♥ A most appropriate cake for my son's 10th birthday! A layer for each year :-) ♥
♥ Chocolate cake layered with zesty orange buttercream and covered in a chocolate orange truffle ganache ♥
♥ Decorated simply with vegan chocolate orange buttons ♥
I had bad lighting when taking photos of the cake whole :-( The cake slice photos are more representative of how the cake really looked. Surprising how much differences in natural light can make!
Well, I had to make a rather special cake for the boy's 10th! Sure, it took 4 days to make and it is the most calorific cake I have made to date but it's all worth it :-) This cake tastes as good as it looks and is one of those cakes that when the first slice is taken out people actually gasp as it looks pretty much like a normal cake from the outside.
It is a little tricky to make but mostly just time consuming as you have to cook each cake layer individually here. Slicing a large cake into ten layers would never work, the layers would just crumble apart; but, plan in advance and it should all go smoothly. This was my first time attempting such a cake and as you can see it turned out great, just don't rush it!
There is nothing really new with the ingredients here, the cake is the bog standard wacky cake recipe that's out there that I always use when I want a chocolate cake. It has the best taste and texture, has no hard to find ingredients and basically never fails - what's not to love? I have used this as the base for many of my cakes and probably always will. Finding a similarly consistent white cake however is an ongoing quest ;-)
It is frosted with an orange buttercream bursting with orange flavour and the ganache is based on the same one I used in the Double Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake and the Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake using Cointreau instead.
Despite having 10 layers this cake still only uses the same amount of cake batter that I would use if I was making a standard cake so it's not like this is 2 or 3 cakes in one. The decadent factor comes in as you need quite a bit more buttercream to frost 10 layers than you would with a regular double layer cake, even when the frosting is kept quite thin. This does make this a very rich cake, you want the slices as thin as possible here, which can be hard to cut with 10 layers so we sliced it into 16 slices as it's kind of the thinnest you can get it. I then even halved my slice but others were able to eat the whole slice no problem :-)
The longest part is making the layers. If you only have 2 cake pans like I do you'll have make enough batter for 4 layers. Bake the 2 layers, remove them from the pan and pour in the rest to bake. I then let these 4 layers cool then covered them with cling film and put them in the freezer. The next day I did the same thing again so I then had 8 layers in the freezer. Then I made half the amount of batter to make the final 2 layers and also popped them in the freezer.
What you don't want to do is make all the layers in one go, even if you have all day. Reason being is baking soda loses it's effectiveness in a batter if it doesn't get into the oven within 15 minutes. This is why you'll have to make the batter in stages rather than making one big bowl of batter and just removing the cakes from the pans and refilling with batter.
The day before I wanted this I took all the layers out of the freezer, they defrost really fast, like within half an hour. So while they were defrosting I made the buttercream, then frosted inbetween each layer then around the outside to give a smooth even finish. I left it like this until the frosting was no longer soft then made up the truffle ganache and poured and spread it all over. You then pop it in the fridge for the ganache to set and decorate as you wish.
10 Layer Chocolate Orange Truffle Cake:
To make the first 4 layers of cake:
150g plain flour
120g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
25g cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
65ml vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
190ml cold water
Preheat the oven to 180C and line 2 or 4 seven inch cake pans (must be this size as the batter will only just cover the base) with baking paper. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together the water, oil, vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour this into the dry ingredients and whisk until it just becomes smooth - do not overmix. Evenly spread this among the 4 cake pans or if you only have 2 I poured about 2/3 cups in to each pan. Pick the pan up and tilt so that the batter slowly covers the base of the pan - it will only just make it. Pop into the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Run a knife along the edge then carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper; I then re-used this baking paper by putting it back into the pan, clean side up. Pour the rest of the batter into the cake pans evenly and bake for 10 minutes. Again, remove from the pans onto wire racks and remove the baking paper.
When the cakes are fully cool, wrap them in cling film and place in the freezer. I then chose to wait until the next day to make the next 4 layers.
Repeat the above to make the next 4 layers of cake.
To make the last 2 layers of cake:
75g plain flour
60g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
13g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp vanilla
35ml vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
80ml cold water.
