Dan’s Birthday Cake

22 Jul

I quite like baking for special occasions. Taking the time and effort to create some sweet treat to celebrate a birthday or new baby shows some big love, I think. For the past year, I have been on a full on shortbread baking-bent, with many friends and family members being the beneficiaries of a (pretty tasty, if I do say so myself) lemon version I make.

I recently managed to wean myself off the biscuit baking for Alison, one of my closest friends, incorporating her favourite sweet treat of chocolate raisins into a cupcake, so in the wake of this “creative” fit, have decided to start challenging myself more often.

I very rarely make a big cake, but today is my brother Dan’s birthday, and despite loathing the ground he walked on as children, I find him most excellent these days. A bear of a lad, loving and generous to a fault with the ability to make me cry laughing, we have an ace relationship. Dan is fan of all things sugary, so to make his day a little sweeter, I pushed myself and knocked up this chocolate and raspberry creation to help him celebrate.

Chocolate Sponge, Raspberry Jam Filling and White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

The raspberry flavours come from the jam, which is used in the cake mixture (to make for a super moist and lovely sponge) and to sandwich the cake together. The sponge is chocolate, and the buttercream used to cover the cake is an incredibly sweet and moreish white chocolate, which I always receive much amour for.

To finish, I used some rainbow sugar sprinkes I got from Dean and Deluca on a long ago trip to New York, but as with the jam and colouring ingredients, you can use whatever takes your fancy.

Happy Birthday Dan!


For the cake*

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g raspberry jam
  • 155g self-raising flour
  • 60g cocoa
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250ml milk

For the sandwiching and icing

  • 150g unsalted butter – softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4tsp purple food colouring
  • 4tbsp raspberry jam
  • Rainbow sugar sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl, cream your unsalted butter, caster sugar and icing sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add your eggs gradually, beating through until thoroughly incorporated into the creamed butter and sugars. (To prevent the eggs from curdling, add a tablespoon of self-raising flour in with each egg before beating through).
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract and raspberry jam, again beating through thoroughly. (The jam should make for a gorgeous pink mixture).
  6. Sieve in the self-raising flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and pour the milk in alternately, adding gradually and mixing through each time.
  7. Pour the chocolate sponge mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the sponge is firm and springy to the touch.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the baking paper.
  9. While the chocolate sponges are cooling, take a large bowl and beat the softened unsalted butter until smooth before gradually adding the icing sugar, mixing through each time until the icing sugar is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract half way through adding the icing sugar to soften the buttercream. (This will make it easier to work the buttercream and add flavour).
  10. Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then add to the buttercream icing whilst still warm and mix through.
  11. Add the purple food colouring to the buttercream and mix through, including as much colouring as you want to achieve the tone you’d like.
  12. Take the two chocolate sponges and using a large spoon, sandwich together using the raspberry jam.
  13. Using a palette knife, spread the white chocolate buttercream over the surface and round the sides of the cake to a smooth finish. (There’s plenty of icing to go around, so make it thick).
  14. Decorate the top of the cake with rainbow sugar sprinkles to finish.

* The cake recipe comes from The Essential Baking Cookbook, the first baking book I ever received, though have adapted the chocolate cake recipe in it slightly for Dan. The buttercream recipe is all my own.


One Response to “Dan’s Birthday Cake”

  1. Nikki (little sis) July 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Tried and tested – this cake is amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: