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
400g unsalted butter, softened
800g icing sugar
200g dark chocolate, melted
60g cocoa powder
30ml milk to loosen, if needed
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.
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.