Melted butter, to grease, plus extra 400g, chopped, softened
½ cup Dutch cocoa
1 cup brown sugar
400ml boiling water
1 cup caster sugar
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 Tbsp Callebaut dark chocolate crips pearls
Pinch of edible gold dust or chocolate polish
Rosebuds (for decoration only, not for eating), rose petals, cornflower petals, dianthus petals, raspberries, blueberries, gold speckled mini meringues and crushed freeze-dried raspberries, to decorate
Rich chocolate ganache frosting
250ml thickened cream
400g dark chocolate (45% cocoa), chopped
To make frosting, put cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Set aside for 10 minutes, then briefly stir again until silky-smooth. Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until it's a spreadable consistency.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan-forced (180 degrees C conventional). Grease two 20cm round cake tins with butter and line bases and sides with baking paper.
Put cocoa and brown sugar in a large heatproof jug and pour in boiling water. Use a whisk to stir until smooth, then set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put extra butter in a large bowl, add caster sugar and beat with an electric hand beater on high speed until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift in flour, baking powder and bicarb, then add about ½ cup of cocoa mixture. Stir with a whisk to roughly combine. Continue to add cocoa mixture, ½ cup at a time, whisking until a smooth speckled batter forms.
Divide batter into thirds, using a cup measure for accuracy, dividing between 2 tins and one large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Bake 2 cakes for 35 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer, swapping positions in oven halfway through. Cool cakes in tins for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Regrease and line 1 tin, then pour in remaining batter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool completely.
To assemble, put 1 cake on a stand. Spread with 1/3 of the frosting. Repeat layering, finishing with frosting.
Put pearls in a small zip-lock bag. Add a pinch of gold dust. Seal bag and shake well to coat completely.
Decorate cake with rosebuds, petals, berries, meringues, frozen raspberries and gold pearls. Serve.