Birthday Curly Whirly Cake

I think its well established that I like to bake. I will find an event an excuse to bake a cake! Of course the one occasion that always calls for cake is a Birthday! It was my friend Chloe’s birthday recently, so of course the mixer was whipped out. I wanted to create something new and exciting for her cake, because as an ex-coworker Chloe has endured having to eat many of my cakes and cupcakes over the years, so I felt something new was in order. Then as I was walking past one of my favourite bakeries – Konditor and Cook – I thought to myself wouldn’t it be lovely if I made one of my all time favourite cakes of theirs, the wonderfully chocolately Curly Whirly Cake. After a little digging… ok I typed it into Google search and it was the second option – there it was the recipe for the Curly Whirly cake that had been featured in the Guardian many moons ago…. finally I had it, the tools to make this yummy decadent cake!

So on a hot summers night I locked myself in the kitchen the night before the birthday and set to work making this cake. Now of course, this is a recipe I have never tried before that I am making for a group of friends, I was nervous to say the least…. what about if it didn’t work, what about if the cake didn’t rise, I wouldn’t have enough time to make another.. panic! So I made myself a cup of tea, put on Radio 6 and calmed myself down. There was no turning back, the cake had to be made.


Dark chocolate sponge

100g plain chocolate (drops or chopped chocolate)
250ml milk
275g soft brown sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
100g salted butter
175g plain flour, sifted with 1tsp baking powder and 30g dark cocoa (2tbsp)

Vanilla frosting

200g full-fat cream cheese
400g icing sugar
½ vanilla bean (best-quality Mexican vanilla adds a wonderful aroma)
50g unsalted butter, melted

(Full recipe and steps are here

The first step of the recipe, line the cake tins with tin foil… tin foil! What? that was a new one for me… why not baking paper? Well I wasnt going to question the method of Konditor and Cook so I lined my tins with tin foil…. there was a moment when I considered making a hat as well, but it was starting to get late and I was getting odd looks from my housemate.

Lining the tins

Line the tins with tin foil

Next step, melt the chocolate drops…. mmmmm…. melted chocolate, yum!

melting the chocolate

Melt the chocolate

Dry ingredients – nothing exciting there, until the chocolate is added and then, then the magic happens you end up with yummy cake mix ( obligatory finger dipped into the batter!) This is a very wet mixture. In to the tins it went and I crossed my fingers! I always get nervous when following a new recipe, especially in my temperamental oven.

Dry ingredients

The dry ingredients….. oh and my feet!

mixing the ingredients

Mix the dry ingredients to a yummy batter

Adding the melted chocolate

Adding the melted chocolate

Out of the oven they come, this is the moment of truth… they have risen, although not quite as much as I would have liked, but still they have a good spring to them which is what we want!

cake done... out of the oven it comes - leave in the tin to cool.

cake done… out of the oven it comes – leave in the tin to cool.

Now the most important part of any cake is the … wait for it… FROSTING! No cake is complete without frosting. I have an instant distrust of anyone who doesn’t like frosting…. what is wrong with the creamy fluffy delight that is cake frosting, its sugar and butter, ok yes it’s going to clog your arteries but at least you will die happy knowing you enjoyed life to its cakeyfullness!

Frosting whipped and cakes cooled and the decorating begins…. I was fairly liberal with the sandwich frosting, and then you put a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake to seal in all the crumbs. Leave it to set, a good hour or so, and then with the rest of the frosting cover that bad ass chocolate cake until it is completely covered. For further decadence, you can drizzle melted chocolate over the top or add crunch sprinkles… and there you have it, a perfectly decadent and grown up birthday cake.

the frosted cake! yum!

the frosted cake! yum!

……. So how was it received, well Chloe loved that she got a cake, and the pub very kindly put it in their fridge so it didn’t melt ( we were sat in a beer garden with 30 degree heat – not ideal frosting weather). Then as the sun was setting, out came the cake a light with candles…. the cake was instantly pounced upon by everyone. It was delicious!

a random glass of champagne!

a random glass of champagne!

the Birthday girl cuts the cake

the Birthday girl cuts the cake

the cake devoured!

the cake devoured!

The cake itself is more brownie than sponge – no arguing here, so was perfect for the people who were not big cake fans. This was a very successful cake and will most definitely be coming out on more occasions… I may even try to cupcake it!


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