devil’s food cake: Birthday week

We made it, team. We’re officially at the end of Birthday week. 5 cakes later and I am writing this, exhausted, sitting on the sofa in my onesie watching reruns of Qi.

Sam was the first to hit 2-0 last Sunday. On the Saturday beforehand his brother came to visit, we went out for a Chinese and then to the pub in the evening; on Sunday afternoon we went to go watch him sing at Evensong at the Cathedral, which was pretty special. I spent the rest of the day pottering round, making a Rubik’s cube cake. Sam collects them, and so when he (sort-of jokingly) challenged me to make him a cake version, I accepted!Monday was my birthday, and despite the torrential rain I had a really lovely day. I got two beautiful cakes, one carrot – from the boyf – and one chocolate – from the besties. We got dressed up and went out for cocktails, which was fab.

Tuesday night we went out for pizza, Wednesday night we went out out for Itchy Feet, and Thursday was Rachel’s birthday. I made them a tea cake after lectures 🙂 The rest of the house went out to the pub and came back to watch the Lion King, I iced the cake and had an early night (was starting to feel quite poorly by this point!). Yesterday was Olly’s birthday – he’s not really into birthdays, so we wished him ‘Happy Arbitrary Day’, gave him several kilos of cheese (he’s a big fan) and watched ’10 things I hate about you’.So, I’m just sharing one recipe in this post – the devil’s food cake that made up the Rubik’s cube.

Devil's Food Cake {the Rubik's Cube}


  • Original recipe here: I multiplied it by 1.5


The cake:

  • 330g plain flour
  • 97.5g cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp bicarb. soda
  • 360ml buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 360ml coffee {don’t worry, you can’t taste it in the finished cake}
  • 525g sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 180ml oil {sunflower or vegetable}
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate buttercream:

{I didn’t weigh mine out as I made it, but this is the recipe I have for chocolate buttercream from working over the summer}

  • 100g butter {at room temperature}
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 40ml milk

Chocolate ganache:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • approx. 1tsp black food colouring


  • 500g white fondant icing – split roughly into 6 and tinted with gel food colouring to get orange, yellow, green, blue and red (as well as white).


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, fan-forced (200ish in our oven). Line a large roasting tin with greaseproof paper.
The recipe itself is pretty simple, it’s just the weighing out of everything that takes time: sift together all the dry ingredients – the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt – into a bowl.
Beat together the wet ingredients – the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla – in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, using an electric whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Finally, add the coffee and mix it through.
Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test with a skewer for done-ness. Leave to cool completely.
Ok – now for the construction. You should be able to get 2 5-by-5 inch squares out of the rectangle of cake. Cut them side by side so that you have a lot of excess, which you can use to assemble a third layer (also 5-by-5″).

Make up the buttercream by beating the butter until smooth, then add the icing sugar and cocoa. Mix carefully and add the milk to thin it out. Beat until light and fluffy. Divide roughly in half, and spread on top of each of the two squares. Stack the three layers together – using a little buttercream to stick the pieces of the third layer together.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Warm up the double cream and add it to the melted chocolate. Stir until you get a glossy ganache, and add the black food colouring. Wait for it to cool down a little, and apply a thin layer over the cake to crumb-coat it 🙂
Put the cake into the fridge to set (and the ganache, if you’ve got space!). Whilst you’re waiting, roll out the fondant to the thickness of a pound coin and cut into squares that are 1.5-by-1.5 inch squares. You need 45 squares in a mix of colours to get the pattern of 9 on each of the 5 sides.
When the ganache is cool (Nutella-like consistency, or at about 20 degrees C – yeah, I got a baking thermometer from my brother for my birthday!) coat the cake in it. If you’ve got a little leftover, you can blob a little on the back of each of the fondant squares to help them stick to the cake. Arrange the coloured squares on each side of the cake, and you’re done, phew! 😀


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