Chocolate and Strawberry Birthday Cake

Based on Lorraine Pascale’s “I can’t believe you make that” Cake from her first book Baking Made Easy, this is my “I Flippin’ Did Make That” Cake that I baked last weekend for my gorgeous daughter on the occasion of her 11th birthday. She’s what I like to call a young foodie in training and loves to visit markets and watch cookery shows with me and was absolutely gutted that I didn’t bring her along to the recent Bord Bia day (which I *still* haven’t blogged about..)

Ever since I baked the tractor cake for her brother’s birthday she has been asking me what kind of cake I’ll be making for her big day, as soon as I saw Lorraine Pascale bake her cake on the show I knew I’d have to recreate it for her.

I banned her from the kitchen while I was baking (which I’m sure worried her a little!) and himself was ever so kind in that he brought the kids off to the pub for an hour while I got stuck into decorating it (he’s very good isn’t he?! Did I mention that I had to ring them and tell them to come home…?) The cake was then hidden away in the spare room until it was time for the big reveal…

She was delighted with the cake (thankfully!) and couldn’t wait to tuck into a slice.


200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
140g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder

For the Buttercream:

250g unsalted butter – softened
500g icing sugar
100g good quality dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s 70% cocoa solids)

To Decorate:
400g cigarillos
500g strawberries

To Make The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a 20cm round deep cake tin with baking paper and brush or spray with oil.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they begin to go pale.

Add half the eggs and half the flour and mix well.

Add the rest of the eggs along with the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and beat until they are well combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin.


To Prepare The Buttercream:

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool.

Place the butter and icing sugar and whisk together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the cooled chocolate and whisk for a further two minutes.

Once the cake is completly cool, remove from the tin.

Carefully cut the top flat with a large serrated knife.

Turn the cake upside down on a 20cm cake board so that the bottom now becomes a nice flat top.

Split the cake horizontally and sandwich the top and bottom together with a 1cm layer of buttercream.

Spread half of the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, making it as smooth as possible. Put it in the fridge to set before doing  another layer – this makes it much easier to get neat squared-off edges.

Gently push the cigarillos vertically onto the sides of the cake, positioning them as straight as possible and making sure they touch the bottom.

Carefully tie a length of ribbon around the cigarillos. As well as looking pretty, it will help to keep the cigarillos in place!

Fill with malteasers and strawberries*


In the show, Lorraine used cigarillos to decorate her cake – I replaced these with wafers (I think they’re for ice cream..) that I picked up in the €2 shop of all places! Unfortunately, I had to resort to the rustic look again (it’s the new cakey fashion don’tcha know!) as when I opened the tins of wafers, a lot of them were broken but I still think it turned out ok..

I ran out of strawberries thanks to a light-fingered 4 year old, so covered the cake in maltesers before placing the surviving strawberries on top.


  1. Nailish Ramblings says:

    That looks amazing – so professional (and the photography is amazing too!) I think that different length wafers make it look even more professional. Bet it was yummy too….. lucky Sam! (and belated happy birthday!)

  2. Colette says:

    I don’t know if you realise this, but I have been on a soul-destroying and diet-busting mission to find a celebration cake to make for my Mammy’s 80th Birthday in April. I think I’ve just found it 🙂 So beautiful, she and Dad and the family would love this. Brilliant!!

  3. Aoife Mc says:

    Truly astonishing! I remember seeing pics on Twitter of this cake. Amazing.

    I’m turning 30 next year…you think you might be able to make this cake for me, too?! 🙂

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