It looks as though Jack’s “King of the Jungle” lion birthday cake was a hit, judging by the scant scraps of fondant left behind. 

I’ve had several requests for more details about the cake ingredients, with favourable comments about the incredible flavour and moisture of each slice. So, I hope this helps YOU to bake your own special creation at home. 

The cake base was CHOCOLATE FUDGE from the David Herbert cookbook Best Ever Baking Recipes that my thoughtful Aunt Branka bought for me last year. She is a phenomenal home cook and is forever cooking and feeding family and friends.  I made the cake two days prior to Jack’s party, early in the morning, then left it to cool and iced it 12 hours later at night. Once the cake has been completely covered with fondant I then placed it in the fridge. The fondant effectively seals in and intensifies the moisture and in this case, the chocolaty flavour. I have previously published this recipe on Cabinet of Cookery, but have found the moisture of the cake increases if it is made a day prior to when the first sliced is served. The recipe is re-printed below. 

As for the GANACHE, I melted 300 grams of dark 70% Lindt chocolate with 300 ml of pure cream in a saucepan over a low heat. Keep stirring with a medium whisk until thick and combined. Then cool to room temp and place in the fridge to cool completely. Once cooled, scrape into a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Then into the fridge for an hour before smoothing over the cake. 

Once the cake has been smothered with smoothed over ganache (use a proper stainless steel palette knife for a professional finish), place it back into the fridge for an hour to set. Before rolling over the fondant, check to see if more ganache is needed – are there any gaps, any dips, any rough spots? If so apply another layer where needed, return to the fridge for at least an hour until set before starting on the fondant. You may at this point sigh with exasperation over the amount of times a single cake must be relegated to the fridge, but the effort and patience is essential to the final result. You need a smooth, firm base for the fondant to cling to, otherwise it will end up lumpy, unattractive and unworthy of a special occasion. 

This is my favourite brand of FONDANT, which I buy from Sydney’s The Essential Ingredient – stock up! It is called SATIN ICE, vanilla flavour

It tastes like ice-cream, is silky to kneed and roll, has greater elasticity and absorbs colour evenly. 

Chocolate Fudge Cake to serve 12-16 people

100 g very soft unsalted butter
100 g dark chocolate, melted
250 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
280 g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (this aerates the cake resulting in a lighter texture)
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
250 ml milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on a conventional setting. Grease and line a 22-23 cm springform cake tin. Line the entire cake tin – base and sides. 

Place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl (I used my reliable KitchenAid mixer) and beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes, until combined and smooth.

Scrape into your prepared tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. I found 55 minutes in my Ilve oven was perfect, but ovens do vary. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly. 

Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool down completely if you are intending to ice the cake. An excellent icing to use if you are NOT going to apply fondant and simply enjoy the cake as a treat for morning or afternoon tea, is David Herbert’s Chocolate Ganache. Simply melt 100 g unsalted butter with 250 g dark chocolate  in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of gently simmering hot water. Cool down for about 20 minutes or until the icing has thickened and then spread over your cake. Although this type of ganache is not suitable as a base for fondant as it is too soft, it is utterly divine atop a generous slice of this fudge favourite of mine. 

Alternatively, slip the warm round of chocolate splendour onto a serving plate and eat while still warm with a dollop of cream.