Pine Cone Cake

Freezing weather is the perfect excuse to stay in & bake a cake, if you ask us.


  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • For the icing:
  • 2 1/4 cups dark chocolate, around 70% cocoa solids
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • To assemble:
  • 10 1/2 oz good quality milk chocolate
  • Powdered sugar


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of three 7-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the butter is fully melted. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl, then add the cocoa powder and chocolate and mix together until the chocolate is melted. Add the light brown sugar followed by the eggs and egg yolks and whisk until fully combined. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt over the chocolate mixture, mixing together until just combined.
  3. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For the icing: Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave until melted, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream. Cook until the the butter and sugar have melted, then pour the cream over the chocolate in 3 additions, stirring gently in the middle of the bowl until the mixtures are combined and a super glossy finish is achieved. Fold in the sour cream. Set aside until thick enough to spread.
  5. For the decoration: Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and allow to cool slightly off the heat. Lay out a sheet of wax paper and spoon circles of chocolate onto the paper, keeping them spaced well apart. Next, pull a teaspoon through the bottom of the circles you have just made, forming the pine cone scales. Do this until it is all used up and then set aside to cool.
  6. To assemble: Lay a cake on a serving dish and spoon a few tablespoons of icing into the center. Spread the icing out with a palette knife, and top with the second cake. Repeat, sandwiching all the cakes together. Using a palette knife, ice the entire cake generously. Taking one chocolate ‘scale’ at a time, insert one-third of the way into the buttercream, working all around the cake to create a pine cone effect. Dust with the powdered sugar to serve.