I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Chocolate Toffee Celebration Cake

Just under a year ago, I put up the first post on The Runaway Spoon, my instructions for real Buttermilk Fried Chicken with a story about my encounter with Julia Child.  It took a couple of years of consideration and many months of planning and design to get the site started, but here I am, going strong and loving every minute of it.  And of course, I have to thank all the readers who have stopped by and made the Spoon a success!  Keep those cards and letters coming!  Join me on Facebook for special recipes and ideas, or follow me on Twitter.

If you are like me – the cook in the family – you may have to make your own birthday cake if you want to celebrate.  Or maybe you’re always expected to make the cake for every one else’s special day.  Well, that’s what I am doing here.  Making my own celebration cake, in true Runaway Spoon style, the easy way.  This is the “oops! I forget my best friend’s birthday” cake. Or, as in this case, the “if I want a birthday candle wish I have to make it myself” cake. The ingredients are pretty standard and the cake takes minutes to whip up in the food processor.  It’s not a towering, multi-layered, perfectly piped and frosted confection. But it looks lovely and homemade and is a real, rich treat.

Chocolate Toffee Celebration Cake

I love toffee, but vary your extras as you wish – fresh raspberries, flaked coconut, nuts, bits of candy…

FOr the Cake:

1 ¾ ounces dark chocolate (the best you can manage)

1 cup self-rising flour’

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ (generous) cups granulated sugar

1 ½ sticks butter, softened to room temperature

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

1 ¾ cup confectioners sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature

7 ¼ ounces dark chocolate

 Extra:

1 ¼ cup toffee bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 eight inch round cake pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Place the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and zap on high for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  If needed, zap and additional 15 seconds until it stirs smooth.  Leave to cool.

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade.  Process until smooth, stopping once to scrap down the sides of the bowl.  This should only take about 30 seconds total; just make sure all the ingredients are well combined.  It will be a thick batter.

Divide the batter between the cake pans and smooth the tops.  A small offset spatula works great for this if you have one.  Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the oven until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Halfway through the cooking time, switch the pans around so they cook evenly.

Remove the cakes and place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto the racks and leave to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.  Clean out and wipe dry the bowl and blade of the food processor.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave as before and leave to cool.  It must be room temperature to make the frosting work.  Place all the frosting ingredients in the processor and process until smooth, stopping once to scrap down the bowl.  Again, this should take about 30 seconds until everything is smooth and combined.

When the cakes are completely cool.  Place one cake on a platter or cake round and spread half the frosting over the top. Sprinkle half the toffee bits over the frosting if desired, then center the other cake over the bottom.  Spread the last half of the frosting over the top (not on the sides).  Sprinkle the remaining toffee bits on top.

Let the cake set for half an hour or so to firm up the frosting before slicing, but covered with plastic wrap, it will keep on the counter for two days.

Serves 6 – 8

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