Friday 7 May 2010

Whisky and Dark Chocolate 'The Beautiful and the Damned' Cake

*** While this post is several years old and my photography, recipe development and writing has moved on, it holds a very special place in my heart. I can't move it from my sidebar - it's part of the fabric of this site. Please forgive any growing pains. (Nov 2012) ***

A few weeks ago I received a faculty email about submissions to the arts supplement, Etcetera, of one of our student newspapers, the Cherwell. Normally I only skim these emails, but the theme of this issue caught my eye: 'The Beautiful and the Damned'.

It seemed a little eccentric, but why not? Why couldn't I make a cake and submit that instead of a poem or a photograph? I emailed the editor and this cake was born

"I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Nick's thoughts, while drunk on whisky)

I started to brainstorm over the idea with the Jazz Era and F. Scott Fitzgerald as inspiration. I thought about beaded flapper dresses, 1920's America, red lipstick, the prohibition, art deco, art nouveau, the metro signs in Paris. The dualities of beautiful and damned, heaven and hell, light and darkness. What makes something, someone, damned? I found out that the fashionable interior design of the time was white walls with black/coloured detailing. Finally, out of this jumble of ideas, an image formed in my head.

In the end, it actually all came together to represent that vision I had built up in my head. I love the way you can create something from your imagination, that you've only seen there. I had multiple mishaps to do with icing and various other things, but in the end, it was just right.

Along with these photographs, I sent some words (which I was, and am, very nervous about...):

Outer Beauty, Inner Sin

I believe that creating a cake is a form of art.  Thought goes into every inclusion of a flavour, every movement of the piping bag. The palate is my palette.

Do not be fooled by the innocent exterior of this cake: underneath the chocolate Art Nouveau design and the cloud of all-American vanilla buttercream lies a dark, dense chocolate cake soaked with whisky and sandwiched with an intense chocolate and thick cream ganache spiked with more whisky. It is a cake for the prohibition, a wicked core hidden underneath a respectable façade.

Every cake has a narrative in my imagination. It comes to life in a feeling, an image, as I play the tastes over and over in my head. This cake conjures up a clear scene:  a bejewelled, beaded girl sitting in the corner of a crowded room as jazz plays softly in the background, drifting in from another room on the lightly perfumed air. The girl nibbles quietly on a square of dark chocolate, her lipstick bruising the arc left behind. She is conscious of the hidden flask of whisky caressing her thigh, the metal warm to the touch of her pale skin. Her head dips as she sneaks a sip: the flavours mingle and morph in her mouth.

The Beautiful and the Damned Cake
(Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Good Food, this buttercream is adapted from Annie's Eats, inspiration for decoration from Desserts For Breakfast)

*** I've kept this recipe as I wrote it in 2010 as I wanted to keep one example from the period to show how much I have learnt. I chose this post because it is special to me. I haven't made it in the past 3 1/2 years (and I only made the cake once in 2010 as I didn't have a triple testing policy then) so I can't vouch for the clarity, precision, technique or result of the recipe.

I think I would now use this recipe for the chocolate cake though I'm afraid I haven't re-tested it alongside the other elements. There is also more information about this type of buttercream here. (Oct 2013, updated from Nov 2012) ***

For the chocolate cake:
250g butter
300g soft brown sugar
100g plain flour
100g self raising flour
5 eggs
300g dark chocolate (85%)

Preheat the oven to 150C. Butter and line the tin (all in one 20cm, or I halved the recipe between two 15cm tins). Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. Beat together the butter and soft brown sugar until fluffy. Measure out the flour into a bowl. Add the eggs one by one, adding a tbsp of flour between each addition.  Pour in the chocolate, beating at the same time. Fold in the flour. Spoon into the tin(s) and smooth the tops. Bake for about 1 hr 20 for a larger cake or 1hr for two smaller ones - check with a skewer. Spike the top of the cake and brush with whisky syrup. Let cool then remove from the tin. Split each cake into two and brush the insides/bottom with more whisky syrup. Leave to sink in then use or wrap in cling film and freeze till later.

For the whisky sugar syrup:
100ml whisky
100g golden caster sugar

Put the whisky in a small saucepan and boil till it is reduced by half. Pour back into the measuring jug and top up to 100ml with water. Put back in the pan and return to the heat, adding the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and you have an amber syrup. Remove to a bowl/jug to cool. When cool add extra whisky to taste if needed. Brush over as above.

