Tuxedo cake

Tuxedo cakeHarry Weir

I just love battenburg, and this chocolate and vanilla battenburg cake looks even more spectacular when you cut into it. I recently attended the IFTAs and I had to wear a tuxedo for the first time since my graduation from school in 1987, so I decided to remember this special moment by creating my version of a tuxedo cake.

Serves 16-18 (cake size 20cm)

Ingredients:

  • 225g very soft butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 225g soft salted butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising fl our
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 750ml whipping cream
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200ml cream
  • 400g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 100g butter
  • For the dark chocolate glaze
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml cream
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 200g white roll-on icing
  • 50g black roll-on icing

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3. Grease and line the base of 2 x 18cm round sandwich tins with baking parchment.
  2. For the vanilla almond sponge: put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until the mix comes together smoothly. Weigh the mixture and spread exactly half into each tin. Bake for 30 mins – when you poke a skewer into the middle, it should come out clean. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling while you make the second sponge.
  3. For the chocolate sponge: clean the tins, then grease and line as above. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, almond extract, eggs, vanilla, cocoa powder and milk as above. When smooth, weigh, divide between the tins and bake as above. Cool in the same way.
  4. Once the sponges are cool, cover gently and chill for 30 minutes – this will make cutting them easier and neater.
  5. Unwrap the sponges and, if they have domed in the centre, trim to flatten. Cut a 6cm diameter circle out of the centre of each sponge (a 6cm biscuit cutter is ideal, or make yourself a paper template) and set aside. Then cut a 12cm diameter circle from the centre of each sponge by tracing a knife around a plate of the same diameter (or use another paper template). So from each sponge you should end up with a 6cm circle, a 12cm ring and an 18cm ring.
  6. Swap the middle rings of the almond sponges with the middle rings from the chocolate sponges, and fit the cut pieces back together. Handle the sponges very gently, to avoid cracking or crumbling up the edges too much. You should end up with four sponges that look like targets.
  7. Make the ganache by boiling cream and mixing together with chocolate and butter till smooth paste is formed. Brush some over the top of one of the sponges and top with an alternating sponge. Repeat to stack up all the layers. Sit the cake on a serving plate or cake stand.
  8. To make the Chantilly cream, simply whisk cream and icing sugar till stiff peak is achieved. Place in a metal bowl and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Then apply to the cake with a palate knife to form a smooth outer layer, dipping the knife into warm water as you apply to create a smooth finish.
  9. For the chocolate glaze, boil the cream and golden syrup and add to the chocolate. Allow to cool before applying to top of cake. Be careful when applying it to the edges as you just want a small bit to flow down the edge as ‘legs’.
  10. To make the bow tie, roll out icing to 20cm by 6cm rectangle. Bring each end into the centre and pinch to form a bow. Separately roll out black icing and use small round cutter to cut circles. Stick each circle onto bow with clear alcohol or a little water. Present onto cake.