I Can't Believe You Made That! Cake

  • Cooking Time40 mins
  • DifficultyMedium
Vegetable oil or oil spray
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
140g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
400g plain, milk or white chocolate cigarillos (about 75-80 in total)

For the buttercream

250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
100g good dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled

For the decoration (optional)

Fresh flowers, for a christening cake
Strawberries or raspberries, for the girls
Figs, quartered, for the boys

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Line the 20cm round deep cake tin with baking paper and brush of spray with oil.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they begin to go pale.

3. Add half the eggs and half the flour and mix well. Add the rest of the eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and beat for a minute or two until the mixture is uniform.

4. Dollop into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

5. Meanwhile, make the buttercream.

6. Put the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and whisk together until the mixture begins to go fluffy. Add the cooled melted chocolate and whisk for a further 2 minutes.

7. Once the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin. Carefully cut the top flat with a large serrated knife, then turn the cake upside down on a 20cm cake board so that the bottom now becomes a nice flat top.

8. Split the cake horizontally and sandwich the top and bottom together with a 1cm layer of buttercream. Spread half the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, making it as smooth as possible.

9. Put it in the fridge to set before doing another layer. This makes it much easier to get good squared-off edges.

10. Gently push the cigarillos vertically onto the sides of the cake, positioning them as straight as possible and making sure they touch the bottom.

11. The next step is up to you! Decorate with fresh flowers for a christening or wedding, strawberries for a big family gathering or with figs for a man's birthday.

Recipe courtesy of Lorraine Pascale, Baking Made Easy HarperCollins, 2012 (£20) Photography courtesy of Myles New

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