Darren's Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake

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By Darren Purchese

This is a cake that will be remembered for years to come - hopefully it will become your family's favourite birthday cake. It delivers in both taste and presentation. After glazing you can finish the cake as you please . I've kept the exterior simple, but you can go nuts.

All of the component recipes are bang on in their own right and can be used independently, but together they make something really special.

Time

4

hour

0

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Save

1

Portions

8
servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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COMPONENTS

 chocolate & hazelnut sponge
 orange syrup
 apricot jam
 milk chocolate cream
 dark chocolate cream
 dark chocolate glaze

CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT SPONGE

220g eggs, (approx. 4 large eggs) room temperature
80g egg yolk, (approx. yolks from 4 large eggs) room temperature
140g egg white, (approx. whites from 4 large eggs) room temperature
1tbsp liquid glucose
30g caster sugar
160g ground hazelnuts
 pinch salt
150g icing sugar
40g plain flour
40g cornflour
80g cocoa powder

ORANGE SYRUP

200 ml water
150g caster sugar
1 orange zest fine

MILK CHOCOLATE CREAM

550 ml cream
350 ml milk chocolate, roughly chopped

DARK CHOCOLATE CREAM

375 ml cream
1tbsp liquid glucose
340g dark chocolate roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened

DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE

180g caster sugar
60g cocoa powder
140g water
100 ml cream
10g gold gelatine leaves
1

To make the chocolate & hazelnut sponge... grease & line the base of a 22.5cm non-stick spring form cake pan with canola oil and baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180°

Place the eggs, yolks and glucose into an electric mixing machine bowl and start to whisk on a medium speed.

Whisk for 15 minutes until thick and transfer the mix into another large mixing bowl. Wash & dry the machine bowl and add the egg whites.

Start to whisk the whites on a medium speed until frothy, gradually add the sugar and whisk to a stiff meringue. Fold gently into the egg yolk mixture

Sieve the icing sugar, flour, cornflour & cocoa powder into a bowl and add the hazelnuts and salt. Gently fold this into the eggs using a spatula until all is incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in an oven pre heated to 180°C for 25 minutes or until cooked. Use a skewer to test if the cake is still moist or cooked through.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before running a small knife around the inside edges to loosen the cake from the tin. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool for 40 minutes.

 

2

To make the orange syrup... place the water into a saucepan followed by the sugar and orange zest. Heat to a gentle simmer and stir to ensure the sugar has dissolved before removing from the heat.

 

3

To make the milk chocolate cream... heat 200ml of the cream in a saucepan to a scald and pour it onto the milk chocolate. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate. Add the remaining cream and again mix well, store the cream in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.

 

4

 To make the dark chocolate cream... place the cream and glucose into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate and butter. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate into a smooth and shiny cream.

Leave to cool at room temperature until thick enough to spread with a palette knife.

 

5

To make the dark chocolate glaze... soak the gelatine in cold water for a couple of minutes.

Place the sugar into a large bowl and sieve the cocoa powder on top to ensure any lumps are removed, add the water, stirring to make a sort of paste. Add this paste to a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and add the cream.

Place the pan over a medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and boil for minute before removing from the heat and stirring in the soaked gelatine.Strain the glaze through a fine sieve into a jug and leave to cool.

Bubbles may appear on the surface of the glaze, wait until the glaze has cooled right down before skimming the surface well with a spoon.

Store the glaze in covered plastic containers in the fridge until ready to use.

Melt the glaze in the microwave in short bursts, stirring gently, until fluid and use. Do not use a whisk, as you do not want air bubbles.

 

 

6

To assemble... cut the sponge into 3 layers horizontally using a large serrated knife.

We will use the top piece as the base and invert it to have the exposed baked piece down onto an 18cm cake card or board. The inverted base of the cake will be used for the top, as it is flat.

Heat the syrup and dab onto the sponge pieces to moisten each layer

Spread the apricot jam liberally onto the bottom layer and the middle layer sponges.

Place the milk chocolate cream into a mixing machine bowl and whisk to a thick consistency.

Spread around 120g of the milk chocolate cream onto the jam on the bottom layer of sponge. Spoon the cream into the middle and push with a spatula to the edges of the sponge leaving a gap of 1cm.

Place the middle sponge on top of the milk chocolate cream ensuring the jam is facing upwards. Repeat the milk chocolate cream step and place the top layer of sponge on top of the cream. Push down gently to flatten even.

Place the cake into a fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to set.

Make the dark chocolate cream at this point and leave to set at room temperature.

Remove the cake from the fridge and use a spatula/palette knife to smear and smooth the dark chocolate cream to the top and sides of the cake. Be fairly generous with the cream and try to smooth the sides as best you can.

Use as much of the cream as you need and place the cake back into the fridge for an hour to set. Remove from the fridge and repeat step 10 with the remaining dark chocolate cream. Place the cake back in the fridge and heat the glaze.

