I made this for my mum’s birthday, but I can’t help noting what an excellent cake it would make for a man. It can be hard decorating manly cakes – chocolate cages are an excellent option I find, I resorted to them for the Surf Board Cake, I love how diverse they are – you can pipe the chocolate into whatever pattern you like! Even writing or drawings, imagine caricatures! That would be cool. They also look totally stylish. I’m a big fan in case you can’t tell.
I’m really pleased with how this cake turned out and it didn’t take too long to decorate either! Especially if you get your mascarpone to the right consistency to start off with!
This is a Tiramisu inspired cake, four layeres of chocolate sponge soaked in coffee and sandwiched with mascarpone. I wanted the decoration to reflect the classic dessert and. I wanted it to be a bit special. It was for my mum after all.
I made two chocolate genoise sponges by following this recipe with 20g of the flour substituted for cocoa powder. So that’s 20g of cocoa and 80g of flour to each cake. You will also need 1kg of mascarpone, yes, I really did use this much! I found 500g tubs in a supermarket and couldn’t resist! You could do half and half with double cream if you prefer. Two shots of coffee. Some chocolate to melt for the cage, I always melt too much, about 50g of chocolate is enough. I used 100% cocoa solid which is rather bitter, complementing the coffee, but feel free to use whatever chocolate you like, even white chocolate!
Once your cakes are baked and cooled, slice each in half. Brush each layer with coffee to your liking, this cake will taste just as good a little soggy! Whisk the mascapone with some milk or cool coffee if you like. I didn’t add any liquid to my mascapone to start off with and found it very hard to pipe. I had planned to be really neat and pipe the filling to be sure they where all the same width but it didn’t work at all and I resorted to spreading.
Layer the cakes. I was being very organised and put stripes of baking paper around the edge of my stand. Talking of which, I’ve wanted a cake stand for ages and finally found this one for £3 in TK Maxx! Bargain!
At this point I added some coffee and water to the mascarpone and whipped it some more. I would have preferred milk, but had none, it worked fine though, successfully bringing the mascarpone to dropping consistency.
Crumb coat the cake.
Pipe ‘blobs’ of mascarpone on the top of the cake, starting from the edge and working your way into the middle. I used a disposable piping bag with the end sniped off. Hold it vertically and pipe blobs starting from the outside. It would have been nice to have peaks, my mascarpone was still too thick though, I do like the rounded tops too though so I didn’t make a fuss. You could of course scrape it all off, add more liquid, whisk and start again. Spread any remains around the sides. Try to do a neater job than I did!
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pannof simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly while you cut pieces of baking paper to the right height and length you want. It’s easier to use two pieces than one long strip because you’ll have more control when placing them on the cake sides. I piped this design freehand, alternatively draw on the reverse side of the baking paper first or go for an abstract wiggly line design like I did here. This was a very simple pattern, I like it, kind of art deco and it complements the topping.
Gently lift the chocolate covered baking paper and place it around the sides of the cake. Assure that the bottom of your design is meeting the serving plate and that the sides of each piece meet closely. You can only do this once! Place the cake in the fridge until the chocolate sets (couple of minutes) then gently pull the paper away from the chocolate.
The chocolate cage will be very smooth on this side. Dust the cake liberally with cocoa powder, it looks like a cappuccino!