My nephew is brilliant company and whenever his birthday swings round, I always bake him a cake. This year he asked for a chocolate twirl cake; the details were up to me, he just wanted his favourite chocolate bar incorporated into his birthday cake. Say no more little man, your birthday wish is my command.
If you’ve ever read any of my cake recipes before, you’ll know that I favour the simplest options and that fancy decorations are best left to people more skilled than myself. I decided to make a chocolate sponge cake, with chocolate frosting between the layers and with almost 40 twirl bars glued around the side with even more chocolate frosting. It was very much a beast of a cake, but it impressed the recently turned 12 year old, and that’s all that mattered.
I baked the two sponge layers the night before so they’d cool properly before I put the cake together. With chocolate especially, you want to be working with cooled cakes. If you use still slightly warm cakes, there’s a danger that your chocolate decorations will melt, and that’s not a good thing.
This is an absolute beast of a cake. It’s huge to start with and it’s also incredibly rich, so a little slice goes a long way. With this in mind, you can probably get a good 16 slices out of this cake.
Double Chocolate Twirl Cake
220g unsalted butter or baking margarine
220g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of milk
1 400g tub of chocolate frosting
Approx 35-40 Twirls
To make your double chocolate twirl cake:
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins and put to one side, ready for action.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Tip in the remaining sponge cake ingredients into your mixing bowl and beat together until the mixture is well combined. Then divide the mixture between the cake tins. I like to weigh them so they are of equal size.
Bake the chocolate sponge layers in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through. Leave them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes or so, and then pop them on a cooling rack until they are completely cool. If you’re in a rush for this, after about an hour you can pop them in the fridge to chill for a little while.
When they are cool, put a blob of the frosting on your cake plate or stand; place the first layer of your sponge cake on top. The blob of frosting will anchor the cake in place and stop it from sliding about. Smother the top of your first layer with a thin-ish layer of the frosting, then sandwich the second layer on top of that.
I use an offset spatula to spread frosting and buttercream, so if you have one of these, now is a good time to dig it out of your kitchen drawer. An offset spatula is another name for a palette knife with a bend in it. If you make cakes on a semi-regular basis, then one of these is a really good investment to make.
Using an offset spatula, or similar, cover the whole cake – top and sides with the remaining chocolate frosting. Now it’s time to get busy with the twirls. I had to cut approx 1cm off the bottom of each one, as I didn’t want the twirls to be that much higher than the cake. So measure your twirls against the cake and decide how much you want to chop off. Once you’ve cut the bottoms off, put the offcuts to one side as we will be using them again later.
Carefully stick the twirls around the cake, press them in so the chocolate frosting glues them on. I used 38 twirls on my cake, so you’ll need a similar amount. Please buy a few extra as some accidentally fell into my mouth as I was unwrapping them all, and this may well happen to you too.
Once you’ve stuck all the twirls to the cake, it’s a really good idea to take a length of string or ribbon and tie it around, this will help them stick to the cake and it can be removed just before you serve it.
For the top of the cake, I took all of the little pieces I’d chopped off the twirl bars and then I chopped them all up into smaller chunky pieces. I finely sliced some of them until they were almost like chocolate powder. Then I sprinkled all of these bits all over the top, pressing some of them into the frosting with the back of a spoon so they’d stick.
The cake looked tremendous. It was not for the faint hearted; it was a serious chocolate endeavour and exactly what my twirl loving nephew wanted for his birthday cake. This double chocolate twirl cake was really easy to make, it looked impressive and it took a little bit of time to put together; but it was worth it.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try this school dinner style chocolate cake with chocolate custard recipe.