It fills me with fear whenever someone asks me to make a cake for them. They all expect a 'wow' factor and I always feel my cakes look like they've been decorated by a small child. I don't have the patience for cake decorating, I'd rather just dive straight in and eat it, rather than waiting around for someone to put on some sugar flowers.
I keep seeing versions of cakes that have been decorated with chocolate dripping down the sides and the top piled high with all sorts of goodies (meringues, chocolate, sweets... you name it). I thought finally some cake decoration that might not look rubbish if I attempt it! I am not trying to claim that my cake looks at all professional, but it does have a wow factor.
I have just used a vanilla sponge here, but you could use any flavour of cake really (just make sure its at least 3 layers).
For the cake: 1 1/2 batches of vanilla cupcake batter
For the buttercream:
250g butter, very soft
400g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste/extract
For the topping:
150g milk chocolate
Mixture of chocolates (I used Maltesers, chocolate buttons, Crunchy bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and some chocolate sprinkles).
Make the cake batter, as per the recipe instructions, and then place into 3 greased and lined 8 inch sandwich tins.
Bake for around 15 minutes at 170 degrees c, or until they are golden brown, and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Make the buttercream by beating the butter in a standalone mixer, with the paddle attachment, until it becomes pale and fluffy.
Add the icing sugar in two batches, mixing well between each one.
Add the milk and vanilla and mix again for a couple of minutes, so that everything is combined.
When the cakes are cool, level them out with a serrated knife, or a cake leveller (if you have one).
Any off cuts of cake can be eaten or turned into cake pops.
Place a dollop of buttercream onto the cake board that you are using, and put the first layer of cake on top.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the cake and then add the second layer. Repeat the process until all the layers are done.
Using a palate knife, spread a thin layer of butter cream around the whole cake.
Place the cake in the fridge for around half an hour, or until the buttercream has hardened. This should make sure that you don't see any cake crumbs in your finished product.
When the buttercream has hardened, spread the rest over your cake, smoothing with the palate knife as you go.
When you have finished the buttercream-ing, melt the chocolate and pour slowly on top of the cake. You may have to use a spoon to gently tease it over the edges, so that you get the nice big drips.
Finally fill the top with the chocolate of your choice, and in this case, more is more!