Chocolate cake gets an exciting makeover with three distinct chocolate flavours hidden beneath luscious vanilla marshmallow buttercream in this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. It’s a simple but effective concept.
March is my crazy month of birthday cake baking. This year, I think I smashed my record by making 4 cakes in the space of just 10 days. That’s a lot of eggs. A lot of icing. A lot of cake. It really is a cake-a-thon. It’s now the last day of March and I’ve been so caught up in birthdays, parties and cakes that I have not yet managed to share with you the highlights of my cake dominated month. It’s time to correct that.
First of all, I’ll be talking about this wonderfully indulgent Triple Chocolate Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream that was my younger daughter’s birthday cake. And just to amuse you, I’m going to share with you my… um… major kitchen catastrophe involving a Piñata cake that I hope anybody about to attempt such a cake will learn from. The rest of you can just sit back and snigger wildly at my expense.
Okay, the Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. We’re talking about three distinct layers of light & bouncy chocolate sponge cake:
- White chocolate & vanilla – sweet & fresh
- Malted milk chocolate – homely, comforting chocolate heaven
- Dark Chocolate – satisfyingly intense
What’s not to love?
Then there’s the topping of almost too good to be true, lusciously light vanilla marshmallow buttercream. It’s a regular buttercream with the addition of Marshmallow Fluff & flecked with vanilla seeds. This buttercream is my absolute favourite – you may remember it from my Pumpkin Pie Whoopie Pies. It is everything you could wish for in an icing: sweet, light, fluffy, easy to spread and, without a doubt, a step up from standard buttercream.
I knew I was onto a winner for my girl with this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. She adores chocolate & marshmallows so to have a multitude of chocolate all stacked up into a birthday cake and then include marshmallow in the icing was like a dream come true for her.
I try hard to make Hannah & Milly a cake for their actual birthday that I know they will love. Something that ties in with their personality. Something a little different. Yes, this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake is essentially a large chocolate cake. But the different layers that are revealed once the cake is cut into takes it over the edge. It is far more exciting than a typical chocolate sponge and that’s why it was perfect for Milly.
I’d say this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake is ideal for any chocolate lover – child or adult. It was a hit with everybody around our tea-table. One or two people picked out their favourite layers, but most, me included, just fell for the entire bundle.
Okay, so time to talk about my other noteworthy cake baking experience of the last month. Now, we all know kids and their birthday cakes – they tend to like something fun. Well, my girls have been slightly obsessed by Piñata cakes over the last few years. There are two versions of Piñata cakes:
- There’s the version like this one that has the middle of a cake scooped out and filled with sweets so that when you cut into it the sweets are revealed (the easy version)
- Then there’s the version like this one that hides a cake topped with sweets underneath a dome of chocolate. The birthday child gets to smash the dome with a rolling pin to reveal the sweets and cake underneath. (The immensely fun but not so easy to make version)
Guess which one my girls like? Yes. The chocolate dome.
One way to make that dome is to cover a blown up balloon in melted chocolate. Once set the balloon is popped and a perfect dome of chocolate is revealed. Last year I made them both one of these Piñata cakes without a hitch. (Well, almost no problem apart from a slight accident after it was made.).
Confession: this year I got complacent. Just because I managed it last year no problem, it never crossed my mind that anything would go wrong.
Obviously, things went spectacularly wrong.
Picture me covering a large balloon with 400g melted chocolate. Now picture that balloon bursting and flying all around my kitchen. It made a lot of mess. I think I was wearing about 100g of melted chocolate at that point. Are you laughing yet? It gets worse.
Please don’t judge me when I tell you that in my chocolate splattered mind, I quickly assumed that the balloon must have been weak. So, not only did I blow up a second balloon but I also switched places in my kitchen to get away from the mess that the.. er…. accident had created.
I set to work covering this second balloon.
Yes. It happened again.
And no, I really didn’t see it coming.
This time I gave up. Every wall in my kitchen was covered in chocolate. The floor. The ceiling. The Clock. The fruit bowl. Me. Even the inside of the toaster took a hit. It was as if 2 chocolate bombs had exploded.
I resolved that the Piñata cake would not be happening. Those balloons much be really, really weak. (Please, between your guffaws, forgive my feeble mind.)
I threw in the towel, threw my clothes in the wash and threw myself into the shower before starting the clean-up of my chocolate laden kitchen… The clean up that would take in excess of 3 hours.
Thirty minutes into the clean up operation I came to the bowl that had contained the melted chocolate to find that what remained was still liquid. That’s when the truth hit me (like a wet balloon covered in chocolate right between my eyes): those balloons were not weak, the chocolate was far too hot.
What had I been thinking? More to the point, why hadn’t I been thinking? The cause of my problem was suddenly so ridiculously obvious to me.
Having lost my mind and 300g chocolate 45 minutes earlier, I found myself confidently blowing up a third balloon and giving it a go with what remained of the now cooled, but still liquid chocolate in the bowl. Success. The chocolate dome was made.
Later that day I collected my girls from school and told them the grim news: the Piñata cake was ready, but it would be the last Piñata cake I ever make. To which Hannah replied that she would do it next year. Nooooooo.
If you’re considering making a Piñata cake, take my advice. Don’t do it. Go for the Triple Chocolate Layer Cake instead. It’s not only far tastier but it’s infinitely easier to make. But please, please, do share your kitchen disasters with me – I can not be the only lunatic out there, surely….