For the whisky dark chocolate ganache:
100g dark chocolate (85%)
125ml double cream
2-4 tbsp whisky, to taste

Chop the chocolate up finely and put in a bowl. Heat the cream until nearly boiling then pour over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes then stir well until you have a smooth ganache. Slowly add the whisky, tbsp by tbsp, stirring well between addition. Taste as you go to make sure you get the whisky level right!

For the vanilla swiss meringue buttercream:
2. 5 egg whites
120g caster sugar
pinch of salt
220g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

To halve an egg white, mix slightly with a fork before measuring out by sight (or weigh 15g). Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk frequently, keeping it over the heat, until the mixture reaches 160F/ 70C and the sugar has dissolved (rub some between your fingers - if it feels grainy, it hasn't dissolved). Transfer the mixture to a mixer with a whisk attached and beat on medium-high for 8 minutes, until stiff peaks have formed and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Turn down the speed to medium and start adding small chunks of butter, checking that it has incorporated before adding more. Mine looked awful at this point - curdled and thin - but just keep beating and eventually it comes together, after about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.

To assemble:
Place strips of baking parchment on your serving plate in a square, to cover the plate. Put the first layer of cake in the middle, then smear on 1/3 of the ganache. Repeat until you reach the top. Fill in any gaps on the sides so that the cake and filling is a perfect cylinder and there are no gaps between layers. Chill in the fridge while you make the buttercream/for about half an hour. Remove about 1/4 of the butter cream to a plate and use a palette knife to create a thin crumb coat. Put in the fridge for another half an hour or so to firm. Scrape all the rest of the icing onto the top of the coat and use the palette knife to drag it down and create and even layer of icing over the cake.

To decorate:
I used this easy melt dark chocolate that doesn't need tempering - it's simple to use. I piped out my design onto baking parchment which was masking taped over my drawn design using a plastic piping bag with the end snipped off. I melted the chocolate in the piping bag in the microwave, let it cool ever so slightly and then piped. When it started clogging, I microwaved it for a few seconds and started again. I discovered that I needed to do the pattern in sections of about 6 inches - this longer one below smeared later on when I tried to put it around the tin, also below. Just imagine it's about half the size!

When you've finished piping, let the chocolate harden slightly, then put in the microwave for a few seconds till it has melted. Leave for a few seconds then bend over a similar curve to your cake - I used a biscuit tin. Leave to cool.

Remove from the paper carefully and press lightly into the icing. Repeat until you have a full circle.

And there you go, a cake ready to be photographed and eaten! Serves a fair few, as it's so rich.


  1. Emma, what an absolutely beautiful torte you made. I'm in ah. Gorgeous.

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVE your chocolate decorations--how incredibly intricate they are (and the whiskey-chocolate cake underneath sounds yum as well)! But most of all, I think, I LOVE your Great Gatsby inspiration and how carefully thought out your cake<->book symbolism is. I also totally believe that every good cake and dessert tells a story, and the one you've made here captures that perfectly.

  3. Your cake is gorgeous, one of the best ones I have seen lately. Maybe you should open a bakery...

  4. Hallo Emma,

    This cake is absolutely beautiful! Interesting the brainstorm story and gorgeous Art Noveau decoration! A dream-cake!

  5. I am in love... this looks like old fences in the French QUarter.. and chocolate too???


  6. I am completely impressed! A poetic creation indeed. Wow!

  7. This is SPECTACULAR! Really fantastic. You have outdone yourself--seriously. A truly beautiful post, and cake, in every way. Creative, smart, just gorgeous post.

  8. Je suis très impressionnée! Splendide!

  9. hi just discovered your blog through tastespotting. what is this easy melt chocolate?? and do you microwave your chocolate with the parchment paper and all? I suppose for just a few seconds on a very low setting? Just in case i should one day be quite so mad as to want to attempt this. Your cake is beautiful!

    btw, i saw your old post on the first anniversary of your blog and your decision to be a pastry chef. I could feel your trepidation but also your determination. It is a gift to be able to find your path so early in life. Your conviction is a wonderful thing. And you are obviously talented and have much experience ALREADY! So all the very best to you!

  10. This is gorgeous! I love the decoration and the story behind it all. I agree that cake is art as everything that goes into it is a decision that is made like you were painting a picture or sculpting a statue.....does this make sense??!!

