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Triple Chocolate Mud Cake w/ Caramel Buttercreme & Berries

I love making deliciously simple cakes for the boys birthday's. I don't do colourful character cakes and thankfully, Max knows my style and goes with it. Although one year he asked for a millennium falcon cake - and was quickly shot down! 
This year he ordered; a triple chocolate cake with vanilla icing and blueberry sprinkles. Challenge accepted, my outrageous and determined six year old!
The beauty of a mud cake - they age beautifully and are best served 2-3 days old, even a week, if you're that organised. So you can make the cake/s ahead of time and pop your feet up, or focus on the other three hundred and eighty two things on your every growing list, right?
This year we had a very casual taco party to celebrate Max turning six and Finn turning three. We had a dozen or so friends and family, plus their little ones over. It couldn't have been easier, the kids sat on a blanket outside and made their own wraps, while the adults huddled around our kitchen bench and made pulled pork and pear tacos - with varying salads, salsas and hot sauces to drizzle on top and make killer combinations! 
Then we ate cake. Naturally my baking is made with quality wholesome ingredients - mostly gluten and refined sugar free. I've made plenty of mud cakes in my life, armed with a few master tricks, they're incredibly simple to make, fool-proof even. I've played around with different sugars, my favourite for this type of cake is the Billington's dark (or light) muscovado sugar, which is an unrefined cane sugar with a similar feel to soft brown sugar. Unlike coconut sugar, it melts wonderfully, which is what we need. When it comes to flour, I've used the Healtheries simple wheat and gluten free baking mix, it ticks the gluten free box and is incredibly reliable - rises well and holds shape once cooled and sliced. For the white chocolate layer, rather than using sickly sweet white chocolate, I used Matakana Superfoods Cacao Butter. And for the icing, I used coconut icing sugar, from I Am Vital along with Vanilla Bean Paste from Equa Gold, to create a rich and golden caramel icing!  
The recipe below can easily be doubled if you're not after layers. I made three cakes, changing the chocolate for each layer. It served 30. 
Ingredients:
125g unsalted butter, I used Lewis Road Creamery
125g chocolate, I used Whittakers - 72% Dark Ghana for one layer, 33% Creamy Milk for another and Matakana Superfoods Cacao Butter for the 'white' chocolate layer.
100ml hot tap water 
275g muscovado sugar, I used Billington's dark for the dark/milk chocolate layers and Billington's light for the white chocolate layer 
150g gluten free flour, I used Healtheries simple wheat and gluten free baking mix
1tsp baking powder, very accurately measured
1/4tsp baking soda, very accurately measured
1/4tsp salt 
60ml cold milk, I used Lewis Road Creamery silver top
30ml olive oil, you can use melted and cooled coconut oil also
2x large free range eggs
Icing
125g unsalted softened butter, I used Lewis Road Creamery 
3/4c coconut icing sugar, I used I.Am.Vital
1/2tsp vanilla bean paste, I used Equa Gold 
juice of 1/2 small lemon

Method:

Preheat oven to 170° and line a 27cm cake tin with baking paper on the bottom and sides, gently grease with a little extra butter.
Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Place a pot of water over a low to medium heat. Place a stainless steel bowl, that fits snuggly over the pot of water (without the bottom touching the water) on top. Add butter (roughly chopped), chocolate (broken into small pieces), hot water and sugar. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture has melted completely and is glossy and smooth.
Remove from the heat and immediately add cold milk, beat with an electric hand beater to combine. Add oil, beat to combine then add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.
Pour wet mixture into prepared flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Pour mixture into lined cake tin and place into oven.
This sized cake will need to cook for 1 hr 45 min - 2 hrs. Keep an eye on the cake without opening the door. If you smell the cake cooking within the first half hour, you may need to turn the oven down to 160°. To check cake, insert a skewer, unlike a regular cooked cake, fudgey speks should appear. It can be normal for the cake to have a dry crust on top, this can be removed when cooled.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. On cooler Winter days (which is generally when I make this cake being in the thick of our birthdays!) it can help to leave the cake in the switched off oven for 15 minutes with the door slightly open.
Transfer onto a wire rack once cooled and leave for several hours before cutting or icing.

If you are not icing straight away, wrap the cake in a clean dishcloth and place into a tin or airtight container. It can stay here for up to a week.


Preparing Icing:

In a large mixing bowl beat the soft butter until smooth and creamy. Add 1/4 of a cup of icing sugar and continue to beat for several minutes, add another 1/4 cup of icing sugar, continue to beat for several minutes and add the last 1/4 of icing sugar and beat again for several minutes. Finally add vanilla bean paste and lemon juice and quickly beat to combine.

If required cut the top off the cake using a serrated knife. Transfer onto serving plate or cake stand and ice using a large flat knife or spatula.

Optional bits and pieces to garnish:

As you can see, I went wild with the decorating!

I melted a little milk chocolate and poured it onto a silicone mat, sprinkled with Fresh As Freeze Dried Blueberries and popped it in the fridge before cracking into large shards.
I crushed 1/4 of a packet of little meringues and a bag of Viberi chocolate covered blackcurrants and dusted the flakes over the icing, as well as keeping some whole.
And what you don't see (well one little blog in the bottom right) I made a blueberry reduction from 1 cup of OOB frozen blueberries reduced over a low heat with a tablespoon of maple syrup and drizzled this over just before serving!

Note, the incredibly beautiful swamp kauri cake stand is made by my father. Custom orders are welcome, email zoe@littleandloved.co.nz for more information.   
Enjoy. x Zoe


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