Pine cone cakes
Makes 16 | prep 2 hrs | total time
- 200g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 50g cook's Belgian dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 200g self-raising flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 200ml soured cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream icing
- 175g softened unsalted butter
- 250g icing sugar
- 50g cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 75ml double cream
- 200g flaked almonds
- 1-2 tsp cocoa powder
You will need
- an oval cookie cutter about 4 x 7cm (try hobbycraft.co.uk); or cut an oval out of a piece of card to use as a template
Make the sponge and ice with the buttercream up to 2 days ahead – store in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 3-4 hours before decorating to soften. Decorate with the almonds and cocoa no more than 4 hours before serving – this keeps the almonds from going soft. The cooled, uniced sponge can be frozen.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir until smooth; cool slightly.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and ½ teaspoon salt into a mixing bowl, then add the softened butter and sugar and beat together with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk the eggs and mix in the soured cream and vanilla. Slowly add this to the mixing bowl, beating until thoroughly mixed, then add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Scrape into the prepared tin and level out the surface with a palette knife. Bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch, and starting to pull away from the sides of the tin.
- Remove the cake from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla, and beat again for 2 minutes. Add the double cream and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
- Cut the cake into 16 ovals using a cutter. For a perfect cone shape, slightly trim the top edges of the cake to give a more domed top. You can use the cake trimmings for a trifle.
- Cover the top and sides of each sponge with a generous coating of the whipped buttercream. Then, taking one flaked almond at a time, insert a third of the way into the buttercream, working from one end to the other to create a pine cone effect. Dust with the cocoa powder to serve.