Instructions are the same as above. Once the cakes are cool, also wrap in cling film and place in the freezer so you now have all 10 layers ready to go!
To make the orange buttercream:
150g vegan butter
6 cups icing sugar (about 840g)
1 tsp orange extract
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 - 5 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, strain to remove bits.
zest of 2 oranges
I took my cakes out of the freezer before making the buttercream and found they had defrosted by the time I was done. Just keep them in the cling film but lay out over a table so they are not one on top of another.
In a large bowl beat the butter to soften it then add a cup of icing sugar, beat until it comes together then add the extracts. Now keep adding icing sugar, then some orange juice when it gets dry, icing sugar when it's too wet until it's all added and stir in the zest. If it's too dry, add a bit more orange juice, too wet, add a bit more icing sugar. You want it spreadable but thick enough to hold up with 10 layers of cake!
Place a large sheet of cling film over a cake board or chopping board, anything you can move easily. The cake won't be staying here so don't worry about looks. Place one of the cake layers bottom side up on the cling film and thinly spread with some buttercream. Place another slice of cake on top and repeat 10 times. You'll have some cake layers that are uneven so try and match them up with other uneven layers to make the cake as level as possible. I found it easier to ice the bottom side of the cakes as the tops can be a bit sticky resulting in you getting bits of cake in the frosting.
Yeah, not so pretty at this stage!
Make sure you save the best looking cake slice for the top and place this one right side up on top of the cake as you won't be frosting the top anyway and it will have a smoother surface for the ganache. Now take the remaing buttercream to frost around the whole cake, filling in all the gaps so you have a smooth even sided cake.
Excuse the two bad photos here, I was working at night and only quickly took them! But you get the idea...
Leave the cake out like this just until the outside of the frosting is no longer soft, this will make pouring the ganache over easier. It doesn't take long but I left mine overnight just so I wasn't doing too much in a day.
Chocolate Orange Truffle Ganache:
300g dark vegan chocolate
250ml soy cream ( I used one 250g carton of Alpro Single Soy Cream)
30g coconut oil in the solid state
1 Tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
*Note - this makes quite a bit more ganache than you'll need but you need quite a bit to pour over. This ganache is too soft even when chilled to make truffles with but a great idea for the leftover is to make Truffle Pots - just fill small pots with the ganache, cover with cling film and place in the fridge until set. Here are a couple I made: They were delicious! Just keep them small, there is about 2 tablespoons of ganache in these.
Now, back to the ganache! Chop the chocolate finely and place in a large bowl. Place the soy cream and coconut oil into a small saucepan and bring to the boil and to melt the coconut oil. When it just comes to a boil pour over the chopped chocolate and make all the chocolate is covered. Leave it for about a minute then whisk until all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth ganache. Now whisk in the Cointreau/ Grand Marnier.
As the mixture at this stage is too runny and warm to use transfer to another bowl to help cool it down faster. Leave it to cool and thicken slightly - this can take quite awhile! Don't be in a rush to cover the cake as if it's too runny you'll just lose it all. I first poured it over a bit too soon and had to refrigerate is then recover the sides as it largely slid off.
Place a sheet of baking paper on a table and a wire rack over top. Pick the cake up by the cling film and carefully transfer to the wire rack.
When the ganache is room temperature and appears to be thick enough to cover the thick but not so thin it'll run right over then start by pouring it right over the top of the cake letting it run down the sides. When it is mostly covered take a butter knife and spread more ganache on the sides starting from the bottom and spreading upwards. Once it is fully covered in ganache place the whole cake in the fridge to set.
Remove and decorate as you wish. As this cake is so rich on it's own I didn't want to go overboard with anything. I especially didn't want to cover the beautifully smooth ganache top of the cake. It even pained me to put candles in it! I have been loving these vegan chocolate orange buttons by Choices lately and it seemed an obvious choice for this cake.
Now simply slice and serve. We found it easier to heat the knife first and just cut slowly. I would recommend 16 slices out of this - it's the smallest you can physically slice it! Even then I halved my slice :-)
Nutritional Information: ah, it's a once in a lifetime cake ;-) based on 1/16th slice, no buttons.
But do note that I personally halved my slice again!
Sat Fat: 5.3g
A couple of my son's previous birthday cakes: