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Chocolate Birthday Cake & Free West Papua Campaign

Wednesday was something of a big day for H.K. Not only was it her birthday, but she was also holding a meeting at the Scottish Parliament about the Free West Papua Campaign.  H.K. is pretty good at organising events, and at encouraging others to play their part in supporting justice campaigns. She just has this incredible gentle quality to her, even when tired and frustrated, she somehow managed to invite you into a more compassionate way of being.

Fresh…or rather exhausted…from their meeting at parliament, H.K. and T., with their friends Benny, Maria, Serogo and Marten. Over birthday cake, they shared with us their story, songs and laughter. West Papua is under brutal military occupation, with devastating human rights and ecological abuses. Benny, a West Papuan independence leader and chairman of the Koteka Tribal Assembly, was arrested and tortured, for the ‘crime’ of peacefully campaigning for the freedom of his people. He now lives in exile in Britain, campaigning here to draw attention to the West Papuan situation.  There are still terrible human rights abuses and ecological devastation occurring in West Papua; you can read more about the situation and how to support the Free West Papua campaign here.

The Lani Singers are also performing at The Lot on Sunday at 2pm. After the live preview in our living room today, I can say that they are excellent.  If you are in Edinburgh, come along on Sunday. This is their MySpace if you need more persuading.

We had a great afternoon with them, and a surprisingly good chocolate cake. I’m not the greatest fan of chocolate cake, but this one has persuaded me to change my mind. It is very moist, and very chocolately, without feeling painfully rich. The chocolate ganache is a smooth, luxurious, glossy icing and you just can’t help but dip your fingers into the bowl. I think it might be too much to cover the entire cake with, but was great smoothed on top and drizzled over the sides, with the strawberries just peeking out. Unfortunately, I really only got a chance to take pictures after we had all enjoyed a slice…but at least half a cake shows it was popular.

Double Chocolate Birthday Cake

Recipe from here and here. This is meant to make 2 10 inch circular pans, but I only had 9 inch pans. It worked fine, just very thick layers so a slightly longer cooking time.


85g good quality chocolate

360ml hot coffee

600g caster sugar

312g plain flour

190g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon powder

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

160ml vegetable oil

360ml butter milk

¾ teaspoon vanilla


1)   Preheat oven to 350F, 170 C.

2)   Chop the chocolate finely, and add to the hot coffee. Let stand so that the chocolate melts, and then stir until smooth.

3)   In a large bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer, or in a stand mixer. Beat until lemon coloured and thickened (about 3 minutes with a stand mixer, 5 minutes for a handheld mixer)

4)   Add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate-coffee gradually to mixture and beat until well combined.

5)   In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mix, and beat until combined.

6)   Divide batter between cake pans and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a tester in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

7)   Let cakes cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans, then let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

This makes enough to fill and ice the whole cake. As I just went for filling and topping, I have a bowl of chocolate frosting in my fridge. Very dangerous.


450g dark or semisweet chocolate

240ml double cream

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

56 grams butter


1)   Finely chop chocolate.

2)   Heat the double cream, sugar and light corn syrup in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisk until sugar has dissolved.

3)   Remove bowl from heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth.

4)   Whisk in the butter until smooth.

5)   Chill to thicken the ganache. I didn’t have time to chill it, hence the slightly more drizzled effort.


One comment on “Chocolate Birthday Cake & Free West Papua Campaign

  1. […] to overestimate when making ganache). If you are looking for a good ganache recipe to start with, this one from the chocolate birthday cake is great, and was the one that I was working […]

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