Chocolate and Orange Matchmakers Cake

Ingredients

For the chocolate leaves

  • 75g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into chunks
  • 40-50 varying sized rose leaves, washed and dried

For the cake batter

  • 150g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into chunks
  • 75g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting the tins
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 125g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 medium free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150ml crème fraîche
  • 2 tsp baking powder, sifted

For the butter icing

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 100g Philadelphia full-fat soft cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • zest of 1 orange, plus 1 tsp orange juice
  • orange food gel

To decorate

  • 2 x 130g boxes of orange matchmakers
  • chocolate leaves, as made above
  • ribbon

Method

  1. For the chocolate leaves, line 2 large trays with cling film. Melt the chocolate in a mixing bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, do not allow the water to touch the base of the saucepan. Remove from the saucepan. With a paint brush, paint the chocolate on the underside of each leaf. Place the leaves chocolate side up on the tray. Leave to dry.

  2. To make the cake batter, melt the chocolate in a mixing bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, do not allow the water to touch the base of the saucepan. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool.

  3. Mix the cocoa with 250ml boiling water and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

  4. Place the oven rack on the middle shelf. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan160°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line 3 round 20cm sandwich cake tins with baking parchment and grease again. Dust the base and sides with flour. Remove any excess flour.

  5. Beat the butter and sugars with a hand held electric whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the eggs. Beat in the melted chocolate.

  6. Whisk the crème fraîche into the cocoa and water mixture, until combined add to the cake batter alternating with the flour. Add the baking powder and give a good stir.

  7. Divide the cake batter between the tins and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool in the tins then turn out on to a wire rack.

  8. For the butter icing, place the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and add half the icing sugar. Beat by hand with a metal spoon until smooth. Beat in the remaining icing sugar. Mix in the orange zest and juice. Add enough orange food gel to your colour liking.

  9. Place one of the sponges on a serving plate. Use a palette knife to spread ¼ of the icing over the sponge. Repeat the process with the remaining 2 sponges. Place a 1cm plain nozzle in a piping bag and add the remaining buttercream. Use to pipe randomly around the cake between the cake layers. Use a palette knife to spread and smooth the icing to form a naked cake look.

  10. To decorate, place the matchsticks around the outside of the cake. Peel off the leaves from the chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake and tie a ribbon around the cake.