Saturday, 11 June 2011

a very large birthday cake

a few days ago i got a call from a lady asking me to bake her a cake for her husbands 60th birthday... she said that they'd tried my cakes at the Gunby Hall tearoom and would I make a motorbike themed chocolate cake to feed at least 20 people... to be picked up this Friday!

... now obviously this fed directly into my ego and I said yes without a moments hesitation...

and then I had my moments hesitation... I thought about the whole themed thing... thought about what size cake tin i'd need to bake a cake to feed 20 people... panicked about the recipe i'd need to fill the cake tin... and very quickly called her back, explaining that whilst I can bake cakes, I really am not a 'themed cake' kinda guy and that i'd be happy to bake a fancy chocolate cake perhaps but would not be able to go further than this... a little bit of me was hoping she'd leave it at that and find another cake maker but no, she said never mind, don't worry about the theme and just bake me a lovely cake...!

... and then the panic really set in... what size do I need to bake the cake..? do I go square or round...? where do I find a super-sized cake tin..? how on earth do i scale up my regular chocolate cake...?

... of course, there was only one answer my friends...and I got on-line super-fast to order a 12inch square cake tin and a couple of packets of those fancy chocolate cigarillos...

... and then the search began for the recipe... and at this point I must tell you that my very good and dear blogger friends came so beautifully to the rescue... if ever you need a fabulous recipe for chocolate cake don't hesitate to ask any of the following people who I thank deeply from the bottom of my heart...

... Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog... Susan from Not Just any Old Baking... Luc from Chicken and Wine... Louise from Comida y Vida... Gill from Tales of Pigling Bland... and of course the lovely Ruth from The Pink Whisk, for it was her recipe I went for in the end... although I have to say I was suspicious till it came out of the oven... she even spent a very late hour between Thursday night and Friday morning cheering me on and guiding me through the final stages of the bake...

... clearly i'll never make a tidy brick layer, but I kind of like its rustic look!

a 12 inch square chocolate birthday cake

for the cake mix:
560g butter
825g sugar
7 eggs
190g self-raising flour
560g plain flour
3 tsp bicarb of soda
160g good quality cocoa
620ml milk
80ml white wine vinegar

for the filling:
600ml double or whipping cream
2 large boxes of strawberries - sliced
4 bananas - sliced

for the icing:
300ml double or whipping cream
200g full fat cream-cheese
200g marscapone
115g icing sugar

2 pkts of chocolate cigarillos

you'll need a 12 inch square cake tin which you should butter and triple line with greaseproof paper.  Set the oven to 160C or 150C fan.  you will also need some foil handy should you notice the cake catching.

you will also need a very large mixing bowl!

- mix the milk with the vinegar

- cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.

- add the dry ingredients and the milk mix in halves until it's all gone.

- pour into the cake tin and bake for 1hr and 50 minutes... keep an eye on it and if it looks like it may catch, simply throw some foil over it.

- my oven is odd and it came out perfectly after 1 hr 40 minutes.  I left it overnight to cool and there was no sinkage in the morning.  It then went into the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill so I could cut it without bother.

- the next stage is a simple layering job with your favourite fruit and whipped cream.

- the icing is my usual favourite cream cheese icing, to which I added a 200g bar of dark chocolate.

and here are some fun pics showing the baking journey I took late on Thursday night...

... eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. Seriously impressive Dom! You are my hero!

  2. good god man, superb work. my arteries are clogging up just reading that ingredients list.

  3. Ooh that looks amazing!!! What I wouldnt give for a slice right now!

  4. Bananas are an unusual ingredient in a chocolate cake...never heard of that before...and milk with vinegar? It looks awesome I might try out on a small scale I love the idea of new ingredients...I still haven't tried chilli with chocolate...want to give that a go too...

  5. It is fascinating!I'd like to prepare it.

  6. OMG, that is a seriously gorgeous cake.I think she got the best of both worlds with this cake. Fruit and chocolate. I bet it was hard not having a piece to enjoy yourself. I love the chocolate sticks all around with just a hint of frosting peeking through.I also love the little bit of green left on the strawberries.

  7. Looks like a fab choice. Never seen a cake with Milk and vinegar in - very intriguing.
    I'm sure the lady will love it.

  8. Wow! What a truly wonderful cake! Your customer must be thrilled. Jude x

  9. Wowee Dom! Delicious! Your lady and her husband must have been thrilled with such a perfect celebratory bake!

  10. Clearly the one photo you forgot to post ... look of wonder and delight on that lady's face when she opened the box upon delivery!

    I am very proud for you, Dom! That cake is just beautiful! Onward and upward, my friend!

  11. This is definietly creative!

  12. Congrats on being asked to make that beautiful cake and even bigger congrats on pulling it off so successfully!! Its lovely and looks absolutely delicious. I love all the fruit you've layered in there. The chocolate cigarellos are the crowning touch :) Excellent work Dom!

