Chocolate Cake is ace for birthdays!

Last week was busy! I spent the start of the week on the farm and then raced back to Melbourne for two cooking demonstrations at Chadstone Shopping Centre. Finishing the Demos I raced home to make a birthday cake for my Mum’s best friend, Kay. Kay has been a rock to me for as long as I can remember. Whenever I need an extra pair of hands, Kay is there. She has washed so many dishes for me, set up so many stalls with me, and carted so many boxes of books for me! She also looks after the farm when Mum and Dad come to Melbourne – she is just such a wonderful human being! So the least I could do, is make her a fancy cake!

Before Masterchef, I was always the girl who would rock up to a birthday holding a cake and a bottle of champagne! I am still that girl, but the pressure is on to make the cake just a little bit fancier 😉 This is where this cake comes in! It’s a ripper! It is easy to bake and it quite possibly the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted, and I have tried MOUNTAINS of chocolate cake! I love the idea of chocolate cake, moist, not too heavy, but still sumptuous and substantial – can hold it’s own, but also loves the addition of layers! This is THE cake that does all that!

So tempting!

So tempting!

This cake was an absolute THUMPER!!!! It was chocolate cake with a crispy rice layer, a rum and raisin bavarois layer, covered in ganache, and then finished off with a chocolate glaze! It was rich and decadent, but with beautiful flavours and textures! For something simple at home, I would recommend the chocolate cake, ganache layer and the chocolate glaze, which I will provide you with the recipes below. You will need digital scales and a digital thermometer for this.

Chocolate Cake

620 ml Water
480 g Butter
240 g Dark Chocolate (I used 60 percent Callebaut)
675 g sugar
512 g plain flour
60 g cocoa
24 g bicarb soda
300 g eggs
70 ml rum


Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Grease and line a 40 cm cake tin (yes 40 cm – if you want a smaller cake – make two or halve the quantity of ingredients and adjust cooking time slightly less)

Melt water and butter together and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and sugar, mix well ensuring all of the chocolate has melted.

Sift in the flour, bicarb, and cocoa.

Mix in the eggs and rum.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 and a half hours or until skewer comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in tin and then remove time and cool cake on a rack.

As it is, this cake would be fabulous with a simple icing
– but we are going to ganache and glaze! Yes!

Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!

Simple Ganache

500 g dark chocolate (I used Callebaut 60%)
2/3 cup cream (35% fat)

In a bowl over boiling water, mix cream and chocolate together until smooth and combined.

Chocolate Glaze

(this is from Kirsten Tibbals’ book, Chocolate to Savour, – I recommend you check her stuff out – this lady knows all things chocolate) This makes almost too much – but for this sized cake I was too scared to make any less.

480 g cream (35% fat)
740 g caster sugar
100 g water
200 g cocoa powder (sifted)
200 g Neutral glaze
22 g gold gelatine leaves (soaked in cold water for 5 minutes)
40 g Dark Chocolate (60%)


Bring the cream, caster sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan.

Add the sifted cocoa powder and mix with a whisk.

Add the neutral glaze, return to the boil and remove from heat. Mix with a stick blender, keeping the blender deep into the mixture to reduce airation.

Add the gelatine and the chocolate and mix again with the stick blender.

Store in the fridge or freezer, placing a sheet of cling film on the surface (touching) to ensure no skin forms.

When ready to use, heat the glaze to 40 degrees celsius, mixing well to incorporate any unset bits.


Slice cake in half horizontally

Smear ganache in the centre (add a layer of raspberry jam if you want!), and place top on.

Turn upside down so that the bottom is now the top and you have a nice flat top and right angled sides.

Using a palette knife, smear ganache on the top and the sides of the cake. Smooth as much as possible. Put in the fridge to firm up the ganache.

Once the ganache is set, run a hot palette knife using the flat side on all surfaces of the ganache to create a smooth surface.

Prepare glaze by heating in the microwave until it reached a temperature of around 40 degrees celsius.

Get ready to get dirty – you have to commit to this!

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and around the sides in one sweeping action!


If there are any little bubbles, you can pop these with a tooth pick! Don’t try and smooth with a palette knife – it just wont work.

Transfer to a serving board (you may need 2 people and a few very large palette knives for this), and pop in the fridge until needed!

Serve with cream or ice cream! Phenomenal!

Look at those layers. Yum!

Look at those layers. Yum!