Birthday Cakes Extravaganza

Cake, Layer cakes | 10th August 2010 | By

Another post which is a little tardy in surfacing.

It was that time of year again and as custom requires, I was due to bring in cakes for my work colleagues. I try to do something different each year, this is what I managed last year. For the vegan at work, I made Vegan Chocolate and Courgette Cupcakes, which I will post about shortly. One of my newly acquired birthday items was Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns, a book I became aware of through reading Oxslip’s eclectic blog. Once seen, it was only a matter of time before I got my sticky mitts on it.  From this book I made a Lemon Crunch Cake and the Family Chocolate Cake.

This is how I managed to bungle the Chocolate Cake:
  • Poured 140ml of just off the boil water over 100g 70% dark chocolate and left to melt.
  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 275g muscovado sugar for ages until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 3 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla essence.
  • Stirred the chocolate until smooth then added this to the cake mixture along with 2 large tablespoons of TOTAL Greek yogurt (which I’d substituted for buttermilk).
  • Sifted in 200g flour (half wholemeal and half white) with 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarb of soda and folded into the batter.
  • At this point I should have added 100g of ground almonds, but stupidly I forgot – how extremely annoying!
  • Spooned into two 21cm cake thingies and baked at 180C for 30 mins.
  • Melted 100g 70% dark chocolate with 40g unsalted butter.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp golden syrup and 2 tbsp muscovado sugar.
  • Whisked in 150ml double cream until mixture was thick enough to use.
  • Spread half the mixture onto one cake, topped with the other cake and the rest of the icing.
  • Decorated with minstrels
How could I forgot the almonds?  Really, I couldn’t believe it.  Luckily, the cake was still totally delicious.  Both cakes were really good and it made a nice change to make (and eat) a non-chocolatey cake – sshh, don’t want to disabuse anyone of my chocoholic credentials. They were wolfed down by work colleagues and the chocolate cake was even pronounced by one as the best cake they had ever tasted – I can’t ask for more than that……  Although I can’t help wondering how much better it might have been with the almonds.


  1. Leave a Reply

    10th August 2010

    Could you pop a slice in the post to me please? A slice of that yummy looking cake would do wonders in calming my nerves right about now. I’ve popped a post up for We Should Cocoa and also started a discussion on UKFBA!

  2. Leave a Reply

    10th August 2010

    Chele – I think one of your muffins should do the trick. Good news that we are now in business!

    Emmalene – it certainly looks better than some of my creations!

    CityHippy – I was certainly popular for a day – fickle lot!

  3. Leave a Reply

    11th August 2010

    Maybe leaving the almonds out was a genius touch after all. It certainly looks like it,

  4. Leave a Reply

    11th August 2010

    Looking forward to the courgette cake recipe – I have tonnes of them at the mo’.

    I always like to see a cake decorated with minstrels. It’s nice.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    11th August 2010

    looks good… should have made this one instead of the disaster I made last weekend! Lucky people to have you as a co-worker! x

  6. Leave a Reply

    11th August 2010

    Love your cakes! Reading about them not quite as satisfying as eating them, but close 🙂

  7. Leave a Reply

    Johanna GGG
    12th August 2010

    happy belated birthday – I am sure you had some extra moisture in the cake without the almonds – good to know such omissions work – excellent research 🙂

  8. Leave a Reply

    12th August 2010

    That looks like a really lovely cake!
    I too have Fiona Cairns book, it is full of great recipes.

  9. Leave a Reply

    13th August 2010

    Celia – always use duck eggs when I can get them. But they are not always easy to get hold of. I usually say if I’ve used them

    Thank you Suman

    Thank you Sushma

    Kath, not sure about genius, but it didn’t seem to matter too much.

    Thanks VBB – don’t hold your breath on the courgette ones – they turned out more like puddings than cakes! I have made very good ones in the past – without chocolate though. Cake was termed “posh cake” at work because of the minstrels.

    Dom – what nonsense you talk, your cake looked great.

    Joanna – thank you, that was a lovely comment and made me smile. May not be quite as satisfying, but heaps better for your waistline.

    Bridgett – thank you

    Johanna – thanks, that’s a very positive spin you gave to my mistake – much appreciated.

    Margaret – thank you. It’s a lovely book indeed.

  10. Leave a Reply

    13th August 2010

    Love the cakes. So sweet of you! I wish I am your colleague 😛

    • Leave a Reply

      11th February 2013

      It was certainly very good without them, but think how much better it might have been with them 🙂

  11. Leave a Reply

    Maya Russell
    16th August 2013

    Yes, it would probably have tasted richer with almonds. I love almonds and marzipan.

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