/350F/Gas 4
Line the cake tin with baking paper and rub a little bit of soft butter around the tin
Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they begin to go pale. Add half of the eggs and half of the flour and mix well. Add the rest of the eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and beat for a minute or two.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30–40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
To make the buttercream – put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk together until the mixture goes fluffy. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and whisk for a further two minutes.
The original instructions are to leave the cake in the tin until it is completely cool, however I prefer to take mine out & cool on a wire rack.
Cut the top of the cake flat with a large serrated knife and turn the cake upside down on the cake board so that the bottom now becomes a flat top. Split the cake horizontally and sandwich the top and bottom together with a 1cm/½in layer of buttercream.
Spread half of the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, making it as smooth as possible. Put it in the fridge to set before doing another layer – this makes it much easier to get neat squared-off edges.
Gently push the cigarillos, or matchmakers, vertically onto the sides of the cake, positioning them as straight as possible and making sure they touch the bottom.