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A Darkly Delicious Birthday

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

It was my husband’s birthday during the week and for a treat (for me as much as for him) we went out to dinner. Our 7 year-old got to choose the restaurant and somewhat surprisingly he chose Yo Sushi!  I’d like to be honest at this point and admit that he isn’t the worlds-most-sophisticated 7-year-old (far from it), he’s never actually tried sushi* but loves the conveyor belts and the chicken noodles in there. Plus daddy had never been to Yo Sushi before so he was keen to share the experience.

*He did try it this time at Yo Sushi and to his credit managed to eat a piece, but I don’t think he’d choose to eat raw fish again in a great hurry. We, on the other hand, loved it. It was just a pity about the unexpected dalek attack afterwards…

As per tradition I made a birthday cake, and boy was this one good. It was the Brooklyn Blackout Cake from The Hummingbird Bakery book (recipe below), but made as a single cake rather than a 3 tier cake.  It’s dark and delicious, and another bonus is that the frosting is great for when you’ve run out of icing sugar (which I had).

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Brooklyn Blackout Cake Recipe:

(From The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)


  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 170g plain flour
  • 160 ml whole milk

chocolate custard frosting:

  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 125g cocoa powder
  • 200g cornflour
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

also need:

3 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius (Gas 3)

2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a handheld electric whisk)
and cream until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl
with a rubber spatula after each addition.
Turn the mixer down down to slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder,
baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
Add half the flour, then all the milk, and finish with the remaining flour.
Mix well until everything is well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins.
Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins
before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

4. For the chocolate custard: Put the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of water
into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally.

5. Mix in the cornflour with 120ml of water, then whisk into the cocoa mixture in the saucepan.
Bring back to boil , whisking constantly.
Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until very firm.

6. When the cakes are cold, using a serrated knife, slice a thin layer off one of the cakes.
Put this layer into a food processor and process to make fine crumbs.
Put one cake on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the chocolate custard over it with a palette knife.
Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the custard over it.
Top with the last cake and spread the remaining custard over the top and sides.
Cover with the cake crumbs and chill for about 2 hours.


Brooklyn Blackout Cake Brooklyn Blackout Cake

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