Mango, Peach and Chocolate Sorbet Layer Cake

Vegan and Gluten Free

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Guys, come on. How epic is this cake! I made my own birthday cake! Before you start thinking “oh no, that’s really sad! The baker’s curse strikes again!” I was actually really excited to make my own cake. Making your own birthday cake equals making your idea of cake heaven. It means creating the most amazing and perfect combination that doesn’t have to please anyone but yourself. 

For me that equalled not even making a cake at all. Instead, I made an ice cream layer cake! Who wants to bother with fiddly layers and boring old cake flavours when instead you can just eat ice cream. Lets be serious here. Especially when the ice cream is home churned and made out  of three mind bogglingly good flavours.

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The bottom layer is of course mango. I know I’m overwhelming people with the mango…it’s getting ridiculous. Imagine if I had a follower that hated mangoes! They’ve probably unsubscribed until March. The good thing about this cake though is that you can kind of choose whatever flavours you like the best. The middle layer (my favourite layer) is chocolate sorbet, and the top layer is an amazingly refreshing peach and raspberry sorbet. 

This cake is similar to the chocolate, berry and cinnamon ice cream cake I made for my boyfriends birthday a while ago. Ever since making that cake I was just itching to make another one. It was so good! My dream would be to have a recipe list full of hundreds of different ice cream cake combinations with all the ice cream flavours of the land! 

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I didn’t bother making a base for the cake because whenever I’m eating ice cream cake, I always want less base more ice cream. AND IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! You could of course make the brownie base from the cinnamon and berry cake, or you could make a gluten free and vegan base like in this frozen lychee cheesecake. Just double the recipe so it’s enough for the larger tin. 

This cake is absolutely perfect for holiday season. It’s actually super easy. Especially if you aren’t as in to making ice cream as me, and instead just buy your three favourite flavours. It makes a lot of ice cream to feed a crowd with minimum effort. And it’s naturally vegan and gluten free! My idea of the perfect birthday cake 🙂 Hope you like it as much as me! Speaking of, I might go eat another slice right now…

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Mango, Peach and Chocolate Sorbet Layer Cake:

Mango Sorbet: loosely based on Serious Eats

3 medium mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks

150ml (2/3 cup) water

130g (1/2 cup) sugar

juice of 1 medium lime

2 tablespoons gin or white rum

Blend all the ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into a bowl, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled (at least 5 hours). Freeze in your ice cream machine according to instructions. 

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 Chocolate Sorbet: Recipe from David Lebovitz

170g (1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate

550ml (2 +1/3 cups) water split into 375 ml (1.5 cups) and 125ml (1/2 cup) bowls

200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar

75g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk 375ml (1.5) cups of water with the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently. Boil for about 1 minute until completely combined and glossy

Break up the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Pour over the hot chocolate mixture and leave to melt. Stir together until completely incorporated, then stir in the rest of the water and the vanilla. Cool in the fridge over night then churn in ice cream machine. 

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Peach and Raspberry Sorbet: Recipe from Cookie and Kate

6 medium yellow peaches

150ml (1/2 cup) water

250g (1/2 pound, 9 ounces) raspberries, fresh or frozen

Cut up the peaches and place in a pot with the water. Put a lid on and gently simmer until the peaches are soft. Turn off the heat and stir in the sugar until combined. Mix in the raspberries and leave to cool. Blend well, and refrigerate for 8-10 hours until cold. Freeze according to manufacturers instructions. 

To assemble: Get a 23cm (9 inch) round springform pan and release the bottom. Slip a sheet of plastic wrap in between the bottom and the sides and secure in place, so that the plastic wrap is curled up around the outside of the tin and covers the bottom. Line the sides either with oil and baking paper, or more plastic wrap. Take out one sorbet and let if defrost until soft. Scoop into the tin and spread evenly. Freeze until hard. Repeat with the other layers, allowing a few hours inbetween to let each layer freeze solidly and prevent them bleeding together. Release the cake from the tin before serving and place a plate on top of the cake, before inverting it and peeling off the plastic. Place a large plate on the exposed base and flip it back over. Work fast so it doesn’t melt! Run a knife under boiling hot water in between slices to get a smooth finish. Eat it!!!

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Chocolate Caramel Truffle Cake with Chocolate Ganache

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 It has been raining for a week now. I am so sick of rain. I know some people might be thinking what, a week? That’s nothing! But I’m sorry, having grown up during a ten year drought, when we used to use buckets to collect bath water to pour back on to the garden, I am not liking this weather at all. The photos look so sad and colourless when there’s hardly any natural light. It makes this chocolate cake look mournful! Like a going away cake. So different from the celebratory chocolate layer cake of a few weeks ago! Well my friends. That is exactly what it is. So maybe the weather suits the mood after all. 

