Blackberry, Hazelnut and Lavender Honey Celebration Cake

Cakes, Uncategorized

This cake, decorated with whimsical blooms from the Eloise bouquet by Bloom and Wild, is made up of four layers of moist hazelnut sponge soaked in lavender honey syrup, filled with a fresh blackberry compote and covered in delicately flavoured lavender mascarpone cream. The bouquet is inspired by a summer meadow, so it seemed only right to pick out some of my favourite ingredients the British countryside has to offer for this recipe; together the balance of nutty, floral and fruity flavours are delicious. Try this one out in August/September for a really special seasonal centre piece.

Ingredients

For the lavender honey syrup (this is used to soak the sponges and flavour the mascarpone icing)

  • 100ml runny honey
  • 75ml water
  • 4 sprigs fresh lavender or 1tbsp dried lavender

For the blackberry compote

  • 400g fresh blackberries
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • Zest and juice 1 lemon

For the hazelnut sponges

  • 350g soft unsalted butter
  • 325g light brown soft sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 200g ground hazelnuts (to make these just blitz 200g blanched hazelnuts in a food processor until fine)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt

For the lavender mascarpone cream

  • 3-4tbsp of the lavender honey
  • 350ml double cream
  • 300ml mascarpone

To garnish (optional)

  • The Eloise bouquet by Bloom and Wild
  • Fresh blackberries
  • Crushed and toasted hazelnuts

Method

  1. Start by making the lavender honey (to give it time to develop in flavour). To do this just place the honey, water and lavender (whichever sort you’re using) in a saucepan and gently heat until the honey has dissolved into the water. Once this has happened, simmer for 2 minutes then set aside and leave to infuse until required
  2. Now make the blackberry compote by gently heating the blackberries, honey, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan. Stir occasionally, until the blackberries release their juices and reduce down to form a compote consistency. Set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
  4. Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each addition (add a tablespoon of the flour each time to prevent curdling). Once all the eggs are well incorporated, fold in the ground hazelnuts, remaining flour, baking powder and salt with a large metal spoon.
  5. Divide the mix between the prepared tins and level the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes (or until well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted). Once baked, prick the surfaces of the cakes with a fork and spoon over 3-4tbsp of the lavender honey syrup, then leave to cool completely in the tins.
  6. While the cakes are cooling, make the lavender mascarpone cream. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk until thick and spreadable. Scrape half the mixture into a piping bag. Now you’re ready to assemble the cake (providing all your elements are completely cool!).
  7. To put the cake together, slice the sponges in half horizontally (so you have four even layers). Place the first layer down on your chosen plate and pipe a thick ring of mascarpone cream around the edge, then fill the middle with one third of the blackberry compote and repeat this until you’ve stacked up all four layers. With the remaining mascarpone cream, cover the cake and smooth with a palette knife. Decorate with blooms from the Eloise bouquet or freestyle with hazelnuts, fresh blackberries and lavender.

Enjoy!

My Favourite Chocolate Cake

Cakes, Uncategorized

This chocolate cake is my absolute favourite; it’s moist, rich and filled with both ganache and buttercream (completely necessary in my opinion!). Make it for a celebration or get together and you will be very popular!

Ingredients (for a 3 layer 9 inch wide cake- half the recipe for a 6 inch cake): 

For the cake:

  • 340g plain flour
  • 525g caster sugar
  • 125g cocoa
  • 2 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 375ml milk
  • 185ml vegetable oil
  • 3tsp espresso coffee
  • 375ml boiling water

For the frosting:

  • 250g butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 100g cocoa
  • few drops milk

For the ganache:

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • pinch sea salt

For the toppers (optional):

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • any sprinkles, nuts or metallic sprays/glitter you fancy

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line three 8 inch cake tins.
  2. For the cake, place the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder in a bowl. Stir together with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  3. In a jug, mix together the eggs, vegetable oil, milk and espresso. Pour into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  4. Now add the boiling water in batches, gently stirring between each addition (it’s supposed to be runny so don’t worry if the consistency seems a bit odd!).
  5. Split the mixture between the three cake tins and bake for 35-45 minutes until well risen and cooked through. To test whether they are ready, insert a skewer- if it comes out clean it is ready to come out of the oven.
  6. Cool the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack. Leave to drop to room temperature while you make the fillings.

  1. Firstly, make the ganache. To do this simply chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a jug, then heat the cream until almost simmering and pour straight over it. Leave the chocolate to melt for a couple of minutes then stir to form your ganache. Set aside in the fridge to thicken and cool before you use it.
  2. Now make your buttercream. Whisk the butter until light and fluffy then gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa, whilst beating to combine. Add the vanilla and double cream and give it a final whisk- stop when you have a light, smooth frosting.
  3. If you’d like to make your own toppers, simply melt the chocolate (melt separately for some contrasting shards) then spread a thin layer onto greaseproof paper. Set in the fridge while you assemble the cake then break into pieces and use as you wish.
  4. Now you are ready to assemble the cake. Level off the tops of the sponges with a cake cutter or large bread knife to make sure you have even layers. Take your first sponge and spread over  a layer of ganache followed by a layer of buttercream. Top with the next sponge and repeat until you have a stack of three. Cover the whole cake in buttercream and smooth the sides with a palette knife or cake scraper. Decorate with the shards or any other decorations you fancy.

Enjoy!