Yield: 8-10 SERVINGS
Prep time: 30 MIN
Cook time: 30 MIN
Total time: 2 HR
Christmas is rapidly approaching, which means a lot of treats and desserts are in your future! This is the perfect Christmas cake recipe that looks like Rudolph! Kids will love it and everyone will enjoy the rich chocolate sponge with buttercream frosting.
FOR THE CAKE:
200g salted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
200g plain chocolate, chopped
240g light muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs and 3 medium egg yolks, beaten together
2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
150g full-fat soured cream
180g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
200g dark chocolate
100g salted butter
50g double cream
200g unsalted butter, very soft
2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
400g unrefined icing sugar, sifted (this is a pale biscuit color, not white)
The antlers: you can make sugar cookie or thick paper using any template online
Brown, black, red, green and white ready-to-roll fondant icing
TO MAKE THE CAKE:
1. Butter and line three 15 or 16cm (6 inches) round tins (alternatively do the baking in batches if you only have one tin). Heat the oven to 350°F(177°C).
2. Gently melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together in a large microwave-safe bowl on medium heat for a minute at a time, stirring until melted or, set a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool a little.
3. Beat together the eggs with the vanilla and sour cream in a bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into another bowl and whisk to distribute. Stir the egg mixture into the cooled melted chocolate, then fold in the flour mix and fold through until all the powder has disappeared.
4. Spoon a third of the mixture into each tin. Level off each thin layer with the back of a spoon.
5. Bake the cake for about 25-30 mins, but check after 20 to be safe as all ovens vary. Bake until just cooked, so when a skewer poked into the center of the sponge layer comes out with a few crumbs and the cakes are shrinking away from the tin a bit. Remove and let cool completely.
TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM:
1. Microwave all the ingredients together in 30-sec bursts until they have all melted, stirring at each interval. Or melt everything together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
2. Cool to room temperature before adding to the buttercream.
3. Beat the butter and vanilla paste until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well between each addition. (Using unrefined sugar will give the buttercream a natural caramel flavor). Beat in the cooled ganache.
TO MAKE THE DECORATION:
1. Make the ears by pulling a little of the brown fondant icing off the block and kneading it with white fondant icing to make a pale brown.
2. Roll the rest of the dark brown icing out thickly on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Roll the paler icing out thinly.
3. Cut large teardrop shapes from the darker fondant to form the ears (about 6cm in size) and stick the lighter shape on top of the darker icing with a little water. Fold and pinch together at the base, push a cocktail stick into the bottom of each one and set aside to firm up.
1. Trim the cakes flat using a serrated knife. Put the first layer onto the cake board and use a little of the chocolate frosting to secure it to the board. Spread frosting over the first layer then add layer two. Sandwich together by pressing gently and add another layer of frosting to this layer. For the last layer, take the sponge and invert it on top of the other two cakes, so that the smooth part of the cake becomes the top. Spread a very thin layer of icing over the whole cake to crumb coat it and chill to set for about 30 mins.
2. Add more buttercream to the cake to make a clean topcoat – use a palette knife or side scraper to get a smooth finish (but do save a little of the buttercream for the final flourish).
3. Mark out the eyes with a cutter so you can see where to add them. Roll little strips of black fondant icing for the eyes and lashes, then stick these onto the cake. Mold the nose with red fondant icing and stick it on with a cocktail stick, pushing one end into the nose and the other into the cake.
4. For the little collar, roll out about 100g of green fondant icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar and cut a thin strip for the bow that will fit around the base of the cake. Stick the ends together with a little water, then make a bow by folding another thin strip and stick this onto the collar with another dab of water.
5. Scoop the leftover buttercream into a bag with a large star nozzle. Pipe some fluffy reindeer hair on top of the cake, then add the ears and antlers, pushing them in gently but firmly.