Warning: This post has a high calorie and fat content. People trying to achieve a bit of pre-Christmas weight-loss should probably not venture any further. Or perhaps they should, because this cake is awesome.
Whipped cream, whipped ganache, raspberries, blueberries, all sitting atop a deliciously light sponge cake – this cake has it all (had it all… it’s gone now!). Best of all, every part of this cake is as simple as you could ever want. There’s no complex steps involving precise measuring of temperature or time which means that this is truly a no-fail cake, and while there are plenty of cakes around which are more visually impressive, few yield such good results for so little effort, so henceforth I am naming this the best birthday cake, or perhaps “my” best birthday cake, since it was my birthday, and this was my cake after all.
I mentioned in my last post that I had my birthday on the 3rd of December. I didn’t actually make the cake on that day. We had some family over on the following Sunday, so that gave me plenty of time to think about what kind of cake I was going to make, as well as allowing me to focus on my birthday dinner on the day itself (a big, fat, magnificent steak with this sauce for anyone wondering, and some “french fries” made from parsnip and carrot which were very good. Incidentally, we’d got them to try to trick William into eating vegetables, since he has such a penchant for french fries. Suffice to say, we failed and he was not a fan).
Normally, when making a cake like this, I would fall back on a traditional English sponge cake recipe. I’ve had a run of real bad luck with those things recently though. Surprisingly, the best one I made in recent memory was this one way back when I was visiting England, and that was using my mother’s questionably accurate balance scales and equally questionably accurate gas oven. It seems recently that no amount of precise measuring, careful beating and folding, or clock-watching when it’s in the oven yields a good result. I’m so often left with a rather dry offering and so for this birthday cake I decided to look to Sweden for inspiration and use a sockerkaka base.
Seriously – you can’t go wrong with sockerkaka. It doesn’t require any fiddly things like folding”, or even creaming. You just add ingredients into a bowl bit by bit and whisk the heck out of it. Dump the batter into a tin and shove it in the oven, wait a bit and then it’s done. It really does make the best cake – or in this case the best birthday cake – and I have to be honest when I say I don’t think I’ll ever bother trying to make an English sponge cake again.
Once baked and cooled, I split the cake into three layers and re-sandwiched each layer with an ample layer of whipped ganache and some blueberries for good measure. The only problem with the ganache in the filling was that my wife said it looked like I’d put a slice of liver pâté between each layer. I suppose I can sort of see her point, but the flavour was fantastic. What do you think?
I’ll be getting my Christmas baking on soon. First up is some “lussebullar“. I’ve written about these before in a post which coincides with Lucia day here in Sweden, but when I made them back then the photo was absolutely dreadful (and to be honest I baked the buns too long, so they weren’t great). This time around I’ll be able to replace the photo though. As for the other things I’ll make – that’s a surprise (mainly because I don’t actually know myself yet), so watch this space!
Have a great day everyone and enjoy the cake!
The Best Birthday Cake
For the cake250g Caster Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 2 tsps Vanilla Sugar
- 2 tsps Baking Powder
- 75 g Butter
- 100 ml Water
- 160 g Plain Flour
For the filling100g good quality plain chocolate
- 130 ml whipping cream
- 50 g Blueberries
For the topping350ml whipping cream
- 250 g Raspberries
- 150 g Blueberries
- Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a cake tin with a diameter of about 22cm. Whisk together the eggs and sugar using an electric whisk until pale and increased in volume.
- Whisk in the vanilla sugar and baking powder. Add in the flour and continue whisking before melting the butter in a pan with the water. When the butter has completely melted, pour into the batter and continue whisking until everything is well mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and then place into the preheated oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, testing by sticking the cake with a fork or small skewer after about 25 minutes. Remove the cake when the skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before carefully turning out and allowing to completely cool on a wire rack while you make the whipped ganache.
- Pour the cream for the filling into a small saucepan, and break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the cream. Place over a gentle heat and stir regularly until the chocolate has completely melted and combined with the cream.
- Place the ganache into the refrigerator for an hour and once it is completely cool, whip it until thick like whipped cream.
- Slice the now cool cake carefully into three layers using a long knife. Sandwich each layer together with half of the ganache, dropping some blueberries into the filling on each layer as you go.
- Finally, whip the cream for the topping until stiff and spread liberally onto the top and sides. Decorate the cake with the raspberries and blueberries and enjoy!
Helene D'Souza says
Sockerkaka spongecake, whipped cream and berries… your cake looks like a food winter wonderland dream Charles!
I missed your birthday, so I wish you a belated happy birthday now.
Happy Belated Birthday, Charles.
I can ‘kind of’ see her point though to me it looked more like olive loaf with the blueberries in there. 🙂 But if it tasted good and it was YOUR birthday cake … does it really matter?
I looked at the Lussebullar pictures and they were gorgeous. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I wish I had the Christmas spirit to be thinking of baking right at this point. I’m going to make ONE kind of cookie but haven’t quite decided which type it will be. Maybe gingerbread men. Or spritz cookies. Or something with candy canes.