Ensure the glaze is heated hot and even in the microwave before allowing to cool.

Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the glaze. If the glaze is too hot it will melt the cake but too cold will not be neat. When the glaze reaches a temperature of 40°C it is ready to use to glaze your cake.

 

7

To glaze the cake... set the cake on a wire rack, placed over a shallow tray. Pour the glaze into the centre of the cake in one motion and try to ensure that the glaze runs evenly over the top cake and runs to cover the entire surface of the cake and down the sides. Then leave the glaze to stop dripping and set before trimming the bottom of the cake with a small palette knife. Place the rimmed cake onto a cake stand or  serving plate and leave to allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. Approximately 45 minutes

 

 

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the chocolate & hazelnut sponge... grease & line the base of a 22.5cm non-stick spring form cake pan with canola oil and baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180°

Place the eggs, yolks and glucose into an electric mixing machine bowl and start to whisk on a medium speed.

Whisk for 15 minutes until thick and transfer the mix into another large mixing bowl. Wash & dry the machine bowl and add the egg whites.

Start to whisk the whites on a medium speed until frothy, gradually add the sugar and whisk to a stiff meringue. Fold gently into the egg yolk mixture

Sieve the icing sugar, flour, cornflour & cocoa powder into a bowl and add the hazelnuts and salt. Gently fold this into the eggs using a spatula until all is incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in an oven pre heated to 180°C for 25 minutes or until cooked. Use a skewer to test if the cake is still moist or cooked through.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before running a small knife around the inside edges to loosen the cake from the tin. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool for 40 minutes.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the orange syrup... place the water into a saucepan followed by the sugar and orange zest. Heat to a gentle simmer and stir to ensure the sugar has dissolved before removing from the heat.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the milk chocolate cream... heat 200ml of the cream in a saucepan to a scald and pour it onto the milk chocolate. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate. Add the remaining cream and again mix well, store the cream in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

 To make the dark chocolate cream... place the cream and glucose into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate and butter. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before stirring to emulsify the chocolate into a smooth and shiny cream.

Leave to cool at room temperature until thick enough to spread with a palette knife.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the dark chocolate glaze... soak the gelatine in cold water for a couple of minutes.

Place the sugar into a large bowl and sieve the cocoa powder on top to ensure any lumps are removed, add the water, stirring to make a sort of paste. Add this paste to a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and add the cream.

Place the pan over a medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and boil for minute before removing from the heat and stirring in the soaked gelatine.Strain the glaze through a fine sieve into a jug and leave to cool.

Bubbles may appear on the surface of the glaze, wait until the glaze has cooled right down before skimming the surface well with a spoon.

Store the glaze in covered plastic containers in the fridge until ready to use.

Melt the glaze in the microwave in short bursts, stirring gently, until fluid and use. Do not use a whisk, as you do not want air bubbles.

 

6
0 hours 0 minutes

To assemble... cut the sponge into 3 layers horizontally using a large serrated knife.

We will use the top piece as the base and invert it to have the exposed baked piece down onto an 18cm cake card or board. The inverted base of the cake will be used for the top, as it is flat.

Heat the syrup and dab onto the sponge pieces to moisten each layer

Spread the apricot jam liberally onto the bottom layer and the middle layer sponges.

Place the milk chocolate cream into a mixing machine bowl and whisk to a thick consistency.

Spread around 120g of the milk chocolate cream onto the jam on the bottom layer of sponge. Spoon the cream into the middle and push with a spatula to the edges of the sponge leaving a gap of 1cm.

Place the middle sponge on top of the milk chocolate cream ensuring the jam is facing upwards. Repeat the milk chocolate cream step and place the top layer of sponge on top of the cream. Push down gently to flatten even.

Place the cake into a fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to set.

Make the dark chocolate cream at this point and leave to set at room temperature.

Remove the cake from the fridge and use a spatula/palette knife to smear and smooth the dark chocolate cream to the top and sides of the cake. Be fairly generous with the cream and try to smooth the sides as best you can.

Use as much of the cream as you need and place the cake back into the fridge for an hour to set. Remove from the fridge and repeat step 10 with the remaining dark chocolate cream. Place the cake back in the fridge and heat the glaze.

Ensure the glaze is heated hot and even in the microwave before allowing to cool.

Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the glaze. If the glaze is too hot it will melt the cake but too cold will not be neat. When the glaze reaches a temperature of 40°C it is ready to use to glaze your cake.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

To glaze the cake... set the cake on a wire rack, placed over a shallow tray. Pour the glaze into the centre of the cake in one motion and try to ensure that the glaze runs evenly over the top cake and runs to cover the entire surface of the cake and down the sides. Then leave the glaze to stop dripping and set before trimming the bottom of the cake with a small palette knife. Place the rimmed cake onto a cake stand or  serving plate and leave to allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. Approximately 45 minutes