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In a very short amount of time my friend Hannah will be jetting overseas for a ridiculously long period of time, eight months! That’s almost a year! This cake was for her surprise goodbye party and it is my third layer cake attempt. It didn’t come out looking exactly how I wanted, but hey. It has character! 

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 This is a very rich cake. The layers are a variation of a chocolate truffle cake. The recipe reads more like a brownie than anything else, and the batter smelt amazing whilst it was baking! Probably because there was an entire vanilla bean mixed with the sugar. In between these layers is a whipped dulce de leche caramel filling. Encasing the whole thing is a silky whipped chocolate ganache and sprinkles of course because we are celebrating here. 

 While it’s exciting to see her go knowing she’s going to have an amazing time exploring Europe and Asia, I’m really sad to say goodbye. I will probably be consoling myself later with a piece of this cake and a spoon (for smearing over leftover ganache, of course). 

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 Chocolate Caramel Truffle Cake (adapted from Kate Quinn Davies recipe in June Delicious 2013):

500ml (2 cups) whole milk

200g (1 + 1/4 cups or 7 ounces dark chocolate

250g ( 1/2 pound, 8.8 ounces, 1.1 cups) butter, in cubes

125ml (1/2 cup) cream 

2 eggs

1 vanilla bean

375g (1 + 3/4 cups) caster sugar

410g (3 cups) plain flour

1 tbs cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line four 20cm cake tins (or as many as you have). Melt the butter, cream and chocolate in a large bowl over simmering water. Heat the milk until warm and add to the chocolate mix, stirring to combine. Allow to cool slightly. Beat your eggs, sugar and the seeds from the vanilla bean until thick and pale. Slowly pour in the chocolate mix until combined. Sift over the dry ingredients and stir well. To divide the cake batter evenly, set a large bowl over a set of scales and set the weight back on zero. Pour in the mix. Divide by four and spoon in to the tin a quarter of the mix, using the weight as an indicator. Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and dry when a toothpick is inserted. 

IMG_5029 For the filling:

Depending on how thick you want the layers, use 2 to 3 cans of condensed milk. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Pour into a shallow baking dish and smooth it evenly. Cover with foil. Place the dish in a larger baking dish and pour water into so that it comes half way up the sides of the can. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the caramel is thick and brown. Check throughout a few times and make sure the water doesn’t run out. Once cool, beat with electric mixers until fluffy. Put one layer of cake on a large flat plate. Spread one quarter of the caramel over the cake, leaving a little room around the edges because it will squeeze out. Use a pallet knife or large butter knife to spread the caramel evenly. Repeat with the remaining layers. 

IMG_5036 For the chocolate ganache:

150g (1 cup) dark chocolate, broken in to pieces

200g (1 + 1/3 cups) milk chocolate, broken into pieces

300ml (1 + 1/4 cups) thickened cream

Break up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until scalding and pour over the chocolate. Leave for a minute, then stir together until the chocolate melts. If some of it hasn’t melted set the bowl over a stove of simmering water and stir until smooth. Cool in the fridge for an hour, until thick. Pour into a mixer and beat until fluffy. Use an offset spatula to ice the cake, using a circular motion. Decorate with sprinkles or buttons if you wish. 

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Banana Layer Cake with Maple Icing

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Sometimes I wonder why I was born quite so technologically challenged. Do you know what I just did? Just one minute ago? I deleted this entire post. Not just a photo, not a paragraph, the whole thing. So lets try again! 

Welcome to the Banana Birthday Layer Cake extravaganza that was created for my friend Evie. She loves bananas and pancakes, and especially banana pancakes with maple syrup. So I knew she’d love the flavours in this cake! I didn’t quite expect her to eat five slices in one day though…but each to their own.

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 So basically you are looking at the most beautiful banana birthday cake I’ve ever created. You are also looking at the only banana birthday cake I’ve ever created (shh). It is the softest, stickiest banana cake and the icing is amazing! I could eat it out of the bowl. The cake recipe is one I borrowed from Pastry Affair, and her chocolate glaze looks phenomenal! The icing however is the same as I used for my apple cupcakes, but this time with maple syrup instead of honey. In the middle fresh banana is sliced up to make it the most bananery cake in the land. The combination of maple syrup, banana and and cream cheese is such a winner!

