Oh I do love a spot of healthy competition I do. To date, this is definitely my favourite creation, it got 2nd place at the Great British Food Festival in my local area. Call me ungrateful but I really wanted 1st- I’ve never won anything God damn it! Plus I could’ve really done with the spiraliser they were handing out to the winner...
Anyway enough with the self pity. I’ve dusted myself off, come to the realisation the judges and public made poor judgement that day (whatever helps you cope eh?!) and are therefore sharing this recipe with you all.
I named this cake after its quirky filling. Milkshake because I’ve flavoured 3 layers of filling with 3 different milkshake flavours and Mob because it’s an Italian cannoli filling- rest assured the filling won’t go all Mafia on you, it is however badass in the flavour department.
Picture this: a trio of milkshake flavours (strawberry, banana and chocolate Nesquik) all separately incorporated in a chocolate chip cannoli filling. Chocolate fudge sauce, because chocolate fudge and milkshakes are bff’s. Silky chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. All the above sandwiched between four layers of fudgy chocolate stout cake and finished off with a generous coating of more chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, a chocolate drip, buttercream swirls and plenty of sprinkles.
This is brilliant for a birthday or special occasion. It’s a chocolate lover’s fairytale and the filling will bring out the excitable inner child in all of us. Come on go for it, you know you want to!
Prep time: 6 hours+
Total time: 8 hours+
For the Chocolate Stout Cake:
500g unsalted butter
350ml stout (I used Guinness milk stout)
100ml strong coffee
150g cocoa powder
600g plain flour
800g granulated sugar
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tsp salt
350g Greek yogurt
4 tsp vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Chip Milkshake Cannoli Filling:
250g ricotta cheese, strained
100g mascarpone cheese
100g mini milk or dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp chocolate Nesquik powder
2 tbsp strawberry Nesquik powder
2 tbsp banana Nesquik powder
1/8 tsp red food gel
1/8 tsp yellow food gel
For the Chocolate Fudge Sauce (for filling and drizzling):
397g tin sweetened condensed milk
180g dark chocolate chips/baking chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Simple Syrup:
1 tbsp cocoa powder
For the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
300g egg whites
650g butter, slightly softened (but still cold to the touch) and cubed
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate
Sprinkles (I used Sweetapolita ‘over the rainbow’)
Make the cake. In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, add butter, coffee and stout. Bring the mixture to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the cocoa powder, whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. Set aside to cool.
Prepare two 7 inch diameter, deep cake tins with spray oil/cake release spray or butter and line the bottom and sides with parchment. You could also use 8 inch but the cake will be slightly shorter in height. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan.
In a medium sized bowl whisk flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract.
Checking the stout mixture has cooled considerably, add it to the wet ingredients and whisk together.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixture in 3 stages, whisking each time until fully combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins. A handy method I swear by is placing each tin on kitchen scales and adding enough batter to each one till they weigh the same. Now THAT’S equally divided batter!
Bake the cakes for 60-70 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out on a cooling rack. Once the cakes reach room temperature cover tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least 6 hours/overnight (or freeze up to 3 months if making way ahead).
Make the cannoli milkshake filling. Combine the strained ricotta and mascarpone and mix until smooth, avoiding overbeating. Divide equally between 3 small bowls. Add chocolate nesquick to the first, banana to the second and strawberry to the third. Stir through, and add red gel colouring to the strawberry and yellow gel colouring to the banana for a more vibrant colour. Stir again before adding chocolate chips equally between the bowls and stirring once more. Refrigerate.
Make the swiss meringue butter cream. Heat egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer over a pan of simmering water (about 1 inch deep), whisking constantly until a sugar thermometer reads 160F (this means the egg whites are now pasteurised and WONT give you food poisoning..wahey!). This will take around 5-10 minutes. Wipe any water away from the base of the bowl and place back onto the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Begin whipping the meringue on a medium- high speed. Meanwhile, heat the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second bursts, mixing each time until melted. Set aside to cool. Continue whipping the meringue until stiff and glossy and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm (warm meringue will melt the butter). Rub a little meringue between your thumb and index finger and if smooth, it’s ready. If it feels grainy, whip a little longer. This has taken me anywhere between 15-20 minutes, so be patient! Switch to the paddle attachment and on a medium speed, begin incorporating the cubes of butter one at a time, allowing them to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Again, this may take around 10 minutes but good things come to those who wait! Scrape down the sides of the bowl half way through and then once more once you’ve added the last cube of butter. Continue to beat until fluffy and smooth. Don’t worry if the consistency looks curdled, keep whipping and it will get there! Add in the salt, vanilla extract and cooled melted chocolate. Beat again until incorporated.
Make the simple chocolate syrup. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat through until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Make the chocolate fudge sauce. Combine chocolate and condensed milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.
Assemble the cake. Remove the cakes from the fridge and slice in half so that you end up with 4 equal sized layers. Place some butter cream in the centre of a cake plate/drum and place the first layer of cake on top, pressing down to stick. Brush some chocolate syrup over the cake. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip and fill with butter cream. Pipe a butter cream dam around the sides of the cake, about 1 inch in height. Spread a thin coating of chocolate fudge sauce inside the dam and then fill with one of the cannoli fillings, to come in line with the butter cream dam. Place another cake layer over this, pressing down gently, ensuring it’s sitting directly on top of the bottom layer. Repeat this process with the remaining two flavours of cannoli filling until you top the cake with the final cake layer. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm everything up. Using palette knife (to apply the butter cream) and bench scraper (to smooth it), crumb coat the cake with a layer of butter cream and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up before adding another coat. Once the cake is smooth, symmetrical and completely covered in butter cream, pop in the fridge to firm up for a further 20 minutes. Heat the leftover fudge sauce for a few seconds in the microwave till it’s a runny (but not hot) consistency. Remove the cake from the fridge and drizzle the chocolate sauce down the sides of the cake (I used a squeezy bottle but you can also use a spoon). Place back in the fridge for 10 minutes. Fit a piping bag with a closed star tip and fill with the leftover butter cream. Pipe swirls on top of the cake. Decorate the swirls and base of the cake with lots of sprinkles!
Place back in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy, you’ve earned it.