Eighty & Awesome!

Ann Evans (Gran) – joint founding member of PartyAnimalOnline turned 80 last month and to celebrate we made her our famous rich chocolate cake and yummy chocolate roses to finish, the wonderful Kev Mumby came and sang some Frank Sinatra and Uncle Phil put together a tear wrenching slide show of pictures new and old, there was mascara down all the girls faces by the time it was over…. reminder to self….. buy waterproof next time!!

Gran Enjoying Cake

Here’s the recipe for the rich choc cake..as promised!


This recipe makes a fantastic dark and rich chocolate cake which is firm enough to cover with sugarpaste, ganache or poured chocolate but is moist and delicious. We used this recipe at Party Animal for over 20 years when we wanted an extra special and indulgent cake – for a chocolate wedding cake for example.

It is not the cheapest recipe but then you wouldn’t expect something as good as this to be cheap to make!

The recipe below is for an 8″ square / 9″ round cake approximately 3″ deep.


340g plain chocolate
I would recommend that you use the best chocolate available to get the best flavour

340g Butter
340g Caster Sugar
300g Ground Almonds
8 Eggs seperated
130g Fine Brown Breadcrumbs
50g Cocoa Powder
Large pinch of salt


Grease the tin and line with greaseproof paper which also needs to be greased lightly.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy – you are best to use a electric mixer for this to get the right amount of air incorporated. If you don’t have a mixer you will have to beat hard!

Break the chocolate in pieces and melt. The best method is to put it in a double pan over some hot water. Do not overheat it.

Stir the melted chocolate into the sugar and butter mix.

Add the egg yolks, breadcrumbs, almonds and cocoa powder and beat well.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until very stiff. Add half of the egg whites to the cake mix and fold in.Then fold the remaining egg whites into the mix. By adding the egg whites in 2 halves you retain more of the air. This is because the mix is softened by the first addition allowing you to fold in the rest without too much loss of aeration

Pour mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°c for about 1 to 1¼ hours. The cakes should be just firm to the touch when completely cooked.

Leave in the tin to cool slightly (about 10 to 15 mins) This allows the crumb to firm slightly. Then turn out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Once cool the cakes can be wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil and frozen until required


The cakes can be covered with Sugarpaste, Ganache or chocolate. Personally I prefer to use this recipe for cakes that are coated with chocolate.

A fruit glaze can be used to give added flavour and soften the crust of the cake before coating (this will also act as a glue if you are using sugarpaste). I use apricot jam that has been boiled then add a few tablespoons of orange liquer to taste. Brush all over the surface of the cake. This can be done while the cake is frozen to prevent crumbling.

Lightly whip some chocolate ganache til fluffy and spread around the top and sides. This should be approximately 1cm thick but really that is up to you – taste and cost are the concerns here! You can do this while the cake is still frozen.

Leave to defrost and set.

If you want to stack cakes together, place them on a thin board (the same size as the cake) and stack before covering with the pouring chocolate

Make up some more ganache but this time do not whisk. Leave to cool slightly. It should still be liquid but not hot. Pour evenly over the cake (or stack of cakes) and leave to set. It should set firm and shiny. Make sure you do not leave the cakes in a draught to cool as

Modelling chocolate
Modelling chocolate

this can cause the chocolate to dull.

Once completely set decoration can be added to complete.



We used Squires Kitchen Cocoform to model the flowers and leaves, this stuff is fabulous, flexible and most importantly extremely tasty! It can be purchased in White, Milk or Dark chocolate and is a made from gorgeous Belgium chocolate to produce a fabulous high quality chocolate modelling paste.

pme_rose_plunger_cuttersSimply roll the paste thin and use your cutter to cut the required shape. I used FMM rose petal cutters for the roses and PME Rose leaf plunger cutters for the leaves. Once cut set your flowers aside to dry for a few hours before popping them on the top of your rich chocolate cake. Easy peasy and very delicious.

All in all it was a fabulous day with a fair few glasses of wine in celebration… any excuse is a good one!

Made with cocoform
Made with cocoform

Happy Birthday to a wonderful Gran, Mum and Sister! If I grow up to be half the women you are, I will be a very lucky lady! Love Steph (Granddaughter).Gran with all the grandkids (Including me)

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