I’ve mentioned how amazing the cake recipes from Ottolenghi (where I got the icing) are before, but if you didn’t get the message! It’s a super book with lots of great seasonal and fresh recipes.
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This is my second ever layer cake attempt. This time I just stuck to two layers, and it was truly the easiest cake I’ve made in ages. The only challenge I had was trying to make it not resemble a sad caramel coloured rock on a plate, but I am not the greatest cake decorator in the world by any means. IMG_4697

Make this cake for a birthday girl or boy who doesn’t like super sweet, super ridiculous traditional cakes. Make it for all the banana lovers out there. Make it for me if you can’t think of a better reason. IMG_4700

 Banana Maple Birthday Layer Cake adapted from here and icing from here.

Ingredients: 4 bananas blended until smooth, plus one extra for slicing in the middle

310 grams (3.5 cups + 1 tbsp) plain flour sifted with 1 tbsp baking powder

100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar mixed with 165 grams (1 +1/5 cups) brown sugar

110 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk 

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line two 8 inch or 20cm sandwich pans. Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Stir in the banana puree and the buttermilk. With a spatula, fold in gently the sifted flour and baking powder. Pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. IMG_4710

For the icing beat one 100 grams (1/2 cup) of butter with 100 grams (3/4 cup) of brown sugar and 100ml (1/2 cup) of maple syrup. Once smooth beat in 250 grams (1 packet or 1/2 pound) of cream cheese (or close if the packet is slightly different) until light and fluffy. 

Place one cake layer on a wide, flat plate. Smooth some icing with a knife over the bottom. Thinly slice the banana over the icing in an even layer. Place the other half of cake on top. Using a pallet knife, smoothly spread over the icing in swift, circular strokes, working down the sides of the cake evenly. Decorate with optional walnuts. Serves around 10. IMG_4703

Chocolate and Raspberry Layer Cake

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I’m so excited! It’s birthday season! Do you know what this means?!?!?! Birthday cake! 

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Birthday cakes are my favourite thing to make for a few reasons. Number one they’re much more exciting than ordinary cakes, and usually allowed to be much more extravagant and rich and decorative without it being weird. Number two there’s no worrying about making it and watching it sadly sit on the kitchen counter after day four, half-eaten, alone…unwanted after everyone in the family has decided there’s better cake worth eating. And number three everybody loves having a birthday cake made for them. 

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Yesterday was my friends birthday and I decided to attempt a layer cake for the first time! I had high aspirations for a towering coconut cake of multi-layered glory but my nerve failed me. It’s been a long week! Exams are coming up, my assignments all got handed in yesterday, and yeah. I was too scared to attempt it. Instead I decided to double my favourite trusty chocolate cake and sandwich it with raspberry jam, with a rich chocolate icing to cover it. IMG_4657

Making the cake layers I used two 20cm sandwich pans and just made the recipe twice. It’s so easy, it wasn’t really a hassle at all and would have been much fiddlier to double the recipe and try and do it all at once. (Plus what kind of person owns four 20cm sandwich pans…seriously). I read about one hundred tips on layering cakes and decided to bake the layers at a lower temperature for longer, to create flat layers. It worked really well! Although the cake is very heavy and fudgy, which isn’t a terrible thing. I made the icing and did the layering this morning and have my own handy tip to add. Do not make a layer cake hung over from the birthday celebrations. Lets just leave it at that. 

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 Raspberry Chocolate Layer Cake:
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s classic chocolate cake (just so you know I love Nigella Lawson, she is amazing and so is her lazy lazy chocolate cake recipe). 

Ingredients:

400g (3 +1/8 cups) plain flour

400g (1 +3/4 cups) caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

80g (1 cup) cocoa powder

350g (12 ounces) soft butter

4 large eggs

4 tsp vanilla extract

300ml (1 + 1/4 cups) sour cream

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich pans, unless you have four of course. In a large blender, (you may need to do this in two stages) blend all your cake ingredients together until smooth. Pour half the cake mixture into the two pans (so 1 quarter in each) and bake for fifteen minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Repeat with the rest of the mix. 

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 For the icing:

1 jar raspberry or strawberry jam, around 250g 

75g (3/4 cup) butter

175g (6.15 ounces) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

300g (3 cups) icing sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

125ml (3/4 cups) sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly, then add the syrup and sour cream and stir until smooth. Blend the icing sugar if it is clumpy, then beat it into the chocolate to form a thick and silky icing. 

To assemble:

Lay your first cake on a large, flat plate, with baking paper strips just beneath the edges to catch fallen icing. Warm your jam in the microwave until soft. Spoon a third onto the cake layer and spread evenly, leaving an inch from the edge free. Repeat with the next two layer and place on the top layer. With a large pallet knife or equivalent, gently smooth the slightly cooled chocolate icing over the cake in even, circular sweeps. Remove the baking paper and clean up any edges with a paper towel. Yum. 

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