4 cups caster sugar
3 cups water
500g unsalted butter, chopped
2 x 180g blocks dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
Liquorice strap, pink Mentos or marshmallow, unsprayed flowers, desiccated coconut, to decorate
Antlers, to top (instructions below)
375g unsalted butter, softened
4 ½ cups icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup cocoa
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease and line two 20cm round, 5cm deep cake pans with baking paper.
Put butter, chocolate, sugar, water, vanilla and coffee in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat, until melted. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Stir in eggs, sifted flours and cocoa.
Pour mixture into pans. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes - 1 hour 45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Turn onto wire rack to cool completely (preferably overnight).
For the icing, put butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add combined sifted icing sugar mixture and cocoa and beat to combine.
Trim cake tops level. Cut cakes in half horizontally. Spread 1 cake piece with icing. Repeat layering and cover outside of cake with icing.
Press trimmed liquorice onto cake for eyes and Mentos for the nose. Insert antlers in top and decorate with flowers and coconut. Slice and serve.
Using enlarged template as a stencil, cut 2 antlers from brown paper. Attach each to a long bamboo skewer with a little sticky tape. Insert in cake.
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