  11. Oh wow. The cake is jaw-droppingly (I make up words) beautiful and so is your prose. I felt like I could taste it. Bravo for putting yourself out there.

    I so do wish I could BAKE. I mean, I can feel it. I just can't seem to make it happen. Maybe I just need to practice? Start with something simple and perfect it before I move on? Yep yep, that molten cake is calling my name. I've talked myself into trying it. One. More. Time.

  12. Ok. I "discovered"(I always put that in quotation marks, because ot's not like you were lost, right? =]) your blog, about a week or so ago. Have already looked through the entire thing. Which is to say, I love it.

    But this cake? Daaaayyyyummmm, Girl! Had to stop right away to comment. :-)

    Thank you so much for sharing your baking gift with us.

    Yay, real food!


  13. I love decorating in chocolate! wow! It's beautiful!!!

  14. Wow! How talented!!!! Not only is there and amazing cake decorated with such detail but prose to go with it too. There aren't words to reflect my awe! Well done you, it is beyond fantastic ;0)

  15. I was just griping on my own blog about my inability to merge my prior literary self with my confections, and here you go! Teaching me a lesson.... Your cake is amazing. I posted a feature/link to your cake on my column today ( Thank you for sharing your step-by-steps and the recipes, too!

  16. Thank you all for your incredibly kind words - it means so much.

    Anonymous - I don't really know how they make the chocolate, but somehow it just doesn't need tempering. It's sold as a covering for chocolates and a filler for moulds, like Easter eggs.

    I have some plastic piping bags that just need the end clipping off the the desired tip width so I just popped the chocolate in one of those in the microwave. The initial melt time is a minute or two then 10 seconds or so for a top up.

  17. One of the yummiest things I've eaten, that's for sure ;) x

  18. friendsdriftinn14 May 2010 at 13:32

    Wow! This was a fun read!

  19. Wow what a beautiful cake! x x

  20. This cake is just perfect! Well done!!

  21. i'm so inspired and have decided to attempt to recreate this magnificent confection for my birthday... fingers crossed that i can pull it off at least half as well as you did!

  22. Wow, hats off to you! You have so inspired me and the dozen or so people that I've mentioned this beautiful cake to. I've just started to make it for a friend's birthday this week. Wish me luck.

  23. I'm so pleased you're both going to make it! It's a lovely cake. Do drop me a line if you have any questions or have any problems.

  24. you truly are an artist. if this is what youre creating while reading English Literature at uni, i wonder what you will create while at pastry chef school....cant wait to see. x shayma

  25. i am totally in love with this post--the pictures, the text, all. good job.

  26. Wow. This cake just looks exquisite. And by the way, i'm now totally smitten by your the beautiful and the damned paragraph.

  27. this is a gorgeous, magnificent cake.

  28. Absolutely gorgeous. Wonderful work!

  29. I'm really bad at decorating cake, the way you piped the chocolate looks amazing. i'm going to give a shot soon.

  30. that looks like it came from heaven !!!!!!!!!!!!! how did you make it ? how many things did you have to buy to make this amazing cake ????????!!!!!!!!!!

  31. I love the concept of this cake and that you thought about it so deeply. I always think the best things come from when we approach things on an intellectual and creative level

  32. Mia - How exciting! Do you have any pictures? I'd love to see them :)

  33. Hi there,

    I don't think I even need to mention how awesome this cake looks in every aspect! I can almost taste it. I am actually going to attempt it in a couple of days.

    Just have a doubt, about the buttercream, you said that the whole egg white, sugar and salt mixture on a double boiler and whisk till it incorporates into one another? I ask this because I come from India and it is very hot here so the conditions are not very ideal to beat those egg whites to form stiff peaks. Please help me out! I would really appreciate it :)

    Thanks a ton, and your cake really looks gorgeous!

  34. Hi there. I love it when people make this - please do show me some pictures, I'd love to see them!

    As for the buttercream -you whisk the whites, sugar and salt on the double boiler only until the sugar has dissolved, then you remove it to a stand up mixer or to another bowl which you whisk with an electric whisk. There's a very good post about making it on Whisk Kid with lots of photos:

  35. Oh, thank you so much for the link! I will definitely post pictures, I am thinking of adding a little twist on that. Wish me luck :)


  36. Wahou...! that's marvellous...I am without word!

  37. i want to attempt this, and it is a daunting task alone. i think i will struggle with making sure all my conversions from Metric will be correct. Did you ever consider posting both recipes for us metric neophites?