    Isn't it great when bloggers help bloggers? I love the sense of community that blogging brings :)

  13. Thanks for the mention and I'm glad it turned out so well, what a stunning cake it is. Looks fabulous and so tempting, they must have loved it?. Must agree that recipe of Ruth's is fab I have made chocolate muffins with it they were really lovely,

  14. Wow! This is amazing. I love the layer of banana and strawberries on the top.

  15. Fantastic Dom - a very well done indeed. It looks wonderful and I shall be employing you as my birthday cake baker from now on in! What I'm most impressed with though, is how you managed to slice the cake three ways - that's always the bit that terrifies me most. Next weekend, I'm doing a 60th birthday cake, but I don't think there will be as many as 20 of us (she says hoping) - still trying to work out what I'm going to do. I've got the cake sorted, just wondering about icing & filling etc. Now I've seen your fancy cigerello thingies, just wondering about those - they're a nice touch. Where do you get them from?

    This could be another candidate for We Should Cocoa - is there no stopping you? Oh and thanks for the kind mention.

  16. Hi guys. Thanks so much. Was fun but stressful to make and yes, cutting it in 3 was tricky but The Viking helped a lot.

    @ choclette. I ordered them on line. Just did a google search. Best of luck with your cake honey x

  17. Fab cake! I've been wanting to make a cake with the chocolate cigarillos - they don't come cheap though do they?!

  18. Wow Dom, this cake looks really amazing and it's lovely that you've shared a recipe for such a massive cake as sometimes you do need one! I will definitely give this a go for the next family celebration!

  19. Wow! I love the rustic nature of this cake, it does not look "home-made" at all! I think you should open up a new business called the "Village Baker" ~ I know you'd be a success . . . and it's another hold on world domination . . . Have a wonderful weekend!

  20. OMG!!!! Dom I'm speechless!!!!! this is superb!!!
    well done!!!

  21. Next time I make a cake i'm definitely putting
    Chocolate cigarillos on the outside. Looks beautiful and very decadent.

  22. This is such an impressive looking cake! I love the presentation, I love the ingredients, and I love your skills! Great job. Send me a piece?! ;)

  23. Very impressive Dom. I always shy away from making really big cakes - I'm afraid the edges will be overcooked before the centre is done.

    Love the decoration - I deffo wouldn't have been able to do a motorbike either!

  24. Looks fantastic Dom. Well done!

  25. Looks bloody fantastic, bet your client was thrilled with it!

  26. Woah... woah woah woah, you made this?? I'm seriously impressed! Who needs themed cake when you can have something like this? :)

  27. Just a quick notem now that I can comment again, to let you know of a connection. My family are all from Lincolnshire in England in the area of Scunthorpe.

  28. Wow - it's a stunner, Dom!
    How lovely that you are getting business from people who have been impressed with your baking. Well done.

  29. OMG it's amazing . . . may my husband call you for the same cake for my 36th birthday? ;-)))

  30. Mmmm that really looks good Dom
    I think you know someone whose birthday it is next month - Chocolate Cake or Rouladde what a decision.
    LoL Mummy

  31. well, you're all lovely for such kind comments... I still haven't heard from the lady who I made the cake for... not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm hoping they all enjoyed it!

    @Manu, feel free to get anyone to call me!

    @bellini, that's great news... how fab that you have relatives so close... you still haven't given me your address details so I can send you the Gwyneth book

    @C... I too was concerned about burning the edges but the triple lining and foil and the low temperature helped this one

  32. Looks great, and brill for a "summer" party. I had a big cake to cook for my best friends 40th last year, so the terror is familiar!

  33. My God Dom!! I love it!!!! Amazing cigarillos with the strawberries! DIVINE!! :D

  34. Fab cake. I love, love the fruit filling. I would love to have you make my birthday cake - if only you were a tab bit closer;)

  35. Wow, Dom, that is unbelievable looking! You are amazing :)

  36. Looks delicious, but a 12" for 20 people? Unless it was only an inch deep, I bet they had some tasty leftovers for a few days to come!

  37. Oh Dom.. This cake looks AWESOME. Will you please bake me my birthday cake? It's in 4 months, so you have plenty of time :)

  38. Hi Dom,
    What a glorious looking cake!! I'm helping a friend bake a large birthday cake for her Mum next week & didn't have a recipe so I will definitely try this one out. It won't look anything like yours I'm sure but we'll give it a go anyway.
    A little tip I've found very useful is to use waxed dental floss to cut a cake. It sounds mad but it really works. Just wrap the floss around the cake, line it up so it looks even & straight; then, taking the left side piece of floss in your right hand & vice versa, pull both ends of the floss. Result, a perfectly cut cake.

  39. Fantabidosi ...... you have excelled yourself this time Dom .... my birthday is in August .... just sayin!!!!!

  40. This looks amazing! too good to eat- almost

  41. Wow, the original looks amazing, a lot of cake for a couple of people to eat though, you would want to make sure you had a lot of cake eaters in the house before you served that one up!

  42. Maybe the most amazing strawberry cake I've ever seen in my whole life! simple awesome.

  43. How did I miss this last year? (actually, just looked at the date... Let's not go into that now!)
    Anywayyyyyy, this is amazing, I love it, and I especially love the dental floss tip from one of your lovely readers. The next time I need to make an epic cake, this is where I'm coming!

  44. wow. it's really a good contribution to us guys not good at cakes, you know i did some cakes before but the taste it's not good, then i quit, so if you have interesting, you can load to omega watches for sale

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