I stoked up the chocolate sponge with some dark chocolate chips. The idea behind this was to add extra flavour and texture. I always like it when you get little pockets of chocolate in a sponge. The sponges were beautiful even before they acquired their cloak of buttercream:
I am rather proud of my decorations that I made for the top. They are plain chocolate discs, topped with a splodge of buttercream, topped with a Malteser (or Whoppers depending which side of the Atlantic you reside. I wish they were called Whoppers in the UK – I love the idea of going into a shop and asking the person behind the counter if they have whoppers!)
Just so you don’t expect such good quality photos every week I should point out that the photos in this post that look like they could be in a cookbook were taken by the CCBF, who knows his way around a camera and doesn’t randomly point and click like I do. That’s why he will be the official photographer at Iron Cupcake London.
Happy birthday CCBF!
For the cake:
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder, sifted
1-2 tablespoons milk
100g chocolate chips
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line two 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Do not skimp on this stage as it’s the key to a lovely sponge.
- Gradually add the eggs, flour and cocoa powder until fully combined and you have a smooth, thick batter.
- If the batter is too stiff i.e. not dropping consistency, add two tablespoons of milk.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared tins. Level the surfaces.
- Bake for approx 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Mine took 35 minutes.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tins before removing from the tins and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
- The sponges can be made the day before and stored in airtight containers.
- Now make the swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.
- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved (when you cannot see any crystals on the back of the spoon), remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.
- Add the butter and vanilla extract to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.
- Place one sponge on the serving plate and top with a third of the buttercream.
- Place the second sponge on top and press down gently to ensure the buttercream has levelled out.
- Use the remaining buttercream to cover the top and sides.
- Decorate as required.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.