I was recently asked to make a cake for my cousin’s work colleague – apparently he loves Coca-Cola and drinks tons of the stuff so she wanted me to make a cake in a Coke can shape. I had yet to make a cake in the new house so I was delighted!
The planning commenced and we decided to do a half coke can lying on it’s side, and if we had any extra batter we’d do some cupcakes. The cake consisted of 2 rectangular layers made with my go-to chocolate sponge recipe (below) with buttercream in between. I wanted to do something more fun with the buttercream and introduce a cola flavour, and luckily enough I had cola icepops in my freezer! I let them defrost and voila – cola syrup!
To make the cola buttercream, I first made plain buttercream icing using 3 parts butter to 2 parts sugar. I then separated out a small bit to experiment in case it all went horribly wrong! I had to add enough cola syrup to almost make it split and even then it’s almost like the cola sits on top of the buttercream on your palette. It tasted delicious!!
For the cake itself, the two rectangular sponges formed the 2 layer cake. I cut the assembled cake to shape a curved can and covered in the yummy cola buttercream. I always have such a struggle getting a deep red sugarpaste but my cousin came to the rescue – when we couldn’t get more than a dull pink sugarpaste, she suggested painting the red food colouring onto the pink sugarpaste – genius! Again we did testers in case it was a disaster as I was worried about the liquid food colouring breaking down the icing in to a sticky sugary mess…but it seemed to work so I went for it. I used a make up sponge to apply the food colouring by blotting it rather than painting it to avoid any streaks.
I was pretty happy with the final result and think I’ve rewoken my love of baking and cake making. It had been so long since I’d made a cake like this and I’d forgotten how much fun it is – although when it was approaching 11pm and we hadn’t even rolled out the icing, my cousin did question my sanity – ‘this is fun to you?!’.
I had some batter left over so I made some coke float cupcakes using the cola buttercream and some jelly cola bottles with little straws – super cute!
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Yummy Chocolate Sponge Cake
Ingredients (Serves 12)
- 350g butter (Most recipes call for unsalted but I use salted also)
- 500g dark muscovado sugar (I’ve also used dark brown soft sugar if you cannot find muscovado)
- 200g chocolate (40% – 60%)
- 400g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 6 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 300ml buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan oven). Grease your two baking tins using butter (once you think you have used enough, use more!) and baking paper. I generally use 10″ baking tins because I love the look of tall cakes but you can also use other sizes.
2. In a bowl, break up the chocolate and add 240ml of just-boiled water. Stir to melt the chocolate.
3. Cream the butter using a mixer (or by hand using an electronic beater) for approx. 5 minutes, continually stopping to stir and combine the butter. The longer you can do this, the lighter your batter will be. Once creamed to a good consistency, add the sugar and again cream for approx. 5 minutes.
(When using a mixer, I like to begin step 3 and then do step 2 while the butter is creaming.)
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda in a bowl and set aside. In a seperate bowl, lightly whisk one egg and add the vanilla extract.
5. Once the butter/sugar is at a nice fluffly consistency, slowly add the whisked egg and a tablespoon of flour to stop curdling. Add each egg individually, stopping after each egg to spoon down the sides of the bowl. Once all the eggs are added, slowly add the chocolate and the buttermilk. The mixture will be very fluid at this stage so again spoon down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is fully combined.
6. Slowly fold in the flour. This process can take some time but be careful not to over beat the flour as once the flour hits the liquid mix, the gluten in the flour starts to work. If overworked, this will lead to a denser cake batter.
7. Split the cake batter between your cake tins and pop into the oven for 30-35 minutes. Once you think your cake looks cooked, pierce the centre with a kebab stick (or similar) and if it comes out clean then its cooked!
Once the cake comes out of the oven, I tend to leave it in the cake tin on top of the cooling rack for about 5 minutes. This allows the cake to cool while supporting its shape. If you pop it out of the cake tin too quickly with the rapid temperature change, it can sometimes collapse. After about 5 minutes of so, remove the cake from the tin and gently place onto the cooling rack to cool – don’t forget the baking paper!