Several folk have asked for the recipe for the birthday cake. I made double these quantities.


500g plain flour
500g caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g cocoa powder
Half a 284 fl oz pot of Elmlea single cream
150ml olive oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice plus the grated rind of 1 orange

Line a 250mm x 310mm (10″ x 12″) tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease and flour it.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 for fan oven), gas mark 4.
Mix all dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk using a mixer for 3 minutes.

Cook for 40 minutes. Test with a skewer – if still sticky, give it another 5-10 minutes.
Leave for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Butter cream for the middle

100g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
1 desert spoon cocoa
A drop of vanilla essence
Tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice

Mix together with whisk.

Glaze for the top

100g good dark chocolate broken into pieces
40g unsalted butter cut into cubes
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
75g icing sugar

Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Stir in the sieved icing sugar.
Add butter and stir until fully incorporated (and don’t panic!).
Remove bowl from heat and add juice one tablespoon at a time.

Leave to cool for about an hour. The glaze needs to still be spreadable but not run off the cake.
Can be put in fridge to speed cooling but keep a very close eye on it.

This cuts into 8 x 7 (56) reasonable size pieces.

The birthday cake

The birthday cake