Wow! If you're after a Christmas cake that will REALLY impress, look no further!
1 cup cocoa powder
300g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ cups plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup buttermilk
Fresh raspberries, mini white marshmallows and extra cocoa powder, to decorate
1 cup White Choc Melts (175g), melted
1 cup Dark Choc Melts (175g), melted
250g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
200g dark cooking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups icing sugar mixture
Grease three x 20cm round cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above pan edges.
Whisk cocoa with 1 cup boiling water in a heatproof jug until smooth. Cool completely.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir cocoa. Mixture will look curdled at this stage.
In two batches, add combined sifted flour, baking powder and soda with buttermilk, stirring until smooth. Divide evenly among prepared pans. Smooth over tops.
Cook two cakes in a moderately slow oven (160C) for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining cake.
To make bark, grease two oven trays. Trace a 13cm x 30cm rectangle onto two sheets of baking paper. Place paper, trace-side down, onto each tray.
Spread white chocolate to cover one rectangle. With long side facing you, run a fork in a wavy pattern, upwards through chocolate, to extend 3cm to 4cm above the opposite long side, to give a jagged edge. Refrigerate until set. Repeat with dark chocolate.
To make buttercream, beat butter in large bowl of an electric mixer until very pale and creamy. Beat in cooled chocolate. Add sugar. Beat until smooth.
Reserve 2 cups buttercream. Sandwich cakes with remaining buttercream. Spread reserved buttercream over top and around side. Starting from the centre on top of the cake, run a fork in a concentric circle through buttercream to resemble a ‘cut log’.
Break bark into shards. Arrange around side of cake. Dust with extra cocoa. Insert marshmallows into raspberries to resemble ‘toadstools’. Place on top of cake.
TIP! Cakes can be made one day ahead. Store in airtight containers. Cakes can be assembled and decorated up to 3 hours before serving. Keep in a cool place.