Baking | My (Disastrous) Triple Layer Chocolate Orange Birthday Cake!

Today it is Harry's birthday so of course I wanted to bake him a special cake. His only request was that it was chocolate orange flavoured and had multiple layers, hmm. I set about finding a recipe and chose this one which had been made on the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off. In hindsight that should've really given me a heads up that it might be a bit of a disaster but I thought surely if they have featured the recipe on the BBC website it must have been tested and be quite good! I baked the two chocolate layers in advance and put them in the freezer (top tip - sponge cakes freeze really well!) so I only had to bake the orange flavoured layer yesterday and assemble and decorate the cake.  

Chocolate cake layer topped with orange whipped cream.


As you can see from my terrible iPhone images above, that layer did not go so well! It was a pain to start with as it uses the zest and juice of real oranges, not orange essence, and if you've ever had to do this you'll know it takes forever and kills your hands! Once I'd finally made the mixture I turned it into my cake tin and instead of using my better judgement and stopping once the tin was 2/3 full, I kept going until  I'd use all the mixture. (In my defence I assumed that maybe this recipe wouldn't rise very much and that was why there was so much mixture!). Big mistake! Of course the cake rose and was soon falling down the sides of the tin and my oven ended up covered in cake! To make matters worse, when I took the cake out of the oven and tried to remove it from the tin it was almost completely stuck and ended up in a crumbly mess.


You might think my disastrous orange cake layer would be the only thing to go wrong, well...you'd be wrong. I also attempted to do some fancy white chocolate filigree (like they do on bake off) to put around the edge of the cake and for some decorations on top, BUT... my white chocolate completely seized in the saucepan. I'd also made a dark chocolate ganache to cover the cake with, which went well, BUT...I left it too long and it hardened and although I could've whipped it again to soften it I decided to taste some and it was so incredibly bitter that it just wasn't worth it. By this point I'd lost hope. It was 4pm on Sunday afternoon, the shops were closed, and in my eyes, there was nothing more I could do. Yes, there were a few tears, I AM A GIRL WHO CRYS OVER CAKE OK?!?! 


Luckily, Harry came to my rescue. I rang him, sobbing, and explained the situation and he graciously agreed to pop into Tesco Express and pick me up some butter and icing sugar so I could make a quick buttercream. It wasn't what I'd planned but it is difficult to go wrong with buttercream and I added some cocoa powder to give it a chocolate flavour to match the cake. I assembled the cake as best I could (I put the orange layer in the freezer for a while hoping that it would help it stick together at least until I could ice the cake - which it did!), filled it with the orange cream I'd successfully made and then covered it with the buttercream. For a last minute decoration I made some cute cake bunting out of the BBQ skewers, twine and some flags cut out of some spare links of a paper chain decoration that I had to hand.

Chocolate orange triple layer cake with a slice cut out.

So the cake didn't turn out as planned, it should've been a glossy chocolate ganache covered layer cake with delicate white filigree decorations, but I think I just about salvaged it. Harry was suitably impressed and once we cut it open it tasted pretty good too! Lessons I've learned for the future are to never fill your cake tin more than 2/3 full, trust your instincts, only make your ganache when you are ready to use it and don't use seriously dark chocolate just because the recipe says so if you like your chocolate sweet!Please let me know what you think of my cake and I'd love to know any of your baking disasters!


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