Bonfire cake

Make your Bonfire Night celebrations go with a bang with Mich Turner's and Andrea Markham's splendid chocolate creation
Bonfire cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus cooling
  • Effort: hard


For the square cake

  • 400 g dark chocolate, (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 500 g unsalted butter
  • 700 g light brown sugar
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280 g unbleached plain flour

For the chocolate ganache buttercream

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 225 g dark chocolate, (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

To decorate

  • 1 packets dark chocolate, paste
  • 1 packets cake lustres (metallic powders), available from specialist baking shops
  • 400 g seasonal fruits, for example: redcurrants, physallis, kumquats, blackberries and strawberries


1. First make the square cake. Preheat the oven to 170ÂșC/gas 3.

2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended above a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg, a little at a time. Slowly pour in the cooled melted chocolate, beating all the time. Stir in vanilla extract and then fold in the flour. Turn the cake mixture into a lined 25cm square tin.

4. Bake the cake for 1 hour 30 minutes until risen but still springy and wobbly.

5. Make the chocolate ganache buttercream. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy to make the buttercream.

6. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a separate heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan. Remove the boiling cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring all the time until the chocolate melts.

7. Beat the buttercream and ganache together. Carefully slice the cooled square chocolate cake in half horizontally. Fill the cake with some of the chocolate ganache buttercream.

8. Carefully press out circles from the chocolate cake using a 7.5cm, 10cm, 13cm and 15cm circular cutters. Place the largest cake circle on a 15cm cake board. Tier the other cake circles one on top of each other, using the chocolate ganache buttercream as a 'glue' to hold the circles together.

9. Spread the entire structure with the remaining ganache, smoothing it on with a small palette knife. 10. Roll out the dark chocolate paste with a rolling pin into a 7.5cm wide strip about 3mm thick and a metre in length. Use the end of a rolling pin to thin out one edge of the chocolate paste so that it 'feathers'.

11. Now take the strip and start winding it around the cake tier in a helter-skelter fashion, keeping the 'unfeathered' edge flush with the bottom of the cake to start with.

12. Keep winding the strip round the cake until to is completely wrapped. Don't be too precise about this; the chocolate strip should curl and furl in 'bonfire' style. Using a craft paintbrush, dust on the metallic lustre powders all over the cake so they create a bonfire colour effect.

13. Transfer the tiered, 'lustred' cake onto a square 28cm lined cake board. In the chocolate pockets and spaces created by the chocolate helter-skelter strip, place the assorted fruits. Finally, place a handful of sparklers into the top of the cake, stand back, and get the bonfire blazing.

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