Things you will need:
- 3 x 8” round sandwich tins, base and side lined
- Stand mixer, electric hand whisk or bowls and wooden spoon
- Microwave/heatproof mixing bowl
- 8” round cake drum plus another at least a couple of inches larger (note this is optional and how you get a really smooth finish, but of you do not have these, you can simply use a cake stand or plate but will have to pour the ganache coating over directly so you’ll have some pooling around the base of your finished cake rather than a completely straight and slick side like the cake pictured – it will still taste amazing!)
- Cake turntable (optional) if not you can use a piece of parchment paper and move it around on this
- Wire rack and large baking tray
- Baking parchment
- Small and medium crank handle palette knife
- Wire racks
Preheat the oven to 160C fan
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla paste, using electric beaters, freestanding mixer, or by hand (this will take longer!) until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg a little at a time, slowly beating speed until each bit is incorporated fully.
Slowly pour in the cooled chocolate, beating all the time.
Next slowly beat in half the flour until just combined, then the other half until just combined (don’t overbeat). Divide between the three tins (or you can do in batches if you only have one tin) and bake for 20-30 minutes (all ovens vary – do not over bake!) ; they should be well risen but with a slight wobble, a knife or cake tester should come out a little pasty/fudgy from the centre. Cool in the tins for 10 mins then turn out onto wires racks, remove paper and allow to cool completely.
To fill and assemble
We’ll make a ganache and add this to icing sugar frosting, then once the cake is filled and crumb coated we will make a second pouring ganache.
For the first ganache, melt 200g of the chocolate and 100g of clotted cream together in a small pan on very low heat until completely melted and smooth. Leave to cool a little.
For the frosting, beat 200g of butter with the icing sugar and vanilla
To assemble the cake, we need to fill and crumb coat the sponge layers together first so the cake can be chilled before pouring over the chocolate ganache coating. Place the larger cake board on your turntable or piece of baking parchment, then place the 8” round cake board on top and secure with a dab of buttercream in between these two boards to stop them sliding about. This will enable us to get a good neat crumb coat and also make it easier to move the cake in and out of the fridge (or use a plate or stand if you prefer)
Spread a little buttercream on the 8” round cake board and place a layer of sponge onto the board. Spread a layer of buttercream over, levelling it off with a palette knife. Top with the second sponge and make sure it’s in line. Repeat with a second layer of frosting.
Top with the final cake, inverting so the upper crust is facing down and the smooth part that was in the bottom of the tin is uppermost, this will help to give a better finish. Gently push down on the cake to sandwich and check it’s all neat, level and in line.
Using a palette knife generously spread the excess frosting that’s squeezing out from between the layers all around the sides of the cake first (this allows you to be able to hold the top of the cake still while you work around the cake). Spread a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake, moving the palette knife in a back and forth using pressure to scrape and keep in mind you want a straight top and side. Use a side scraper to neaten off and scrape any excess, make sure any holes and gaps are flush and filled, then place in the fridge to chill. You can actually do this the day before you wish to coat if you prefer, if not leave to chill for at least 30 mins before pouring on the ganache.
To make the pouring ganache
Melt 500g chocolate, 150g clotted cream and 290g butter gently in the pan, heating to melt it all together until silky smooth and lump free. Pour into a jug and leave to cool slightly.
Remove the cake from the fridge, pop it off of its larger board and place onto a wire rack sat on a backing tray to catch the excess as it flows over the cake (note if using a stand or plate you can just pour directly over the cake on the cake stand, but use a palette knife to push the coating over and you won’t need as much because you won’t want to have tons pooling on the plate)
Pour the ganache all over the top making sure it completely covers all around the sides of the whole cake covering the entire cake and 8’ board, this will ensure you have a really impressive and smooth finish. Tap gently to settle and leave to set for about 30 minutes. When set, use a knife or palette knife and push this underneath the cake board on the bottom of the cake, pop it off the rack, trim any excess if you need to around the bottom and place onto you serving plate or stand. Dress with fresh berries and mint if desired and serve with plenty of extra clotted cream.