1 x 24 cm cake tin greased and lined with baking paper
125 grams very soft butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup cocoa sifted (no lumps!)
1 cup of milk
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup hot coffee
1+1/2 cups self raising flour
In a stand mixer (or with hand held electric beaters) whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla for a further two minutes.
Combine milk with balsamic vinegar and set aside, It will curdle slightly but that’s OK.
Sift in cocoa and whisk very gently, it will go everywhere if you try to mix it in too fast!
Next, slowly add in milk + vinegar combo. After this add the flour and hot coffee, mix until just combined. Remove beaters and quickly stir with a spatula, scraping the base and sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are mixed evenly.
Pour into prepared tin and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sit in tin for for ten minutes before turning out onto a tea towel on a cooling rack.
I always pop my cakes in the fridge, or better still, the freezer before icing. It makes them less likely to crumble and it’s easier to get smooth sides.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing and Chocolate Drip Topping
500 grams icing sugar (it must be sifted!!)
250 grams softened butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup milk at room temperature
200 grams white chocolate
75 mls thickened cream
Beat butter on high until very light, pale and fluffy. (This can take a while) Next, slowly beat in icing sugar and vanilla bean paste for a further 3-5 mins, start slowly then build up speed. To finish stir in milk with a spatula knocking out any of the larger air bubbles to make a smooth icing.
If you are feeling really brave you can cut the cake into two layers and fill the centre with buttercream before starting with the crumb layer of icing.
Put aside 1/4 of the icing for a “crumb layer”. This is a layer of icing you do under the final outer layer of icing to catch all of the crumbs and create a smooth, crumb free base.
Put the cake back in the fridge with the crumb layer to set for 5-10 minutes before adding the final layer of icing which will be thicker and fingers crossed, crumb free! Return to fridge to set before adding drip effect to the top.
Melt white chocolate and cream in a microwave safe jug stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Add a few drops of food colouring and drizzle at evenly spaced intervals around the top edge of the cake so it drips over and runs down the sides of the cake. Pour the rest onto the top of the cake.
Tip : Softened butter is when it still holds its form but will squash down when pressed. If it is melted too much the butter will split into oils and solids and not come back together or make a good icing.