A Very British Birthday Cake

Original recipes from Meghan Rienks and taste.com.au


It would seem it’s another day, another chocolate cake when it comes to birthdays at the moment. Such was the case when the recipient of my Chocolate Lover’s Birthday Cake asked if I could bake her partner an equally sugar-laden treat for his birthday.


After already maxing out the sweet levels with my previous two chocolate cakes, I wanted to develop a secondary theme when tackling yet another cocoa loaded bake. Crafting this cake for an English ex-pat, I decided to take a geographically inspired approach with the United Kingdom’s own sweet selection.


I spent a semester in the UK as a teenager and during that time I sampled my fair share of English confectionery. Drawing on the sweets I’d (over)indulged in during my exchange, I headed to Blackebys Old Sweet Shop to pick up packets of Cadbury’s Giant Buttons to line the sides and Galaxy Minstrels, Penguins and Chocolate Fudge to top.





These British sweets would sit atop a Meghan Rienks chocolate cake, a recipe that had been on my bucket list thanks to its use of cocoa-enhancing coffee and salt.


With toppings and cake recipe sorted a second challenge arose, a mild dark chocolate allergy. Originally planning to offset the toppings’ sweetness with a dark chocolate frosting, the recipient’s intolerance of increased cocoa content threw a spanner in the works.


Looking for a milk chocolate-based alternative that wasn’t saccharine, I eventually landed on Taste’s milk chocolate frosting from Martha’s chocolate-flecked layer cake. With sour cream to cut through the milk chocolate and icing sugar, this frosting added a tangy dimension to an otherwise uniformly sweet cake.







– 210 g plain flour

– 150 g sugar

– 75 g cocoa

– 1.5 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 180 ml vegetable oil

– 240 ml buttermilk

– 240 ml strong brewed coffee, cooled

– 2 large eggs

– 2 tsp vanilla



Chocolate Frosting:


– 300 g milk chocolate, finely chopped

– 350 g unsalted butter, softened

– 1 C pure icing sugar, sifted

– Pinch of salt

– 2/3 C sour cream


Filling and Toppings:


– 150 g Bonne Maman caramel

– 100 g Cadbury’s giant chocolate buttons

– 85 g Galaxy Minstrels

– 4 x 24.6 g Penguins, roughly chopped

– 2 x 25.5 g Cadbury Fudge, chopped





1. Preheat the oven to 180C and greade and line two 22cm cake pans.

2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

4. Add the wet ingredients mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to achieve a smooth batter.

5. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 20 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Turn cakes out onto a wire rack to cool.

7. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, melt milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

8. Set aside to cool slightly.

9. In a clean bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

10. Gradually beat in chocolate, then sour cream until well combined.

11. To assemble, set one of the completely cooled cake layers on a cake board and spread with caramel.

12. Top with remaining cake, crumb coat the cake with chocolate frosting and set aside in the fridge to cool for 25-minutes.

13. Once the crumb coat has crusted, add a final coat of buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula.

14. To decorate, arrange two rows of Giant Buttons around the sides of the cake and top with Minstrels, chopped Penguins and Fudge bars.


Photography by Ben Neale.

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