Chocolate Birthday Cake
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp full-fat milk
100g good-quality dark chocolate, melted
200g dark chocolate
100 milk chocolate
250ml double cream
1 large packet of Maltesers
You will need 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined with buttered baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 180oc/160oc fan oven/350oF/gas mark 4.
In a bowl of a free-standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa and milk, then mix until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix again until smooth.
Divide equally between the prepared sandwich tins, spread level and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 22-25 minutes until golden and a skewer comes away clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Turn the cakes out of the tins onto a wire cooling rack and leave until cold.
To make the ganache, finely chop both the dark and milk chocolates and tip into a saucepan along with the double cream. Set the pan over a low heat to melt, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour the ganache into a shallow dish, cool and then chill to firm.
To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on a cake or serving plate and spoon half of the ganache on the cake and spread. Then scatter with crushed Maltesers.
Cover the top of the second cake layer with ganache, spreading it smoothly with a palette knife. Sandwich the two caes together and finish off with a good scattering of Maltesers.