12 portions

Ready In:

2 1/2 hours


Good For:

Celebration cake.


  • 220g plain flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 90g soft brown sugar
  • 65g cocoa
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g sour cream
  • 130ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 lemon-juice only
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 110ml vegetable oil
  • 120ml hot water

Toasted Pecan Filling

  • 180g shredded coconut
  • 120g pecan nuts
  • 190g soft brown sugar
  • 110g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 can of evaporated milk (240-250ml)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 80ml cream

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 80g dark chocolate-melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1tsp golden syrup
  • 220g butter-room temperature
  • 400g icing sugar-sifted
  • 65ml cream
  • 40g cocoa-sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 1tsp vanilla






Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Grease and line the base of two  23-25cm diameter cake tins. Preheat an oven to 175°C.

Please note that the pictures above are of gateaux I made for 20 people using 1.5 recipes.

Step 2

In a large bowl, sift together flour, caster sugar, salt, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and coffee.

In a second bowl whisk together eggs, oil, brown sugar, lemon juice, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla and hot water. 

Mix the egg mixture through the dry ingredients and mix together using a spatula, not a whisk. Whisking will firm up the cake due to gluten development.

 Step 3

When the mixture is fully combined and dropping consistency, divide the mixture evenly among the two cake tins. Smooth flat with a spoon.

Place into the oven and bake for 30-33mins, turn the cakes around after 20mins. Remove from the oven once cooked. Place a skewer into the cake and it’ll come out clean when cooked. Keep the oven on for cooking the pecans and coconut for the filling.

Place cakes onto a cooling rack for 10mins and then remove them from the tin but not the base (if using spring form tins).

After a further 10mins, remove the base from each but keep the cakes on the greaseproof lining. Place the cooling rack and cakes into a fridge to cool.  

Step 4

To make the filling bake pecan nuts and coconut on a tray until lightly golden brown. Bake on separate trays. This should take 5mins. 

Remove and cool. Reserve some nuts for decoration and roughly chop the rest. 

In a pot over medium to high heat bring evaporated milk, butter, egg yolks and brown sugar to a boil. Boil for 3mins, remove from heat and then stir through chopped pecans, toasted coconut (save some for decoration), vanilla and cream. Mix together with a wooden spoon and then pour into a bowl to cool. Stir every so often while cooling. 

Step 5

To make the chocolate buttercream beat the butter until creamy in a stand mixer, this will take 5 mins.

Remove the paddles and stir through the rest of the ingredients and beat until it’s glossy and shiny.

If you want to do this in the mixer, start on a very slow speed.

Cover with glad wrap and place into the fridge to firm a little.

Step 6

Remove the cakes from the fridge and carefully lift the greaseproof lining.

Using a serrated knife, cut each cake into two pieces- horizontally. The base from each cake will be the first and last layer but upside down with the crust on top.

  Step 7

Place the base from one cake onto a board (cake board) upside down with the crust pointing up. 

Using a palette knife spread the pecan filling evenly across the cake, and use one-quarter of the filling on each layer.

Spread the mixture to the edges and warm the palette knife under hot water and wipe dry, if wanting a smooth finish. Apply an even pressure and check to see if the cake is flat by looking down and across the cake layer. 

  Step 8

Place the top from one of the cakes upside down onto the pecan filling layer. If the cakes had a risen top, cut the top from the cakes before using.

Spread another quarter of the pecan filling evenly and to the edges of the cake. Smooth off with a warm and dry palette knife.

Place the other top piece of cake onto the pecan filling layer. Spread a quarter of the pecan filling over and then place the final piece of cake upside down onto the pecan filling.

Step 9

Use the final quarter of pecan filling to fill in the gaps on the edges of the gateaux. Smooth off the pecan filling and if you run out and need more simply use the chocolate buttercream to complete the edges. Place into a fridge to cool for 15mins. 

Step 10

Remove the gateaux from the fridge and start with the edges and use a cake turntable if you have one, coat the outside of the gateaux using a large metal cake scraper or palette knife.

Spread the buttercream quite thick and then scrape smooth. Scraping will remove a lot of the buttercream each time. Take your time to maximise the effect.

After the sides, palette and smooth off more buttercream for the top. Warm the scraper or knife to assist with a smooth finish.

Garnish with pecan nuts and toasted coconut. Chill for 30mins before serving. 

If you need any assistance just flick me a message and I’ll guide you through. 

When making this cake, why not post a picture to #familykitchenwithmark

Happy baking

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