Friday, 9 September 2011

Triple C - Chocolate and Coffee Cake with Chestnut Buttercream

This cake came about mainly because I really, really wanted to try making a Swiss meringue buttercream. And no, I couldn't just make the buttercream, because eating buttercream on its own would just be sinful, wouldn't it? Whereas eating buttercream and chocolate cake together is totally acceptable. Yup.
Chocolate and Coffee Cake (adapted from BBC Good Food: All-In-One Chocolate Cake)

175gm selfraising flour
3 tbsp 70% cocoa powder
175gm unsalted butter, softened
175gm golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1-2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp coffee flavouring (similar to this)

- Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and baseline two 5-inch sandwich tins. Remove 3 tbsp of flour from the full amount ( the cocoa powder will make up the difference).

- Put all cake ingredients (except milk) into a large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the milk if mixture is too stiff - it should fall easily from a spoon.

- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins, and level the surfaces of the mixtures. Bake on the same shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until sponge springs back when pressed. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn the sponges out onto a wire rack to cool completely (peel greaseproof paper off if attached to cake).

- Level the sponges if necessary, by slicing off the tops.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Chestnut Puree (adapted from Life Is Great)

340gm butter, cubed, room temperature
5 large egg whites
220gm granulated sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup chestnut puree
pinch of salt

- Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a clean*, heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly over the heat, until mixture reaches about 70C and sugar has dissolved** (rub some mixture between fingers - if it feels grainy, then it hasn't dissolved).

- Take mixture off heat and beat with an electric whisk (or better yet, one of these bad boys if you're lucky enough to have one) on medium-high for about 8 minutes, until stiff peaks have formed and mixture has cooled to room temperature.

- Lower speed to medium and start adding a couple of small cubes of butter, making sure it has incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter is added, add in vanilla extract and chestnut puree, and beat until just combined***.

- Sandwich buttercream in between both layers of sponge, and over the sides and top of cake (I'm sure you can make it much prettier than mine - my spatula skills are non-existent. I also found that fish knives make nifty little 'spatulas' for tight spaces.)
(N.B. - this gives enough buttercream for 2 cakes. Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen until needed. Just before using, defrost and bring to room temperature, and whip to a smooth consistency before using.)

* Clean your bowl and utensils with vodka beforehand to ensure there is no residual grease left. 

** I haven't got a sugar thermometer, so tested it with my fingers. Go ahead and dip your fingers in, and feel for a fairly hot and smooth texture. 

***You may find the mixture looks curdled after adding in butter - DO NOT PANIC! Keep beating it and it will smooth out fairly soon. 


  1. This looks bloody awesome J. The thick slab of chesnut buttercream.. oooo it will prob make my tummy feel sick but so worth it!

  2. Thank Daf, yep, the buttercream was pretty intense, but so tasty! The good thing about this recipe is that it's not too sweet, unlike some other buttercream recipes.