- Serves: 8-10
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Prep Time: plus overnight resting and chilling time
- Effort: hard
For the vanilla cake:
- 115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 185 g plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 180 ml buttermilk
For the chocolate roulade:
- 24 egg yolks
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coffee extract, optional
- 8 egg whites
- 140 g strong bread flour
- 40 g cocoa powder
For the buttercream:
- 15 egg whites
- 600 g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1.4 kg unsalted butter
For the ganache:
- 225 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 120 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
Tips and Suggestions
This cake requires four separate elements, a vanilla sponge, two chocolate swiss roll cakes, buttercream and chocolate ganache. The recipe takes time and effort but the results are definitely worth it, especially when you cut the first slice.
1. For the vanilla cake: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C/gas 4 and grease and line a 25cm cake tin.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric whisk, combine the butter and granulated sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla bean paste.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. Add one-third of the flour to the egg-sugar mixture and mix just until combined; then add half of the buttermilk and combine. Continue alternating additions of flour and buttermilk until all are just incorporated. Do not overmix.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springs back lightly when touched. Allow to cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan and carefully split it in half horizontally, to form two equal layers. Set aside.
5. For the chocolate roulade: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line two Swiss roll with parchment and grease with a little butter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric whisk, combine the egg yolks, half of the granulated sugar, the vanilla extract, and the coffee extract, if using, and whisk until the mixture lightens to a pale yellow.
6. In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg whites and 1 teaspoon of salt until foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.
7. In another bowl, stir together the flour and cocoa powder. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites. Sift the flour-cocoa mixture over the eggs and gently fold until evenly incorporated, turn the bowl as you go to get everywhere the flour may hide.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the layers. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cakes spring back when you touch them. Let them cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight.
9. For the buttercream: Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl. Place over a bain marie, a large saucepan half full of simmering water, and stir until the sugar has completely melted.
10. Whisk on high speed until the mixture has quadrupled in volume and the bowl is cool to the touch. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture thickens and becomes a smooth icing.
11. For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, combine the cream and butter and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, making sure the chocolate is completely covered. Allow to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
12. To assemble: Leaving the cakes in the pan, cut each chocolate cake into long strips, 10cm wide; you should get 3 strips from each pan, 6 altogether.
13. Spread half the buttercream evenly in a very thin, even layer over the surface of each cake. Roll the first strip, buttercream side in, into a tight roll. Move the strip over to the start of the next strip, and continue rolling, with the end of the first roll touching the beginning of the second. Keep adding strips to make a big fat spiral of cake! You may have more cake than you need. Stop when your spiral is 25cm in diameter.
14. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over one of the vanilla cake layers, just enough to cover the top. Place your giant spiral cake on top of the buttercream. Smear a thin layer of buttercream over the top of the spiral and top with the remaining layer of vanilla cake. If you have a 25cm cake ring, secure it around the cake to protect it while it sets. Otherwise, wrap it in clingfilm. Place the cake in the freezer to set for 1 hour.
15. Remove the cake ring or clingfilm and cover the entire cake with a very thin layer of buttercream. Place in the refrigerator to set for 20 minutes. With the remaining buttercream, coat the cake in a smooth, even layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
16. Place the remaining ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a medium open tip. Place a piece of parchment on a sheet pan and pipe hearts onto the parchment paper. Freeze the hearts until set.
17. When the ganache hearts have hardened, remove them with a small spatula and apply to the top and sides of the cake. If youre having trouble getting them to stick, add a little softened ganache to the back of the hearts as glue.
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