Hot Chocolate Cake
350 g (121/2 oz/21/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
450 g (1 lb) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (31/2 oz) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon fine salt
350 g (121/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350 ml (12 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
1 cup mini marshmallows
200g white candy melts
100ml thickened cream
2 cups large marshmallows
1 cup mini marshmallows
5 red and white striped straws
1 batch chocolate-flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
Please note: to make the six-layered cake in this recipe you’ll need to double the cake mixture. Two batches of the Swiss meringue frosting will be enough to cover this six-layered cake.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160°C (320°F) or a conventional oven to 180°C (350°F). Spray three 20 cm (8 in) cake tins with oil spray and line the bottoms with baking paper. Set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the batter reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs and milk and mix again on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. It’s at this point that you can add any additional flavourings or food-gel colourings to the batter.
Divide the cake mixture between the three tins. I find that using an ice-cream scoop makes it easy to distribute the batter evenly, ensuring that all three cakes will bake at the same rate.
Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle a cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking, for 10 minutes at a time, until fully baked.
Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate, so I always bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
To trim your chilled cakes, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of each cake before you trim each cake in half. You’ll end up with 6 layers of cake.
This cake is a lot easier to make than most other cakes, because you don’t need to crumb coat, chill, then add a final layer. Instead we’re going to fill the cake inside a tube that you’ll create using acetate. Acetate is a plastic sheet. You’ll need a piece measuring about 29cm in height and 70cm in length.
Place the plastic sheet inside an 8” cake tin. Use sticky tape to stick it to the cake tin. Also, take care to stick the two ends together so that it all stay together as you’re filling it. Do your best to make sure the plastic sheet stands straight and isn’t slanted. If it’s a little slanted, don’t worry, it will straighten out when you start filling it.
Place the first layer of cake in the plastic tube. Then pipe a layer of chocolate frosting. Gently tap the cake tin against your workbench and repeat until you get to the final layer. Finish with the final layer of cake with no frosting on top.
Chill the cake in the fridge for 5 hours. Overnight is best.
To make the white ganache add the two ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, mixing each time until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the white ganache in a squeeze bottle or piping bag and drizzle over the sides of the cake.
Finish the cake with marshmallows and straws.
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated and thawed 1 hour before serving).
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAKE TIN: For this recipe you’ll need at least one 8” cake tin but preferably three 8” cake tins. To prepare the tin, spray with oil spray. To prepare the baking paper use a pen to trace around the bottom of the cake tin on to the baking paper. Use scissors to cut slightly inside the circle you traced. Place the traced side down onto the baking tin with oil spray.
HAND MIXER: Can be made using a hand mixer (always mix on lowest speed) or a hand whisk. Take care not to over mix the batter.
OVEN TEMPERATURE: Each oven is different. Some are old, some are new. Some ovens can be hotter on the inside than the temp you set your oven at. If you find your cupcakes, cakes or macarons are browning or cracking, turn the oven temp down 10C. A handy trick is to get an oven thermometer which sits inside the oven and will give you an accurate temperature reading. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased online or at your local kitchen supply store. And always bake in the centre rack of the oven for best results!
BUTTER: Make sure the butter is very soft for the cake mixture. There’s two ways to do this. Microwave for 5 seconds at a time flipping the butter on each side until very soft (not melted). If you don’t have a microwave run a large bowl over hot water. Dry the bowl and place over the butter for 1 min. The heat from the bowl will create a warm enough environment to soften the butter.
BAKING TIME: This cake will typically bake on a lower temp and for a little longer than regular cake recipes. I find a low temperate and a slow bake results in flatter tops and caramelisation so that if the cake is coloured it doesn’t change colour and brown. After 50 minutes, stick a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 10 minutes until the skewer comes out with crumbs or completely clean.
Large mixing bowls
Magic Whisk for wet ingredients
Stand mixer (or hand mixer)
8” cake tin
Ice cream scoop (optional)
Cake turn table