Hotly Spiced says
How good of you to make your own birthday cake. And belated birthday wishes to you too. I think your cake looks fantastic. I’d love to make this for a dinner party I’m having on Saturday night but my husband has just been to the doctor and been told ‘no dairy and no chocolate’. What will I serve? Blueberries and raspberries? xx
Gourmet Getaways says
Love the colours of your Best Birthday Cake, Charles! William must be proud of his dad 🙂 Happy belated birthday!!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a beautiful cake, Charles! I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration! 🙂
Coffee and Crumpets says
Your wife is right, it does look like pate 🙂 But a tasty pate for sure. You’re right about the sponge cake though, ugh, the trials of that cake. Even harder for me cos I’m at high altitude and that sucker never comes out right. Which confuses me because the recipe for treacle pudding is similar and it always comes out great, but make the sodding sponge and it’ll flop in the middle, come out dry or so greasy you can fry eggs in it. I don’t know.
I was reading the quantities of the sockerkaka, I see it has quite bit more sugar than flour, maybe that’s why it turns out well. That whole equal amounts thing of the sponge is a farce I think!
Going to try your sockerkaka base cake. Anyway, your cake really is the best birthday cake ever, maybe….I think I make the best one…haha!
Hope you had a good one and your cake is gorgeous!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Charles, I didn’t think you’d be able to sneak anything past William! Good try, though. Your cake is beautiful. I’m going to make it very soon. I made your Swedish coconut cookies again recently. They’re always a hit. Best wishes.
[email protected] Chef in disguise says
Happy birthday Charles!
I too love making my own birthday cakes, I like them simple yet indulgent.
I need to try your sockerkaka. Sponge cakes and I don’t get along well. I usually go for a butter cake but sockerkaka sounds promisingly easy.
Wishing you many more happy, blessed and tasty birthdays Charles
P.S. sorry for not stopping by in a while, we moved from Jordan to the United Arab Emirates and it has been a wild adventure that kept me from blogging regularly..
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
If there’s a birthday cake to be had in this house, it would have to be made by me. I think this sockerkaka might be what I make in January!
I am fascinated that you made a layer cake by simply slicing up one cake! As you know, cakes are not close to my strong suit. I thought you had to bake separate small cakes and stack them. I love your method! The cake looks divine too! All those berries!!! Happy birthday again Charles!
WOW! What a birthday cake!!! You really know how to spoil yourself don’t you Charles? 🙂 If I hadn’t already known better I would have sworn you made up the word “sockerkaka”. Happy Birthday Charles!
Eva Taylor says
Happy belated birthday Charles, the cake looks fantastic! I love the fruit and ganache combo (even if the ganache does look like liver a bit!). Do you think this cake is malleable enough to bake on a sheet and roll into s Bouche de Noel? I just love the simplicity.
Shu Han says
You know I’m not the best baker Charles, so I often default to 1 standard cake recipe for everything. Basically it is a dump everything together and pour into a tin kind of recipe. For banana cake (bread, whatever) and whatever fruits I vary the recipe with. I’m not even great with sponges though I can make it work if I pay lots of attention….. this one sounds like the perfect recipe for me! And that is one stunning cake that’s come out of a rather simple recipe! Saving this one for the next birthday.
Also, a belated happy birthday and early merry Christmas Charles! To one of my oldest and dearest blog friends! I still remember you sending me my first cast iron pot on Christmas, just because. You really encouraged me to keep cooking and blogging. Hope you and gorgeous wife and baby are well xx
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I hope all your birthdays are as good as your cake is pretty. Many more healthy and happy ones together with your family. All my best to you and yours for the holidays and the New Year.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I just wanted to stop by and see how you and your family are doing, hope all is well.
Hi Karen – thanks for thinking of me. We’re both busy as all anything, so alas blogging has kind of fallen by the wayside for the time being. I’m not abandoning my blog – I really appreciate that you took the time out of your day to stop by and say hi too!
I will eventually get back to my site… I just couldn’t possibly say when right now 🙁 Hope you’re all well too!
Happy Belated Birthday! So sorry, how I missed this post? The cake looks absolutely fabulous! You betcha I’m going to try this recipe…for, say New Year’s celebration?
Wishing you and your family a very Christmas and happy New Year!
Bam's Kitchen says
Happy Belated Birthday Charles! I did it you warned me not read any more but I could not resist to see all of the photos and how decadent this cake it. Just gorgeous!!! Happy holidays to you and your family
I feel as I’ve been on another planet for past weeks…. Food and presents shopping, cooking, eating leftovers, reading… and thinking how difficult it will be to come back to normal life.
So sorry I missed this beautiful cake and your birthday. I hope you have had wonderful time with your family and equally pleasant Christmas.
I don’t worry about the food though: your cake looks so impressive, I bet your Christmas dishes were amazing too.
Happy New Year, Charles! I hope all is well. This cake is gorgeous…what a wonderful birthday cake!!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Charles, I check back every month to see if you’ve returned to the blogosphere! Hope you’re enjoying life and all is well. Just posted my Swedish Meatballs – Svenska Kottbullar – and, of course, thought of you!
Chef Devaux says
How I love this cake. But I’m going to make this cake for Christmas. They have the perfect colors. Thanks.