  38. Looks beautiful, I'm making if for my dads birthday on Tuesday. Did you make this all in one day or was it spaced out? And how many days will it keep in an airtight container?

  39. Sorry for the delayed reply, my phone didn't want to post comments and I've only just got to a laptop.

    Anon - Sorry, I don't have a non metric version - if you look at the Guide to my Recipes up on the sidebar, it tells you more about how to convert them.

    Claire - I made mine over a few days because I was really busy with work but I reckon it would be tastier if everything but the buttercream was made on the day. It should keep for a few days but again, it will be best on the day. Hope that helps.

  40. Do you remove the baking paper from under the cake at any point or do you just trim it away? Sorry if that's a silly question :P
    Looks gorgeous!

  41. Fantastic cake, I dont like whiskey but it sounds divine. The design of the chocolate around the outside is stunning. I am 51 years old and as yet have never managed to bake a cake without the middle not rising, but who knows maybe with this recipe i might just succeed. A real work of art! cc

  42. Emma, when I was at university I went mad about cooking and creating, and later went on to run restaurants and am running one right now.My daughter who just started uni is busy cooking as well in any spare moment; they say Music is the food of love, but I say Food is Love's Music and you are playing it right now for sure.Keep those themes going. x

  43. This looks very elegant. Great job! Reminds me of my first "choc lattice band" wrapped cake. If you're interested, you can check it out here:

  44. That is the most beautiful cake I've ever seen - gorgeous

  45. I see you have four layers. Did you bake two portions and cut them in half? Or did you bake four separate layers. Perhaps it's just the way it looks in the picture but each portion looks large so I'm having a hard time figuring out how you assembled this cake. Looking forward to making this as a birthday cake! Thanks for the great recipe and pictures.

  46. Anon - You can just slide the baking paper out carefully from underneath the cake when you're done :)

    Anon - I hope your next cake rises!

    Wendy - what a fabulous saying, I'll remember that.

    Anon - As I baked the cakes in quite small tins -15cm- they were quite deep so when I split them the layers were thick. Hope that helps.

  47. Hi, this is wonderful!! I'll try to bake it for my husband's birthday...hope it looks as near as pretty as yours. Just wondering whether you have an alternative for the buttercream. I can't eat raw eggs... shall I do it with just butter, or cream cheese maybe? what do you think?

  48. Anon- Good to hear you're making it - I hope your husband enjoys it! You could do another buttercream or cream cheese frosting, either would probably work. Depending on why you can't eat raw eggs you could still make the meringue as you heat the whites to 160F/70C which makes them safe (at least that's what I've been told!) - you could also use powdered egg whites as they're meant to be ok if you're pregnant etc because of the way they're processed. Hope that helps :)

  49. Hi Emma,
    The cake was a great success! it was really good... So I replaced the white egg frosting for a cream cheese one and it was really yummy. Didn't want to go for the meringue due to pregnancy, just to stay on the safe side. For decoration I used chocolate curls...didn't even attempt to work out that pattern, it's a master piece!
    Thank you so much for this and congrats on your blog!

  50. Cat - I'm so pleased! Good to know that cream cheese frosting also works, along with chocolate curls :)

  51. Holy cow that is one gorgeous cake!

  52. Hi Emma,
    I made this cake a few weeks ago for my aunt's 60th birthday and it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! One of the best cakes I've ever made and I've made quite a few...
    Just one question: just say I increased the recipe by two fifths (i.e. added two extra eggs, and two fifths of all the other ingredients) and split it between two 20cm tins, how long do you think each of those would take to bake? I'm planning on making this for a friend's birthday this Friday.
    Thanks a lot, and, seriously, your entire blog is GORGEOUS.

  53. Sara - hehe thank you :)

    Amelia - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! For a bigger cake I'd say you would need to cook them for about 1 hr 15 to 20 or so - maybe more - I'd start checking at about 1hr 15 anyway. Sorry I can't give you a clearer guide! Thanks for your kind words.

  54. Oh my word. I have never in my life been so drawn to a cake. Then to read your writing. I am in awe. I am happily following your blog now and looking forward to looking through your archives in the very near future. What an amazing creation!

