I had been looking forward to making this cake for ages. Cakes like these are all about getting as much of someone’s favourite flavours in, but also about looking spectacular.
The cake was for a friend of a friend, who had tried the Pistachio and Rose cake that I made in November of last year, and she wanted me to make the cake for her special celebration. Initially undecided about what kind of cake she wanted, she settled upon chocolate and orange. Instantly I knew which chocolate to use: Green and Black’s Maya Gold. It is dark with gently spiced orange through it.
The first thing I did was make some chocolate bark with 200g of Maya Gold, scattering chopped Candied Orange Peel (my new favourite ingredient) and sprinkles across it. I left this to set in a cool place overnight.
Then I set about making two batches of Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. Whilst they were cooling I made an orange sugar syrup with 5 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, the zest of an orange and 75g of caster sugar, warmed in a saucepan until the sugar had dissolved.
Once the cakes were cool and rested I levelled the tops of them and brushed them with the orange sugar syrup.
I used the chocolate icing that Nigella’s recipe uses to fill the four layers of cake before chilling in the fridge to firm up a little. I didn’t use the Maya Gold for this icing: I wanted the orange sugar syrup to speak for itself.I mixed up a batch of Chocolate Buttercream to cover the outside of the cake. Once smoothed over the sides and top I put it back in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. Once out of the fridge I painted on two different shades of edible gold paint to add to the celebratory feel and tie in with the gold that would be on top of the cake.
I also cut the chocolate bark with a sharp knife and dusted the chocolates that I was going to use with edible gold lustre.
Then I made the Chocolate Glaze, using the Maya Gold (100g), again, butter (60g) and golden syrup (2 teaspoons). Once it was cool I put it in an icing bag and drizzled it down the sides and on the top of the cake.
Then, very carefully, I inserted the glittery acrylic “forty” cake topper from Miss Cake, then pushed the shards of chocolate bark in.
I then continued to decorate the top of the cake with various sprinkles and the dusted chocolates, which included Monty Bojangles’ Orange Angelical truffles; Lindt’s Special Edition Orange Chocolates; and Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments. I also used some larger pieces of Candied Orange Peel to add texture and hint at the flavours within.I was very pleased with how it turned out and I hope it gives you some ideas of how to create a celebration cake without using fondant icing and various tools and equipment.
Start, like I do, thinking about the flavours. Think about how to layer them, complement them, enhance them. Look in your supermaket for sprinkles, chocolates, sweets, anything that will tie in with your flavours. You don’t have to make chocolate bark: an artfully constructed pile of beautiful chocolates or truffles will still add height, interest and flavour.
However you decide to decorate your cake, have fun with it. I certainly did with this less than average Chocolate and Orange cake.