Chocolate Christmas Cake for traditional fruit cake haters

Chocolate Christmas Cake

My family do not like traditional Christmas cake and as it is my youngest son’s birthday just before Christmas day I tend to make a birthday cake which serves as my Christmas cake. Of course they love chocolate so this combination of a chocolate cake but decorating it like a Christmas scene works really well.

Ingredients: Chocolate Christmas Cake

320g cups all-purpose flour
85g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
170g Salted Butter, at room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
240g buttermilk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons coffee flavoured liquid
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
125ml hot water

80g heavy cream
1 tablespoon salted Butter, melted
170g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I use mix of dark and milk)

225g salted Butter, at room temperature
57g mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
430g iding sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
large sugar cane (as in pic) and snow-like sugar, for decorating

How to Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Butter 3 x 15cm round cake pans or 2 x 20cm round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter.

2. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the buttermilk, coffee (if using) and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until just combined. Beat in the hot water.

4. Pour the batter among the cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, until the tops are just set, and no longer wiggly in the centre. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

To make the ganache:

5. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the heavy cream, butter, and chocolate. Microwave on power level high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Let the ganache cool 5-10 minutes.

6. To make the buttercream. Add half the butter to a skillet set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Remove from the heat and transfer the butter to the mixing bowl, let cool until it’s room temp.

7. Add the remaining butter, mascarpone, and icing sugar. Beat the butter and icing sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

8. To assemble. Place 1st cake layer on a serving plate. Spread ½ of the ganache over the cake. Add the 2nd cake layer and spread with the remaining ganache. Add the 3rd layer. Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Chill for 30 minutes and then frost the cake generously with the remaining buttercream.

9. Break the rounded tip off of the sugar cane. Dip 1 end of the sugar cane in buttercream to act as the tip of the “pole”. Sprinkle the buttercream with pearl sugar. Insert the cane off-centre on the top of the cake. Sprinkle with pearl sugar for “snow”. Decorate as desired. Serve, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

This recipe originated from Half Baked Harvest.

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