White Chocolate Cake and How to make a chocolate lace collar

This weekend I had the rewarding pleasure of making a wedding anniversary cake for the most wonderful couple. John and Bev have been married for 20 years and wanted to share their happiness with friends and family. I will let you read all about John and Bevs life challenges here and I hope you find the story and the people as inspirational as I do. My brief for the cake was lemon and white chocolate, sugar flowers  and chocolate shards – but I also asked for a little artistic leeway so they got drizzles and a lace collar too!

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Lace collars are a stunning but fairly simple effect to finish off a cake and combined with the need to perfect a white chocolate cake recipe I thought I would do you all a step by step!

White Chocolate Cake

  • 100g butter
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 175g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 25g malted milk powder (such as Horlicks)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml buttermilk

Buttercream

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 250g soft butter
  • 500g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 150C (fan). Grease and line the base and side of a 3 inch deep 6 inch diameter tin.

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Put the white chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt on half heat 1 minute. Give it a good stir to combine, you can give it another 30 seconds if you need to and put to one side.

Put the flour, sugar, salt, malted milk powder & bicarb in a larger food mixer bowl then slowly combine on the lowest speed. Boil the kettle!

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Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a jug and combine with a whisk.

With the mixer on a slow speed add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.

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Then add the buttermilk and egg mixture with the beater still running.

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Measure 75ml of boiled water into the jug and add this to the mixture with the beaters still running.

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The batter will be very runny – don’t panic it hasn’t gone wrong!

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Pour it into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hr, or until the sponge is firm and a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven turn upside down on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before splitting and filling. Check out my post on Naked Cakes to see how to split and fill a cake.

To make the buttercream beat the butter for 5 minutes until really pale. Add the icing sugar and stir in gently with a spatula until just combined and the sugar clouds have gone!

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Beat again for 30 secs to 1 minute in the mixer to completely combine. Melt the white chocolate on half power in the microwave until just melted. Add to the buttercream and beat for a further minute. Its now ready to use!

When the cake is completely cool split the layers and trim off the top to level the cake (this should form the base). I like to split my cakes in three layers but that is entirely up to you. The cake should be covered in buttercream for the collar to stick to and form a nice background but it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. It should however be upright and fairly even. I use a set square to get straight sides, you can get similar tools from cake decorating suppliers or just do it by eye with a palette knife. I also put my cake onto a cake card the same size which makes it easier to lift when you are finished.

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Level off the top and pop the cake into the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for half an hour to chill

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I decided to top my cake with dark chocolate shavings, so they didn’t go all over the cake I wrapped it in a sheet of non stick parchment and grated the chocolate straight onto the cake.

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Pop back in the fridge or freezer and you can brush off any excess shaving from the sides before you add the collar.

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To Make the Collar

  • Non Stick baking parchment
  • food grade cellophane (available from decorating suppliers)
  • 35g dark chocolate
  • 35g white chocolate
  • disposable piping bags

You firstly need to measure the cake, measure all the way round and the height of the collar – remember you want it to be slightly higher than the cake.

Cut the baking parchment in a bigger sheet than both these measurements, the cut the cellophane to the exact size of the cake collar.

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Melt the two kinds of chocolate separately on half heat in the microwave. Stir until it starts to thicken. Pop into piping bags and snip a couple of millimeters from the end of the bag.

Pipe overlapping swirls on the cellophane keeping the curves large inside the top edge of the sheet.

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Repeat with the white chocolate, then pop into the fridge for 5 minutes.

The chocolate needs to set but not be hard so it doesn’t come off on your finger when tested but is still flexible.

Lift the cellophane from the parchment and wrap around the chilled cake.

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The cellophane should just reach to join round the cake. Gently ease the collar onto the cake by lightly pressing, don’t rub too hard or you will melt the chocolate.

Put it all back into the fridge for 15 minutes to harden before removing the cellophane.

Gently ease the cellophane off the cake taking care at the seam.

Transfer to your serving plate and enjoy!

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