Things you will need:
Stand mixer, electric hand whisk or bowls and wooden spoon, Sieve, 3 x 6” round cake tins (or do in batches if you just have one or two tins)
Grease and line 3 x 15 or 16cm round tins (alternatively do the baking in batches if you only have one tin). Line the base and sides of the tins. Heat the oven to 160C fan.
Gently melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together in a large microwave-safe bowl on medium heat for a minute at a time, stirring until melted or, set a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool a little then stir in the orange zest.
Beat together the eggs with the vanilla and clotted cream in a bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into another bowl and whisk to distribute. Stir the egg mix into the cooled melted chocolate, then fold in the flour mix and fold through until all the powder has disappeared.
Spoon a third of the mixture evenly into each tin (if you weigh the tins, you can get it perfectly even and your cakes will cook at the same rate and to the same height). Level off each thin layer with the back of a spoon.
Bake until just cooked, so when a skewer poked into the centre of the sponge layer comes out with a few crumbs and the cakes are shrinking away from the tin a bit. This will take about 20-25 mins, all ovens vary so keep your eye on them.
Remove and cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn onto on a wire rack, remove paper and allow to cool completely.
To make the boozy clotted cream buttercream, use a stand mixer with paddle attatchment or electric hand whisk, or bowl and wooden spoon. Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well between each addition. Beat in the alcohol and taste, if you like a little more feel free to add it!
Lastly, with the mixer on slow beat in the clotted cream until just combined.
To assemble, check the cakes , if they have a little hump you can trim the cakes flat, so the finished cake looks nice and level, if they are all flat and level just leave them as they are.
Put the first layer onto a stand or cake plate and spread a layer of frosting over the first cake (the best tool for this is a small or medium crank handle palette knife, but if you do not have one you can manage with a regular butter knife), not too thick a few mm’s thickness is perfect, then add the second cake and sandwich together by pressing gently with your palm, make sure the cakes are level and in line.
Add another layer of frosting to the top of the second cake, then take the third sponge and invert it on top of the other two cakes, so that the smooth part of the cake – that was on the bottom of the tin –becomes the top. This will make it nice and neat. Spread the excess icing that might be squeezing out of the sides, and smooth over the whole cake with a small amount of the frosting to seal in the crumbs, pop into the freezer for 10 mins or fridge for 30, this is a crumb coat and will help to give you a neater crumb free coating on your cake.
Add the rest of the frosting to the cake (using a small palette knife is best) by spreading all over the top and sides, then use the rounded end of the palette (or butter) knife in backwards and forwards swishy swoops to create a lovely flicky coating of lashings of clotted cream frosting.
This is best eaten on the day, but if you wish you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days, just be sure to remove it from the fridge for about an hour before serving so the sponge isn’t too hard.
If you fancy you can jazz it up with some sparkly lustre spray or dust to add a shimmer, and a jolly Christmas Cake topper. Serve with an extra dollop of clotted cream.