  55. I'd love to bake this cake for a special occasion, but do you think I could use another type of alcohol? I'm not really a fan of whiskey...

  56. Barefeet In The Kitchen - thank you so much for such a wonderful comment! So glad you like it.

    Marie - definitely! Any flavour that goes well with chocolate would work - another alcohol or perhaps more vanilla or orange or anything you fancy really. Hope that helps!

  57. Emma,

    That's such a pretty cake, I love it.


  58. Hi Emma, thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks stunning. I was just wondering, do the quantities you've given for the cake make the 4 tiers as shown in your pictures? I plan on making this for my friend's birthday (substituting Bailey's Irish Cream in place of the whiskey) but I only want 2 tiers, 3 at most. Also if I only make 2 tiers will the ganache make enough to be used as icing as well? Because I don't really like icings that use raw egg. Anyway, I'd really appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.

    1. The cake recipe is for two layers which I have split into two, making the 4. You could halve the recipe to make a two tier - though that cake is only 15cm/6" so quite small despite the height. As far as the ganache goes it might be enough for a half recipe, though I'd reduce the cream to 100ml and make sure it's fairly set before attempting to mask the outside of the cake. And just as a side note - the egg isn't raw, it's heated up to make swiss meringue and you could use powdered egg white which is totally safe.

  59. What a stunningly beautiful cake. Let's just say I'm in awe!

  60. I just found your blog (searching for a salted caramel brownie recipe!) and this cake - oh my goodness, it's perfection! I'm an artist and I work in an Art Deco building and it's captured everything wonderful about that period into a perfect cake. I'm in love.

  61. Absolutely beautiful

  62. Whimsy and beautiful. True inspiration for a young chef.

  63. It's wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. I'm a bit confused by the process for the whiskey syrup. As I understand it, you're essentially removing moisture, and then adding the exact same amount right back in. Is there some other effect produced by this that is escaping me?

    1. Hi Emily - I boiled the whisky first to remove most of the alcohol. I wanted the flavour but not too much punch, especially as there is whisky in the ganache too. You can easily make the syrup without that step as some of the alcohol will also evaporate when you dissolve the sugar. Sorry for the confusion!

  65. I have been looking and looking for a cake to serve at a quickly approaching bridal shower. I am so happy to have found this is the one, the one! Would you please consider posting a template of the border decoration design? My attempts at recreating it might work for the cake and a non critical eye but I’d also like to transfer it onto herb pots that will be party favors. A template would be the biggest help in creating a visual theme for the shower that will capture the memory of the cake and a shared meal.

    1. Hi,
      I'm so pleased that you like the cake - it'd be lovely for a bridal shower. I'm afraid I don't have any templates - I made this over two years ago. I think they must have been lost in a move or something. Sorry I can't be of more help!

  66. Hi, this looks amazing, and i love the name as well :) could you please tell me if i can substitute something instead of the whisky? because i dont want it to have an alcoholic taste.

    1. Hi there,
      Perhaps coffee? I think that's what I would use if I made it again. Or you could just make a vanilla soaking syrup and have a plain chocolate ganache. You could also add in a little fruit puree instead? Perhaps raspberry? Up to you! Hope that helps.

  67. bravissima!!!stupendo il decoro che riproduce un disegno lyberty!!!!!

  68. This cake is a piece of art! If it tastes as good as it looks...OMG! Congrats!

  69. Making this cake for a friends birthday this weekend! Ive started on the cake today and will follow your instructions to cling film and freeze for 5 days. How long before serving should I take the cakes out of the freezer? Shall I make the ganache and buttercream on the day Ill be serving the cake or is it best to prepare the buttercream frosting the day before?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I think I'd make the buttercream and ganache on the day if possible, as the buttercream needs careful re-warming and whipping if you chill it overnight before spreading. The ganache will also solidify - you could warm it up somehow, but I think it'd probably be more effort than just making it when you need it. The cakes can be slightly defrosted, but stacking and icing is easier when they're frozen as they don't slip or crumble. So I would take them out maybe 15 minutes before making and then continue with stacking/crumb coat etc. It should then finish defrosting as it chills and stands.

      Sorry if that was a bit confusing, I'm still sleepy!

  70. This cake is a stellar example of why I love your site--Your confections consistently strike me as considered, intelligent, and creative. Your writing, recipes, and photography inspire my own recipe writing, and encourage me to aspire to more and more ambitious kitchen projects!

