A cake for all reasons

BIRTHDAY TREAT: This cake is quick and easy, and is so delicious.
BIRTHDAY TREAT: This cake is quick and easy, and is so delicious.

I'm always surprised at the impact a birthday cake makes. Just about everyone who receives one is blown away. 

It's always handy to have a tasty and quick-to-put-together cake recipe. A cake that's easy to make but still special enough to feel like a treat, or even to use as a birthday cake.

Someone who loves - or even just likes - the birthday person has thought about them and taken the time to bake a cake.This cake was devised for last year's children's cooking class - our first.

Our students managed the recipe well and were appreciative of the simple but effective decorating idea. At the stage where you turn the cooked cake upside down to ice the flat side, you may wish to trim what was the top side of the cake so it sits evenly on a cake stand or plate. Freeze any trimmings to use in truffles or to add flavour and texture to icecream.



(Makes 1 x 18cm round cake)

Don't forget to add candles if using as a birthday cake.

50g ( cup) cocoa, preferably "Dutched" cocoa powder, which has been alkalised to make it darker and milder.

250g (1 cups) sugar

160g (1 cup + 3 Tbsp) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

tsp salt

165ml ( cup) buttermilk

2 eggs

85ml ( cup) vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp raspberry essence

150ml ( cup less 1 Tbsp) boiling water

90g ( cup + 1 Tbsp) raspberry jam

Chocolate Ganache

Raspberry Icing


Preheat oven to 180°C.

Grease base and sides of an 18cm round cake tin with baking spray or butter and line base with baking paper.

Sift cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and combine.

Into separate bowl, place buttermilk, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and raspberry essence and whisk to combine.

Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until partly combined. Pour in water and whisk until batter is just mixed, and is smooth.

Working quickly, pour batter into prepared tin. Dollop raspberry jam onto batter in tin and swirl into cake.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean when inserted.

Remove cake from oven and cool it completely. Remove from tin and discard baking paper. Turn cake upside down onto a flat tray.

Pour Chocolate Ganache onto flat side of cake, leaving a 5mm rim around outside of cake.

Place Raspberry Icing into a disposable piping bag with a fine hole for piping.

Pipe thin lines on the cake at regular intervals. Drag the tip of a skewer through the raspberry icing from edge to edge of cake.

Make the second drag in the opposite direction from edge to edge. Continue to alternate drags and you will get an even spider web/feathered effect.

Set aside for 30 minutes for icing to set.

If you wish, serve with icecream and/or whipped cream.


(Enough to ice one 18cm cake)

Over past months I have received several calls and emails from readers with chocolate problems. Generally, all my recipes use dark chocolate (70 per cent). Personally, I always use Whittaker's dark chocolate, which is actually 72 per cent.

Store brands and chocolate melts will not produce the results required. If they carry a percentage, it will be very low. The lower the percentage, the more fat the chocolate contains.

By the way, many children prefer milk-chocolate ganache. If this is the case, follow the recipe below substituting milk chocolate for dark but it must be good quality.

80g 70 per cent dark chocolate, finely chopped

90ml ( cup + 1 tsp) cream, heated until hot

Place chocolate into a small bowl and pour cream over chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and ganache is thick and smooth.

Use immediately or cool, cover and store in refrigerator for up to one week.


(Enough to feather one 18cm round cake)

10g (2 tsp) butter, softened

15ml (1 Tbsp) hot water

75g icing sugar, sifted

tsp raspberry essence Drop pink food colouring into a small bowl place butter and water and stir until butter is melted.

The Dominion Post