Friday, 31 May 2013

Chocolate & Orange Maya Gold Layer Cake

I recently became ever so slightly obsessed with making a gargantuan and slightly bonkers chocolate 1st birthday cake for the Band of Bakers.  Three deep layers of chocolate and muscovado sponge, one layer of hazelnut wafer and one layer of hazelnut meringue all sandwiched together with treacle chocolate fudge frosting and vanilla meringue buttercream, topped off with lots of mini hazelnut meringues.

The sort of cake you only ever make once (like the campervan cake I made for my son's 2nd birthday...never again).

This layer cake is far more refined.  Perfect for a celebration, but equally wouldn't look out of place on the table for afternoon tea.  With three layers of gently spiced rich chocolate fudge sponge and about a gallon of Maya Gold chocolate fudge frosting it isn't for the faint hearted.  But it's made with dark chocolate which is ever so good for you.  And oranges, they count towards your five a day.

You will need to start by making the confit orange a couple of days (or more) before you want to make the cake.


For the orange confit:

4 oranges
500g caster sugar
500ml water

(This is the recipe from Paul A. Young's book Adventures with Chocolate, but I make a big batch so that I have lots of leftovers - they keep well in am airtight container for up to 3 months)

For the cake:

160g unsalted butter, softened
150g dark soft brown sugar
150g light soft brown sugar
100g Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate
50g Green & Black's 70% dark chocolate
40ml sunflower oil
3 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp glycerin
50ml soured cream
250g plain flour
50g Green & Black's cocoa
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground mixed spice

For the frosting:

2 tbsp golden syrup
150g light soft brown sugar
4 tbsp Green & Black's cocoa
4 tbsp cornflower
300ml milk
150g Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate
100g Green & Black's 70% dark chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, softened

(This almost identical to my current favourite chocolate frosting recipe, which is in Dan Lepard's book Short & Sweet, except that I have swapped the treacle in his recipe for golden syrup and used Maya Gold in place of some of the dark chocolate.  If you don't have Dan's book, you should have!)


For the orange confit:

Wash the oranges, then score the skin from top to bottom so the skin is in 4 equal pieces.  Gently peel the skin away from the flesh and slice each piece into 3 or 4 lengthways.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the orange skin for 3 minutes , then drain and discard the water.  Repeat twice.

Put the sugar and water into a pan and bring to the boil.  Put the orange skin into the sugar syrup and turn the heat right down to a very gentle simmer.  Simmer for 3 hours then leave in the syrup to cool.  Once cooled, gently lay the strips of orange skin on a cooling rack and leave for 24 hours, or until the sugar crystallises.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line the bottoms of three 20cm sandwich cake tins.

Beat the butter, dark and light sugars with an electric mixer (I used my Kitchenaid Mixer) until pale and fluffy.  This will take about 4 or 5 minutes.

Whilst the butter and sugars are mixing, melt the Maya Gold and 70% dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Take care not to let the water touch the bowl or the chocolate.

Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, glycerin and soured cream together in a jug.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice.

Once the butter and sugar mixture is pale and fluffy, reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the egg mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time.  If the mixture starts to curdle, add a spoonful of the flour mixture.

Beat in half the flour mixture, then the melted chocolate and then the rest of the flour mixture.

Divide equally into the 3 tins and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  The cakes should be quite level on top once baked, which is perfect for layering them up with lots of frosting.

For the frosting:

Put the golden syrup, sugar, cocoa, cornflower and milk in a pan and beat until smooth. Bring the boil, stirring all the time.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.  Beat until smooth.

Once the mixture has cooled slightly, beat in the vanilla extract and the butter, a little at a time.


  1. Yes please, I'll bring my own plate? Looks fab.

  2. 400g chocolate plus cocoa. What's not to like?!
    It looks fabulous. Must make those confit orange strips. Off to the market I go!

  3. This looks incredibly gorgeous (and incredibly rich!). I have my daughter's birthday coming up thinking something similar... Lovely photography as well.

  4. Presume you cut up the orange peel once it has cooled?


  5. Ailbe - You would have been more than welcome to a slice or two. We've been drowning in chocolate cake this week! My colleagues have helped my waistline by eating up the leftovers today.

    Not Aunty Lisa / supergoldenbakes - Thanks both! Lots of chocolate and sugar and butter makes for good cake...

    Corrina - I cut the strips of confit orange up to decorate the cake after they had cooled and crystalised. There are lots left in the tin for next time (or maybe just for dipping in dark chocolate and eating).

  6. Is the 180 a conventional oven or a fan oven? can't wait to make this!!