3 Tiered Chocolate Cake

Spoil milk chocolate fans with this chocolate cake decorated with pink fondant icing flowers – easily made with plunger cutters.

Serves: 40

Preparation: 2 hours + 20–35 minutes baking and cooling


  • 500g Butter, at room temperature
  • 500g Caster Sugar
  • 9 eggs
  • 625 g Self-Raising Flour
  • 75g Cocoa Powder
  • 4–6 tbsp Milk
  • Fondant flowers
  • 350g Ready-to-Roll White Icing
  • Brown and Pink or Red Paste Food Colourings
  • Cornflour, for dusting
  • Butter Icing
  • 250g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 250g Butter, at room temperature
  • 500g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp Milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Line the bases and sides of a 20 cm (8 inches), a 15 cm (6 inch) and a 7.5 cm (3 inches) deep, round cake tin with nonstick baking paper (see Tip).
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with a little flour and mixing in each until smooth.
  5. Add the remaining flour, cocoa powder and enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency.
  6. Divide the mixture between the cake tins so they are all a similar height. Smooth the tops.
  7. Bake all the cakes on the centre shelf, allowing about 40–45 minutes for the small cake, about 1 hour for the middle cake and 1 hour 20–35 minutes for the largest one or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the paper and cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, make the flowers. Divide the icing into four and colour one piece brown and the others varying shades of pink. Wrap each piece of icing separately in cling film so it does not dry out.
  10. Taking a little icing at a time, roll out thinly on a work surface dusted with cornflour. Stamp out flowers with plunger cutters then press into a circle of foam so that the petals curl. Transfer to a tray lined with non-stick baking paper and continue – rolling and stamping until you have a large selection of different sized flowers.
  11. Leave to dry and harden for at least 1 hour.
  12. To make the butter icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  13. Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy then gradually mix in the chocolate until smooth. Stir in the milk, if needed, to make a soft, spreadable icing.
  14. Trim the cakes so the tops are level then cut each into three layers.
  15. Sandwich back together with some of the butter icing.
  16. Put the largest cake on a plate and stack the smaller cakes on top, sticking them in place with a little butter icing and securing them with 2 or 3 long wooden skewers. Spread a little of the butter icing thinly over the tops and sides of the cakes to stick the crumbs in place, then spread most of the remaining icing over more thickly and smooth with a palette knife. Keep a little icing aside for the flowers.
  17. Arrange the flowers over the cake in swathes, right down to the plate, sticking some of the smallest flowers inside the largest ones with tiny dots of butter icing.
  18. Leave in a cool dry place for up to 24 hours or until ready to serve.


To bake the top tier, wash and dry an empty 200g baked bean or similar can. Remove the top completely then line with non-stick baking paper and put on a baking sheet with the middle-sized cake tin.

This recipe is from Chocolate Success published by Simon & Schuster in 2011.

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