Christmas Cloud Cake
Serves: 10
A rich, dark chocolate cake with a whipped ganache filling and fluffy candy cane frosting. Makes one 5-cm (6-inch) cake.
For the cake:
  • 45g (or 1½ ounce) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 180ml (or ¾ cup) boiling water
  • 140g (or 1 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 110g (or ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) cocoa
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅜ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ large eggs, at room temperature
  • 90ml (or ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) sunflower oil
  • 180ml (or ¾ cup) milk
  • ⅜ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 340g (or 1½ cup + 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
For the raspberry syrup:
  • 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
  • 50g (or ¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of raspberry eau de vie or raspberry liqueur
For the whipped ganache filling:
  • 200ml (or ¾ cup + 4 teaspoons) whipping cream
  • 100g (or ½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 150g (or 5 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 extra tablespoons of whipping cream
For the candy cane frosting:
  • 100g (or a little over 3 ounces) candy canes, crushed
  • 100g (or ½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
First, make the cake:
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 175°C or 350°F (standard oven setting). Spray a 15-cm (6-inch) cake pan with baking spray and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment, using the baking spray to stick the parchment to the sides of the pan. Pour the water over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until foamy. Keep mixing and slowly drizzle in the oil. Once the oil is fully incorporated, add the milk and vanilla to the chocolate-water mixture. Pour the now cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. NOTE: to check whether the sugar has dissolved, rub the batter between your fingers. If you can’t feel any sugar grains, the sugar has properly dissolved.
  4. Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once the flour mixture has been absorbed, give the batter a quick whiz with the mixer to get rid of any lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 80 minutes. You may need to place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake after 45 minutes if it’s browning too fast.
  5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to cool for twenty minutes in the pan before turning the cake out. Leave to cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Make the syrup:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear, take it off the heat and pour it in a mug to cool. Add the eau de vie or liqueur. Cover and place in the fridge until use.
Once the cake has cooled, make the ganache filling:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and sugar. Heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then crank up the heat. While the cream is heating, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. As soon as the cream has reached scalding point, pour it into the bowl with the chocolate. Allow to sit undisturbed for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate doesn’t melt properly into the cream, gently heat the mixture in the bowl of a double boiler, stirring until smooth (for more information, check out: ‘Faking a Double Boiler’ under ‘Basics and Tips’). Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Once the ganache has cooled, use a mixer to whip it up. It should lighten in color and thicken. If you overwhip the ganache, it becomes too thick to spread. if this happens, add the extra cream to make it spreadable again. Start assembling the cake as soon as the ganache filling is ready.
Once the filling is done, assemble the cake:
  1. Place the cooled cake on a cutting board. Get eye level with the cake and, using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally. I usually place my left hand on top of the cake while cutting with the right. I feel this gives me more control. Cut both of the cake halves in half again, so you end up with 4 cake layers. Reserve the bottom layer for the top of the cake (it is nice and flat).
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush the top layer of the cake with the raspberry syrup. Place one third of the ganache filling on top of the cake layer and use an offset spatula to push it to and over the sides of the cake, creating a frosting ‘overhang’ (for pictures: check out my recipe for Crowned King’s Cake). Try not to pull the ganache towards you, as the ganache may come off again. Place another cake layer on top of the ganache and press it down lightly.
  3. Repeat the brushing and frosting process with the second and third layer, then take the layer you reserved for the top on top (flat side up) and press it down lightly.
  4. Using an offset spatula, smoothen out the frosting overhang on the sides of the cake. Try to make the sides of the cake as straight as possible. Place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes to firm up or in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
While the cake is chilling, make the candy cane frosting:
  1. Combine the candy canes, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and the candy canes. As they heat up, the candy cane will clump together. Don’t allow the water to boil before the candy cane has completely melted. It takes some time, but eventually the candy will melt. In the meantime, combine the egg whites and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until foamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Once the candy has melted and the sugar has dissolved, crank up the heat and clip on a candy/sugar thermometer. Once the mixture reaches a temperature of 115°C/240°F, take the pan off the heat and immediately pour the hot syrup into the egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Try not to pour the hot syrup onto the whisk attachment of the mixer, as the syrup may splatter. Once all the syrup has been added, whip the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, then whip for another 5 minutes. The frosting should be thick and glossy.
  3. Take the assembled cake out of the fridge and, using an offset spatula, frost the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Again, try pushing the frosting to get it to the place where you want it to go, instead of pulling it towards you. Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a circle of playful roses on top of the cake. Sprinkle silver sprinkles in the center of the circle and sprinkle crushed candy canes around the base of the cake.
  4. Leave to come to room temperature for about 3 hours before serving or place in the fridge for up to 8 hours. Again, allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Suggested schedule: day 1: make the chocolate cake and allow to cool in the fridge overnight. Day 2: make the syrup and the ganache. Assemble the cake. Allow the flavors to meld together overnight. Day 3: make the candy cane frosting, frost and serve.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at