- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Spray 3x20cm(8in) cake tins with cake release spray or grease them and dust with flour.
- Shift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
- Put the the egg whites and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk at high speed until you have stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter, oil and sugar in the mixing bowl and whisk for 5 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat them in. Add the coconut and whisk it in.
- Add the flour and buttermilk alternately into the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Mix briefly with each addition.
- Add a third of the egg whites into the batter and use a large silicone spoon to mix them into the batter to loosen. Fold the remaining egg whites until the batter is smooth.
- Divide between the cake tins and level. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely.
1-2 tbsp Tia Maria (optional)
- Put the chocolate in a bowl and set it over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave it to gradually melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside to cool before using.
- Whisk the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla for a few minutes and gradually add the melted chocolate. Add the Tia Maria, if using.
- Add the whipped cream and either whisk it in gradually or fold it in with a large spoon. Keep in the fridge until needed.
To fill and decorate
100g | 3.5oz hazelnuts
4 store-bought meringue nests (or see here for recipe)
150g | 5.3oz Green & Blacks milk chocolate
200ml | 7oz double cream
1 tbsp glycerine
edible gold stars to decorate (optional)
- Blitz the hazelnuts and meringues in a food processor (or bash with a rolling pin) until you have a fairly chunky hazelnut/meringue ‘sand’.
- Put a generous dollop of frosting over the bottom cake layer and level. Sprinkle with the hazelnut/meringue ‘sand’.
- Repeat process with the second layer and top with the third. Smooth a generous amount of frosting over the entire cake and then chill for an hour – this is your ‘crumb’ coat. If you wish the cake to be really smooth then add a second layer of frosting and chill again.
- Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl. Heat the double cream and glycerine until tiny bubbles appear along the edges of the pot. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for a few minutes.
- Gently mix together with a hand whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
- Set your cake on a wire rack with a tray under it. Pour the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip into the tray. Leave the chocolate to set (or not – I didn’t wait as I was pressed for time).
- Pipe a little of the frosting over the cake and sprinkle with hazelnut/meringue ‘sand’, edible stars or whatever else takes your fancy.
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