For the sponges
- 250g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
- 250g light brown sugar
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 75g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp milk
For the filling
- 350g tub Renshaw Chocolate Ganache
For the caramel popcorn
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 15g ready-made salted popcorn
For the mascarpone icing
- 75g butter, at room temperature
- 100g icing sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 500g light mascarpone
- 6 tbsp Macphie Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 Happy Birthday cake topper, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and lightly grease the base and sides of three 20cm Loose-Based Sandwich Tins.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is incorporated before adding the next. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then fold in the milk until you have a light batter.
- Divide the mixture between the three cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen and springy. Remove the cakes from the oven, leave in the tins for 5 minutes to cool then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the caramel popcorn, melt the sugar in a saucepan on a medium-high heat, without stirring. Once it starts to pool, swirl the pan to melt the remaining sugar. Once you have a golden, runny syrup, remove the pan and stir in 2 tablespoons of water. Return to the heat and melt any clumps that have formed. Stir in the popcorn to coat, pour onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment, and leave to cool.
- For the mascarpone icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until creamy, then mix in the cocoa powder and mascarpone until combined.
- On a cake stand or icing turntable, layer up the cake. Spread the top of the first sponge with a thick layer of ganache, using half of the tub. Repeat with another layer of sponge and the remaining ganache, then top with the third sponge.
- Cover the sides and top of the cake with the mascarpone icing mix, using a palette knife for a smooth finish.
- Pour the salted caramel sauce into a squeezy sauce bottle and, working around the top edge of the cake, drizzle a pooling border of sauce that drips down the sides. Top your cake with the toffee popcorn, and add the happy birthday topper, if using.