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Briony's chocolate wreath cake

This super simple Christmas chocolate cake is the ultimate festive bake. Not only is it quick and easy but you can also make it the night before!

Something totally fuss-free and will really wow your guests this festive season.

Chocolate wreath cake

Makes 20cm round cake

Prep - 40 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook - 30-35 minutes


400g self-raising flour

500g golden caster sugar

1 tsp salt

100g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

170ml vegetable oil

3 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

300ml whole milk

300ml boiling water & 2 tsp instant coffee

Chocolate Buttercream

400g unsalted butter, softened

800g icing sugar

200g dark chocolate, melted

60g cocoa powder

30ml milk to loosen, if needed

To decorate

Ribbon, tied into a bow

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Few handfuls of berries – cranberries and red currants

Edible gold glitter dust


1. Preheat the oven on to gas 3/160C fan. Grease and base line 4 x 20 cm round cake tins.

2. For the cakes: In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder. Whisk to combine.

3. In another bowl, add the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk to combine.

4. Add the coffee to the boiling water and mix well.

5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix to combine. Add the coffee mixture. Mix well to combine.

6. Divide the batter between the tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean (the cakes will crack and dome slightly). Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tins and cooling on cooling racks. Cool completely and level with a serrated knife or cake leveler if required.

7. For the buttercream: In a bowl beat the butter until light, then add the icing sugar, beating again until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate and sift in the cocoa powder, loosening with milk if required.

8. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate and spread over some of the buttercream. Top with another cake and repeat, finishing the final layer with a cake. Using a turntable makes this job easier (see tip below).

9. Then spread some of the remaining buttercream in a thin layer over the sides and top of the cake. Then spread with a final thicker layer of buttercream using a palette knife or cake scraper to swirl the icing around to create a nice pattern.

10. Decorate the top like a wreath by adding sprigs of rosemary in a circle around the edge and dusting cranberries and red currants in edible glitter before topping the cake. Finish with a bow before serving.

Tip -

If you do not have a cake turntable, create one by placing a cake stand on top of a dinner plate placed upside down on the work top. You can then spin the cake stand around the dinner plate as you work.

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