  71. Hey Emma,

    I've stumbled across your blog from raspberricupcakes, and I am very glad I did, because your writing and photography is beautiful, I admire blogs like yours, and am planning to renovate and improve my blog, as I also want to capture lovely moments in photos and writing :)

    I have been having an idea of a Batman (Chris Nolan's version) birthday cake for my best friend, and I've been gathering inspiration and techniques and ideas over a few months now. I've come up with some layer ideas that reflect my friend's taste, but I'm so glad to have clicked on this blogpost of yours - it has definitely given me new ideas.

    I'm studying Gatsby too, and I love Fitzgerald's cynical Modernist view on this hedonistic age, and your cake truly reflects that - a truly fine pun of the word 'decadence'.

    After reading your post, I am very inspired by the techniques you use, and the meaning behind the cake. Yes, I would really like my cake to reflect the Batman trilogy in some way. You are right; every cake, and every dish, for that matter, has its own story to tell.

    I'm an Australian-born Viet teenager, and I really love that cultures have distinct flavours and textures that imbue meaning and stories into the dish, and I have been truly inspired by this post, and I've also seen your techniques sections and most of your cake posts just then as well.

    As belated as it is, I'd like to congratulate you for winning Blogger of the Year, and as I and all your followers can tell, you truly deserve it :)

    Thanks again for sharing this amazing recipe :)

  72. That, is absolutely incredible and completely exquisite.

    What a civilised and elegant appearing cake.

    Oh, just heavenly.

  73. so, so ... gorgeous!!!!
    I can imagine another cake most beautiful like your!!!!
    Congrats from Bucharest!!
    I will try to made for the Christmas !
    Manny thanks for sharing!!!

  74. wow i need that cake!!!!!!! would it work with vanilla? how much vanilla? same amount as the whisky?????? and how did you make the chocolate decorations so intricate?!?!?! I'll bet you won!!!!!!!

    1. Hi - do you mean using vanilla in the syrup? You could use vanilla - perhaps scrape the seeds of a pod into the syrup then steep with the pod before removing when you use it? I wouldn't put extra vanilla into the ganache - just leave that plain. The chocolate is piped onto a design then set in a curve - the directions are above!

  75. What a cool creation! I can imagine your '20's girl with an elaborate brooch or hair ornament echoing the frosting design. And maybe a few peacock feathers.

  76. This is so beautiful - I can see why you don't want to move it from your sidebar. I love the whole ethos behind it. Just perfect.

  77. This is one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen!

  78. ahumblehousewife.com5 January 2013 at 17:59

    This cake is in a word, stunning. Just stumbled upon your blog and it's beautiful. I'm quite jealous!

  79. poiresauchocolat6 January 2013 at 13:59

    That sounds perfect - I'm glad you can imagine her too :)

  80. poiresauchocolat6 January 2013 at 13:59

    Thank you! It's nice to respect what came before and this cake was such a turning point for me.

  81. poiresauchocolat6 January 2013 at 14:00

    I'm so glad you like it!

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  84. Great job and nice story behind. And your blog is beautiful (I just discoverd it and i'll follow it). Nice to meet you Emma! If you like Italian cooking, please do come and see me. We have many things in common (English literature, Oxford..) Ostriche

  85. Glad you like it! What's your connection to Oxford? Did you study here?

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  87. Hi Emma,

    Just wanted to say your recipe is awesome along with the design of the cake. I've made this cake twice now and they are a raving success. A pity that it's so hot and humid here in Singapore but glad that the chocolate patterns manage to hold itself . Here's a picture of my version 2.0 (ver 1 failed on the aesthetics cause the chocolate broke during transportation). but both cakes tasted decadent and sinfully wonderful. thanks for being such an inspiration with your bakes :)

  88. Hi Emma,

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  92. Wow! THAT is one of the most beautiful cakes I've every seen! Thanks for the step-by-step... when I get my courage up, I may have a go at it. Would be a perfect birthday cake.

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  116. This looks delicious! I just found you're blog and am totally obsessed. I also have my own food blog, but I love the layout of yours!

  117. I got to admit , a little redfaced, that I cried as I scrolled down this.... I don't know why but it just seemed the sythesis of a beautiful mind, a moment when everything creatively comes together just right and it touched me..maybe that's why it's still on your sidebar Emma....Anyway thank you so much (just about to embark on your less challenging raspberry Swiss roll recipe).

