Chocolate and burnt butterscotch layer cake

This deliciously indulgent, grown-up chocolate and burnt butterscotch cake looks really impressive and is definitely worth the effort


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp mixed with 120ml water instant coffee
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp  buttermilk
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g  plain flour
  • ¼ tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g  golden caster sugar
  • 25g  cocoa powder
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 90g butter
  • 400ml double cream
  • 250ml mascarpone
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur


    1. Butter and line the base of a 19cm x 7cm deep springform cake tin. Break the chocolate into a pan, add the butter and coffee mixture and warm through over a low heat until it melts together. Beat the eggs in a bowl until they slightly thicken, then stir in the buttermilk. Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cocoa into another mixing bowl.
    2. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Pour the chocolate and egg mixtures into the flour mixture, and stir until everything is mixed and smooth. Pour this into the prepared tin and bake for 1½ hours in the oven, or until a skewer pushed in comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut horizontally into three discs.
    3. For the butterscotch cream, melt the caster sugar in a small saucepan until it starts to caramelise, then leave a little longer until it starts to turn a ruby red colour. Watch it carefully – you don’t want it to burn. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the brown sugar and butter, followed by 100ml of the cream in a thin stream, while still whisking. Return to the heat and bring to a foamy boil for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved and there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
    4. Beat the remaining double cream with the vanilla extract and coffee liqueur to soft peak stage, then fold in the mascarpone and ¾ of the burnt butterscotch mixture.
    5. Spread each layer of cake with butterscotch cream and sandwich them together. Heat the remaining butterscotch really gently in a pan (or in the microwave) until it’s just runny enough to drizzle, but not too warm or the cream will melt.
    6. Top the cake with the reserved burnt butterscotch sauce, allowing some to fall down the sides.