Cakes & Bakes

Chocolate and Coffee Celebration Cake with Whipped Vanilla Icing

One of the reasons I love to bake is the opportunity to experiment and try new things.  It took me a long time to start creating my own recipes, particularly with cakes, but as the saying goes, ‘I’ve never looked back!’ I only wish I found the confidence to do it sooner.

An easy way to start is to take a really good basic cake recipe that you are completely happy with and then start to play around with that. I have used this strategy for myself on many occasions and it is how I created my latest chocolate and coffee cake. OK, I admit that the flavour combo does not sound very original, so what makes my one different?

It’s all in the ingredients!  Top quality cocoa powder and Camp coffee essence are key. I also use homegrown eggs and homemade vanilla essence.  Don’t panic though, any good quality supermarket eggs will do and check out my blogging pal Cakeboule who has a great vanilla essence recipe on her blog.

‘Re-ee-wind…Camp?’ I hear you gasp.  Actually, I’ll let you into a secret, I brought this for the first time only a few weeks ago but I am totally converted.  It is great stuff and I would recommend any keen baker having a bottle of it in their cupboard.  Amazingly versatile, and a quick and easy way of getting a sweet coffee flavour into your cakes and bakes.  Add it to cake batter, icing, desserts, tarts and the list goes on.  You can even make a hot coffee style drink out of it.   I was vaguely aware before I brought some that it had been around for long time as my mum recognised the bottle when I showed her a picture.  I would never have guessed that it actually started being produced in 1876!  Legend has it that it was originally developed as a method of brewing coffee quickly for military purposes and I suspect it was also used in the war when coffee was rationed.  Now I think something with a history like that which has been around for so long has got to be a winner.  I like the retro feel bottle and packaging and I now have it proudly sitting at the front of my baking cupboard.

I have digressed!  Back to the cake.  The other winning aspect of this cake is my new favorite icing/frosting; whipped vanilla icing.  This is essentially buttercream but the difference is that it has been whisked in total for almost 20 minutes! It goes without saying that you need a free standing electric mixer to make this but my goodness it is as light as air when it’s done and the perfect consistancy for spreading on cake.  I do cringe at the amount of butter and icing sugar needed to make it which is why I call this a celebration cake as I think it is perfect for special occasions, (or in other words, once in a while).

Both the whipped buttercream and the stye of decoration on my cake have been inspired by reading the most excellent Sweetoplita blog.  I had so much fun following Rosie’s Pastel Swirl Cake video tutorial and if you take a look yourself you will see that icing a cake with 3 different colours is not too difficult at all.  In fact I was very surprised at how easy it actually is.  You just need a turntable and a palatte knife.  I really do love the look of this cake, so I have decided to demonstrate the technique at my next Bake Club.  It is so effective and very easy to change the colour theme and put your mark on it.

You may also be interested to know that 2 out of the 3 colours that I used to create the icing were natural.  The dark pink was beetroot powder and the pale pink was a a combination of India tree blue and red.  I think this just goes to show that artificial colours don’t always need to be used to get the desired effect.

I have used the whipped vanilla icing recipe from Sweetapolita’s blog so did not include it in my recipe box.

5.0 from 3 reviews

Chocolate and Coffee Celebration Cake with Whipped Vanilla Icing
Recipe type: Celebration Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 10

  • 170g plain flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 170g soft unsalted butter (softened)
  • 170g sugar
  • 4 of my chicken eggs or 3 large eggs
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp Camp essence
  • 2tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 170c/325f/gas 3
  2. Place all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and mix until a smooth batter is formed, adding enough milk to give the mixture dropping consistency.
  3. Divide the batter between the two 8” cake tins, gently smooth over and put in the oven for 20-25 mins. To check that they are done stick a knife in both cakes and it will come out clean if baked. If not, pop back in for another 5 mins
  4. Let the cakes cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn out onto a cooling rack
  5. Whilst cooling you can make the buttercream
  6. Divide buttercream equally into into 4 bowls. Colour 3 with your chosen colours and leave one plain.
  7. Once your cakes are cool place one half, top side down on an 8″ thin board and cover the top with a generous helping of the buttercream or you can use your favorite jam
  8. Place the second half on top, again top side down
  9. Using a palette knife give the cake a full covering with the plain buttercream. This covering should not be too thick, but enough to ‘crumb coat’ the cake, or prevent any crumbs from coming through to the coloured buttercream layer which will be put on top
  10. Place a large dollop of butttercream on the top and spread and smooth over up to the edge of the cake using a small palette knife and spinning the turntable
  11. Using a larger palette knife, start to place another colour of icing around the bottom of the cake until you have got all the way round
  12. Then using the final colour fill in the middle section of the cake. Don’t worry at this point about how neat it looks. You can smooth it over on the next step
  13. Using a clean palette knife, hold facing down at an angle to the cake so that the knife edge is touching the side of the cake
  14. Spin the cake round and watch the knife glide around the cake and smooth it over
  15. You will probably want to spend 5 mins or so doing this part until you have it looking just as you would like
  16. Pick your favorite sprinkles and apply sparingly on the top.

