dark chocolate cake & burnt orange silk buttercream

Um,  I’m not sure how to say this, but I may or may not have unintentionally put together a somewhat challenging recipe.

It’s not that it’s exactly hard by any accounts, but it is labour intensive, time consuming, and every second counts.

It’s not that I dislike you, really, it’s that I was challenging myself to grow as a chef. A challenge I thought I’d share. I mean, how many times are you going to use a Creme Anglaise in your buttercream? Exactly.

Every mouthful is entirely worth it though. Sinfully so.

Just repeat after me… “Burnt orange, silk buttercream“. Did that do it? Are you there yet? Alright, well how about this one…. “gluten-free, moist, chocolate cake“.

I knew it, you couldn’t resist either.

Make it. Announce it’s Cake Day to the people nearest & dearest, & just turn it into an occasion. Hell, I’d say put it in the middle of the table & just hand out spoons.

…Until next time xxx

Ingredients, dark chocolate cake:
- 100g cocoa
- 320g sour cream
- 400g full fat greek yogurt
- 3 tsp vanilla
- 4 large eggs (room temp)
- 400g dememrara (or light brown) sugar
- 400g gluten-free white flour blend (I used Dove’s Farm)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp soda bicarbonate
- 1 tsp salt

Directions, dark chocolate cake:
1. combine the cocoa, sour cream, yogurt & vanilla in a bowl. Use a spatula to fold in the cocoa, & then with a hand-held mixer, beat until smooth. (using a spatula first helps prevent cocoa powder from going all over your kitchen.
2. add in the sugar & eggs & once again beat until smooth.
3. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, soda bicarbonate & baking powder. Mix with a hand held mixer in-order to combine & aerate the ingredients. Add half the the wet mix to the dry mix & beat until fully incorporated. Add in half of the remaining wet ingredients & once again beat until incorporated. Finally, add in the last half of the wet ingredients & beat until incorporated, plus an additional 2 minutes.
4. grease & line two 22cm (9in) cake tins with baking parchment. Preheat your oven to 176C (350F). Divide the batter between the two tins evenly. Bake the cake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.

Ingredients, icing:
**creme anglaise**
- 100g (0.5 cups) sugar
- 30ml (2tbs) hot water
- 125ml (0.5 cups) milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tbs orange juice concentrate
- 1 tbs orange zest
- 5 egg yolks, room temp
———————————
**swiss meringue**
- 95g (0.33 cups + 2tbs) sugar
- 2 egg whites, room temp
- 0.25 tsp cream of tartar
———————————
- 450g (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temp

Directions, icing:
**creme anglaise**
1. to make the creme anglaise, first bring the milk & vanilla bean to a simmer & them remove from heat immediately. Remove the vanilla bean & add the orange zest & concentrate to the milk & stir. The milk will curdle, don’t worry about this as you will beat it smooth shortly.
2. in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the sugar & boiling water. Stir to encourage the sugar dissolving. Turn the heat up to high & leave the sugar undisturbed (as in don’t you dare stir it) until it turns a nice dark amber colour. Immediately remove from the heat & pour it into the milk mixture. Return the milk to the stove, bring up to medium heat & stir until the caramel has completely dissolved.
3. in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot milk mixture to the eggs & quickly whisk so as to temper the eggs. Add another tablespoon of milk & whisk again. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot of the hot milk mixture whisking continuously whilst doing so. Return the milk to the heat & cook over medium high until it begins to thicken & steam rises from the top. Always stir continuously whilst doing this. Remove from the heat & allow to cool completely.
———————————
**swiss meringue**
1. combine the egg whites & sugar in a double boiler & gently whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. You can ensure this by pressing your finger to the bottom of the egg mixture & feeling for sugar granules. Once dissolved, remove from the heat & add the cream of tartar. Using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer) beat until you have thick, glossy, stiff peaks forming. Set aside.
———————————
**final stages**
1. in a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth & creamy. Add the cooled creme anglaise to the butter & once again beat until fully incorporated. Last but not least, add the swiss meringue to the mix & beat until just incorporated. You are now ready to ice your cooled cake.

*****Helpful tips*****
1. you can make your own orange juice concentrate by placing freshly squeezed orange juice in a large pot over medium heat & leaving it to simmer until it has reduced to half.
2. caramel goes wrong sometimes. It’s frustrating but it happens. Take a deep breath, clean your pan & start again. Remember not to stir it otherwise sugar crystals will form & it will never become smooth.
3. cakes don’t come out perfectly level… if you want a nice, even, stable layered cake you will need to level off the tops.

Recipe source: The silk buttercream was adapted from ‘The Cake Bible’ by Rose Levy Berenbaum

 ……..for a full history of our recipes, check out our archives. For the more sensitive tummies, check out our gluten-free archives….. and if you’re just interested in something pretty, check out our designed page.

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