Chocolate Vanilla Bean Cream Cake – Recipe

Sandwiched with strawberry jam and just a dash of kirsch sprinkled over the sponge.

Yes the cream looks a bit intimidating, but it's not actually that thick: I smoothed the sides down after some of the cream squidged out while pressing each layer on top of the other, and I didn't bother to level the cake rounds before stacking them so the cream is a little thinner in the middle than at the edges where the cake layers slope slighly.

See? Looks a lot less scary now.

It was Dad's birthday today, and originally I was going to make him his usual favourite Victoria sponge. However this week I was also asked last minute to create a recipe for a chocolate cream cake for a company's social media campaign. I showed Dad the picture I was given as a brief, and he decided that he wanted to try it- lucky for me, since it's always best to test out new recipes!

This recipe isn't really new though, although it is, indeed mine- the sponge is the same recipe that I made for the father's day Black Forest gateau, and I've made the ganache before. As for the vanilla cream, it's not culinary rocket science. It was a good chance to make sure my method  and timing worked though, as well as test out some of my 'make it your own way' suggestions at the end of the recipe. In this case, I turned it into a sort of fancy chocolate Victoria sponge with the jam, and made it a little more grown-up with the liqueur.

Ingredients for cake:

-300g self raising flour
-90g cocoa powder
-400g caster sugar
-1/2tsp salt
-150ml sour cream
-150ml vegetable oil
-150ml hot black coffee (instant is fine)
-2 eggs
-1tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for cream filling:

-600ml double cream
-1 vanilla pod
-4 rounded tbsp icing sugar

Ingredients for ganache topping:

-200ml double cream
-200ml semi-sweet chocolate (50-70% cocoa solids)
-2tbsp light muscavado or caster sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 170°C and three 8” round baking tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment.

2) Sift the flour and cocoa together in a large bowl, and add the rest of the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer, whizz all of the wet ingredients straight into the dry.

3) Evenly divide the cake batter between the three pans, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean, and leave to cool completely (check from around 20 minutes- oven temperatures can vary).

4) While the cake cools, make the ganache topping. Heat the 200ml double cream in a pan with the sugar until almost boiling. Take the pan off the heat, add in the chocolate and stir until combined: the heat of the cream will melt the chocolate. Leave to cool a little and pop it in the fridge: it should become a good consistency for spreading by about 45 minutes, but keep checking on it and stirring every so often until you get the consistency you like.

5) Once you’re cake and ganache are ready, make your vanilla bean cream filling: add the cream and sugar to a bowl, split the vanilla pod down the middle with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds and paste from the inside with the tip of the knife. Add the vanilla seeds to your cream and whisk until soft peaks form (the cream should be stiff enough to handle the cake layers on top, but not so stiff that it starts to curdle).

6) Assemble your cake: sandwich the three layers together with the vanilla cream in between, and spread your thickened ganache topping.

As I mentioned, I added strawberry jam and a sprinkling of booze to moisten the sponge with: this is an easy cake to customise to your tastes, so have fun with it!

Here's a close-up of the glossy ganache topping, just for fun:



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