Equipment needed includes an electric mixer, colours, palette knife, cake turntable and an 8″ thin cake board.

This cake fits perfectly into a couple of June blogging challenges.   They are We Should Cocoa hosted this month by Lucy from The Kitchenmaid blog and orgnaised by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog.  The theme is coffee.


I would also like to enter this cake into Alphabakes which has the rather tricky ‘V’ as letter this month.  Luckily my whipped vanilla buttercream ticks the box.  Alphabakes is jointly hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes.



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  1. Laura@howtocookgoodfoodJune 20, 2012 at 4:05 pmReply

    What beautiful icing and love the three tone colour effect. I haven’t used Camp coffee in years but think it works very well in cakes and icing too.
    You have great skills at icing, most jealous!!x

    • FleurJune 21, 2012 at 6:20 amReplyAuthor

      Thank you. It’s hard not to spend hours trying to get it completely perfect and smooth but I was very happy with the end result. The mix of colours looks really pretty.

  2. LiamJune 20, 2012 at 8:25 pmReply

    This cake is AMAZING! had it on sat. My sister is very talented.

    • FleurJune 21, 2012 at 6:20 amReplyAuthor

      Thank you Liam. xxx

  3. bakingaddictJune 20, 2012 at 10:11 pmReply

    I LOVE the icing – its so beautiful! My mum has been asking for camp chicory & coffee essence – what a coincidence! Where did you get it from? And the beetroot powder? Thanks so much for entering this to AlphaBakes.

  4. the hungry mumJune 21, 2012 at 6:57 amReply

    Wow, this is so pretty! I *never* ice my cakes and after seeing your perfect icing I think I’ll continue this way – I could never get it to look so gorgeous.

    • FleurJune 21, 2012 at 9:19 amReplyAuthor

      Thank you :) . I spent a long time just looking at this cake one I had done it. Very pleased with myself ;) You should really give it a go though. It’s much easier than it looks and does not have to be completely perfect.

  5. NicJune 21, 2012 at 6:57 amReply

    I saw this cake ‘in the flesh’ – it looked very impressive. I also tasted the very piece in the photo – yummy!

    • FleurJune 21, 2012 at 9:20 amReplyAuthor

      Thank you lovely lady. X

  6. Jude - A Trifle RushedJune 21, 2012 at 9:23 amReply

    Like Laura, I haven’t used Camp coffee in years, must try it again. I love the cake decorations and the fact that you used natural colours. J x

  7. JeanJune 21, 2012 at 10:23 pmReply

    That is a fabulous looking cake, I love it !!

  8. Made With PinkJune 23, 2012 at 7:20 amReply

    Love love love this cake! I’ve been wanting to do an ombré cake for ages. Yours is perfect! The colours are blended together so well!

  9. Phil in the KitchenJune 23, 2012 at 10:04 pmReply

    This sounds delicious and looks lovely – I really love those colours. I thoroughly approve of any use of Camp coffee – it’s very comforting. Your mum recognised the bottle but she might spot a change on the label. The Indian gentleman used to serve the Scottish gentlemen his coffee and stand by deferentially. These days, they sit down and enjoy coffee together. Quite right too.

  10. MaggieJune 24, 2012 at 6:10 pmReply

    Stunning cake and I was particularly intrigued by your use of natural food colours.

  11. cakebouleJune 25, 2012 at 8:22 pmReply

    I have had my eye on this for a while and loved the pictures on instragram. I did not realise though that it was chococlate and coffee – yum! Its looks perfect and the tip about the coffee essence is great. I bet it can’t be that hard to make one either – runs off thinking!

  12. ChocletteJuly 1, 2012 at 8:59 amReply

    Another fantastic cake Fleur. I just love how you have used three different colours in your icing, it’s very effective. Camp coffee takes me back – my mother always had a bottle in the cupboard when I was growing up – I expect she still has. Will have to check next time I’m over.

  13. ChocletteJuly 1, 2012 at 8:59 amReply

    Oh and thanks for entering it into WSC :)

  14. working london mummyJuly 3, 2012 at 1:37 pmReply

    what a stunning cake. Love the look of it! I can never do as good a decorating job. Need patience and lots of it!

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