Whenever I am planning to bake a special cake for a significant event there are 4 books I always turn to; The Hummingbird Bakery: Home Sweet Home, The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days, Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale. The event in question was my boyfriend’s birthday and the cake I chose was from The Hummingbird Bakery: Home Sweet Home. I really wanted to bake an indulgent and over-the-top chocolate cake and I thought that the Chicago Fudge Cake fitted these requirements perfectly. I was also pretty keen to try out this bake as the recipe calls for making your own fudge, frosting and 3 cakes. The cake took pretty much a full day to make but it was totally worth it and so much fun. Quite often Hummingbird recipes can be quite long but they are so detailed that following them is a piece of cake! This recipe was also accompanied by 4 pictures of how to ice the cake which was very helpful. One thing which did go wrong with this cake but which ended up tasting delicious was the icing; we over-whipped it so it turned into a kind of chocolate mousse! To counter this we put it in the fridge to harden and it ended working fine and tasting excellent so no harm came from the mistake. The cake also ended up being thinner and larger in diameter because we used a bigger tin.
Our beast of a cake!
The fudge for the centre of the cake
Chicago Fudge Cake
For the fudge
- 55g unsalted butter
- 180g caster sugar
- 90g soft light brown sugar
- 125ml double cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 725ml double cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 170g unsalted butter
- 60g golden syrup
- 450g dark chocolate, chopped
For the sponge
- 110g cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tbsp instant coffee mixed wth 240ml boiling water
- 125g soured cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 210g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 340g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
Three 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins and a sugar thermometer
Preheat the oven to 170C and line the cake tins with baking parchment.
To make the fudge: line a baking tray with baking parchment. Mix the butter, caster sugar, light brown sugar, cream and vanilla extract in a medium pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Then cook over a low heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage (when a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water cracks) about 150C on a sugar thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the syrup onto the prepared tray. Allow to cool completely. When cool, break the fudge into rough small pieces. Set aside.
To make the frosting: mix the double cream, vanilla extract, butter and golden syrup in a medium pan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Remove from the heat.
Place the chopped dark chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate, stirring until all the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours until set but still soft enough to spread.
In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and hot coffee together well with a whisk to ensure the cocoa powder is fully dissolved in the coffee. Allow to cool.
In a jug, mix the cooled coffee mixture, soured cream and vanilla extract together. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
On a slow speed, add the dry ingredients. alternating with the soured cream mixture. Mix until the batter is smooth and glossy.
Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Allow to cool completely in the tins before frosting.
Once the sponge layers feel cool to the touch, you can assemble the cake. Place the first layer on a plate and top with 3-4 tbsp of frosting. Smooth the frosting out using a palette knife, adding a little more if necessary. Sprinkle a handful of the fudge pieces over the frosting. Sandwich the second layer on top, then add more frosting and fudge pieces, followed by the third layer of cake.
Next frost the sides and top of the cake, covering it completely so that no sponge is showing. Finally, decorate the top of the cake with the remaining fudge pieces.
Handy how-to of how to ice a 3-tier cake