  118. I have just created a board on Pinterest especially for this cake. I have named it "Food Art" and the description is Things I wouldn't dare try! Here I will pin recipes that are so amazing they should be showed in a museum; just like this one.

  119. I just made this as a 'Great Gatsby' inspired cake and it was wonderful. I now have an immense admiration for your ability to pull it off so beautifully, mine was a lot less perfect!

  120. This is precisely why you are my number one baking blog. You're an artist and this cake is a work of art, a vision made real. I think to be a great baker you must want to create - something special - and delicious. Beautiful and delicious or singular (and delicious)! It's the delicious that makes a cake a success and while it is great to have a yummy baked good it's not necessarily in the realm of greatness. It IS terrific though. But - like this cake - it's the look and uniquely conceived combination of ingredients and technique that make it art.

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  121. My name is yurich jerry am from USA. i want to use this opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man DR.Ogboni brought my husband back to me, i had three lovely kids for my husband, about four years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i should not worry about it at all, so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just two day and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what this great man asked me to do and for sure after two days i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy.that's why i want to say a big thank you to DR.Ogboni spiritual temple. This great man made me to understand that there is no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. you can email him at:

  122. THE GREAT Dr.NICE OKSE WHO BROUGHT MY HUSBAND BACK TO ME . My name is Ananbel Samson I live in USA, . My husband and I have been living a very happy and lovely life. So as time went on, I began to notice this strange attitude that he was possessing. He was now having another girl friend called Jane, to the extent that he was no longer picking up my calls, and he was not even sleeping in my house anymore because of this new girl friend. I became confused and didn't know what to do . So i became worried and stranded, , because I have never experienced a thing like this before in my life. So I decided to visit a spell caster online, to see if he can help me out. So immediately I went to the internet, where I saw an amazing testimony of a spell caster who brought someone's ex lover back Dr. NICE OKSE so I email him with his email immediately and I explained to him all my problems and immediately he reply to me that it will be very easy for him to solve, i have been helping people with situation like the one i have. And he also gave me some proof to be really sure of his work, and he assured me that my husband will come back to me immediately he is through with the spell casting. And also he told me to put all my trust in him, and I really believe him. So it was 9:00 am on the next morning, when I was about going to work, when i received my husband's call, and he told me that he was coming back home , and he apologized to me, and told me that he is very sorry for the pain that he has cost me. And after some minutes later, he really came back home, and that was how we continued our marriage with lots of love and happiness again, and our love was now stronger than how it were before. And he also told me that once my heart desire has been granted unto me that i should go and testify of his work right here on the internet. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth today as I am writing this testimony, and I want to really thank " Dr. NICE OKSE " for bringing back my husband, and for bringing joy and love to my life. My advice for you out there who your husband or your wife is acting strange or behaving the same way like this, or you have any problem with your relationship or anything related to do with spell casting, is for you to go and visit this VIA email:, and i assure you that he will be of help to you, and I am 90% sure that he will solve it out. Thank Dr. NICE OKSE.


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  124. I love your work, Emma! This is a gorgeous cake. I made this yesterday for a 17th birthday cake using two banana cakes (the olive oil version) with chocolate pieces, iced with dark chocolate ganache and decorated with white chocolate! It turned out great (if I do say so myself!) However I now have a real appreciation for the complexity and little hiccups that can arise with this type of decorating. I had a lot of fun making it and wanted to thank you for the inspiration :)

  125. this is absolutely gorgeous and inspired me to try doing the chocolate idea on a cake I was making for my dad. 6" sections was really good advice that I wished I'd listened to (mine didn't smear, but they did break in a lot of places). The style of design definitely looks much nicer on a taller cake like yours, but it was still a lot of fun to try! thanks so much for posting this!

  126. Natasha Johnson18 March 2015 at 04:18

    Do you need an urgent spell to get your ex back, there is a great spiritualist who can help you, his name is Dr Brave!!

    An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my husband back to me.. My name is Natasha Johnson,i live in Florida,USA,and I'm happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with three kids. A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited.{}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn't call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website {},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to the Dr Brave for bringing back my husband ,and brought great joy to my family once again. { }, Thanks......

  127. I see a bunch of Bamboon Tampoon here dont you.


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