Friday, August 25, 2017


Who says wedding cakes have to be very large? This adorable little cake generously serves a small party of four and it has two tiers of rich chocolate cake and an amazing Mascarpone buttercream filling. As the cake is baked in a large pan, you will have some cake left over, but don't discard it. Use the cake to make some cake pops, or freeze it for some future snacks. If you do not wish to use a buttercream icing for the entire decoration, you can just halve the ingredients, then only crumb coat the cake, and cover it in fondant.

For the chocolate cake layers
300 grams granulated sugar
150 grams butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 medium eggs
200 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
50 grams instant chocolate pudding powder
240 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Mascarpone buttercream
250 grams butter
150 grams Mascarpone cheese
400 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatine
2 tablespoons cold water
assorted food colouring (optional)

Before you start working on the cake layers, mix together the milk with the lemon juice, and let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Place the softened butter in a large bowl, add in the sugar, and beat with an electric mixer on high, until lighter in colour and creamy, about 3-4 minutes, depending on the speed of your mixer. Add in the eggs, and the vanilla, along with a teaspoon or two of flour, to help with emulsifying. Blend really well, on low. Sift together the dry ingredients, and add them to the batter, alternating with the milk, in a few additions.
The batter should be smooth, and rather thick. Take a large rimmed baking sheet (33x33 cm; 13x13”), line it with baking paper, then spread the cake batter evenly. It is not a self-levelling batter, so you will need to use an offset spatula to do so. Bake the cake in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for about 15-18 minutes, checking carefully for doneness. Because it will be quite thin, it can burn quickly. Once baked, remove it from the oven, and let it cool completely before cutting and frosting.
While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Take a large bowl, add in the softened butter, and beat with an electric mixer on high, for at least 3-4 minutes, until the butter becomes smooth, and lighter in colour. Add in the Mascarpone, and blend it in on low. Sift in half of the icing sugar, blend it well, then blend in the rest of the icing sugar. Take a small bowl, add in the gelatine powder, then pour the cold water over it, and let it bloom. Back to the frosting, add in the milk, and the food colouring (if using), and continue beating on high, for another 2-3 minutes.
By this time, the gelatine should be ready, so melt it over very low heat, or in the microwave, until it becomes clear and liquid. Take a few teaspoons of the frosting, and mix it well with the melted gelatine, then pour everything back into the frosting, and blend really well with an electric mixer. The gelatine will act as a stabilizer, so that the frosting will stay smooth and airy, like a mousse, but stable enough to be piped, and transported. Once everything is blended, set the frosting aside for 10-15 minutes, to rest.
To assemble the cake, take the cooled cake off the baking sheet very carefully, or leave it on the sheet, to prevent possible cracking. Take two biscuit cutters – 12 cm and 8 cm in diameter, and proceed to cut out circles from the cooled cake. Take out three 12 cm circles, and three 8 cm circles. Place some of the frosting into a decorating bag with a plain round nozzle and pipe a layer of the hazelnut buttercream on one of the largest circles, then place the corresponding cake circle on top of it. Repeat that one more time, then place that layer on a cardboard cake circle, and crumb coat it.
Do the same for the smaller circles. It can be very fiddly, but just be patient. Place the layers in the freezer for about 10 minutes, so the frosting can set up. Once the layers have been chilled, remove them from the freezer and generously frost each layer as you like. You can leave the cakes with some crumbs showing, or you can completely frost them, there is enough frosting to fill and ice the cake completely. Decorate the layers further, if desired. Stack the tiers on a cake pedestal, and let the cake chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Just before bringing the cake to the table, add a desired topper. Yields 8 servings. © Tina Vesić 2017
Baker's note: Even though the cake has two tiers, the top tier is very light, so it does not require a dowel or a cake board beneath it.