This festive chocolate cake was created as part of a paid partnership with Tala Cooking.

If you’re looking for the ultimate showstopper this festive season, this cake not only tastes amazing but looks it too! This festive chocolate cake is made up of three separate components. Firstly, there are three layers of rich chocolate sponge made with real dark chocolate and Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Secondly, the creamy eggnog custard filling adds depth, flavoured with Baileys Irish cream and grated nutmeg. Thirdly, a glossy chocolate ganache is poured over for the ultimate sheen and divine bittersweet chocolate hit.

Festive chocolate cake

Can I prepare this festive chocolate cake ahead of time?

Yes! This cake is great because you can prep the layers and filling in advance, and assemble on the day. Here’s the timeline to follow:

48hrs before serving this festive chocolate cake

Make the chocolate sponges. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack once removed from the oven, then wrap tightly in clingfilm and keep in an airtight container until ready to assemble.

24hrs before serving this festive chocolate cake

This is when you can make the eggnog custard filling. Either store overnight in a large bowl, sealed completely with plastic wrap, or pour into a ziplock plaster bag and place in the fridge.

Once the festive chocolate cake is served

Once assembled, this cake with keep for around 3-4 days in the fridge. Cover well or place in an airtight container.

Festive chocolate cake

What can I do with leftover egg whites?

If you’ve separated your eggs rather than buying cartoned egg yolks, there are a few ways to use them up!

  1. It’s possible to freeze leftover egg whites in a freezer bag. Simply mark the bag with the date and the number of whites leftover (in this case, four – or if you’re using medium eggs, five) and use within 3 months.
  2. You can easily make mini pavlovas with the leftover whites. Check out my meringue tips here.
Festive chocolate cake

Ingredients and alternatives

  • Flour: I always recommend using plain flour where stated, and adding leaveners as directed.
  • Chocolate: choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70% or above. I use 80% in this recipe to compliment the sweetness of the sugars.
  • Cocoa powder: to achieve a rich, complex flavour, Dutch-processed cocoa powder is best. However, regular cocoa powder will also do. Don’t use hot chocolate mixtures as these already have sugars and milk powders added and will result in a cake that’s far too sweet.
  • Butter: using unsalted butter gives you more control to add salt as you wish. I always recommend choosing butter that’s made from unadulterated butter fats, and not “spreads” or margarines. These are made of a mixture of oils and fats, which won’t create a fluffy sponge.
  • Vanilla extract: extract, essence and vanilla bean paste can be used interchangeably.
  • Double cream: whipping cream is also a great alternative for this recipe. Single creams won’t whip to stiff peaks, so these can’t be used to make the custard for this cake.
  • Eggs: for the cake, you can use 2 medium eggs instead of large. For the custard, use 5 medium eggs instead of 4 large eggs.
  • Baileys Irish cream: rum and bourbon are also great choices for this recipe. Alternatively, to make this cake booze-free, omit the alcohol completely. The nutmeg will give the custard a beautiful festive flavour anyway!
  • Sugars: caster sugar can be used in place of golden caster sugar, and light muscovado sugar can be used in place of the light brown sugar if needed.
  • Greek yoghurt: buttermilk, kefir, crème fraîche or sour cream would also be good alternatives if you don’t have Greek yoghurt to hand.
  • Milk: using whole milk – especially in chocolate cakes – gives them a rich, creamier flavour. If you prefer to use semi-skimmed, that will also suffice and won’t affect your bake.
Festive chocolate cake
Festive Chocolate Cake

Festive Chocolate Cake

A rich chocolate layer cake filled with eggnog custard cream, and finished with a shiny chocolate ganache glaze.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12 people


For the cake

  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder Dissolved in 250ml boiling water
  • 150 g dark chocolate at least 70% or above
  • 250 g unsalted butter cubed
  • 50 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder or regular cocoa powder will do!
  • 200 g golden caster sugar
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280 g plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the eggnog custard

  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream Rum and bourbon would also work nicely
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg finely grated

For the chocolate ganache

  • 200 g dark chocolate at least 70% or above
  • 300 ml double cream


For the cake

  • Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F. Grease and line the sides and bottom of each of your 20cm Tala spingform tins.
  • Place the coffee and water, chocolate and butter into a large bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove. Heat gently until everything melts.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder (sifted) along with the sugars. Using a balloon whisk, or spatula, whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.
  • Add your eggs, whisking again until thick and smooth. The mixture may seize a little but bear with. Add your Greek yoghurt and vanilla extract, and mix again. Then sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Divide the batter equally among 
the 3 tins. You can do this by weighing out the batter or eyeballing it. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave for 
5-10 minutes, before releasing the spring and turning the cakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the eggnog custard

  • Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan gently over a low heat. In a medium heatproof bowl, use 
a whisk to beat the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks until thick and creamy, and there are no lumps remaining.
  • Once the milk is steaming (you don't want it to simmer or boil!), slowly pour the milk mixture into your eggs and whisk everything together until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture back into your saucepan and turn the heat down to it's lowest setting. Heat for approximately 5-10 minutes, whisking all the time until the custard starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • Once the custard has cooled, use an electric whisk to beat the double cream to stiff peaks. Remove any skin from the custard then spoon it into a large bowl. Using the balloon whisk again, whisk until it's smooth then add the whipped cream, Baileys and grated nutmeg. Chill in the fridge for ~15 minutes.

To assemble the cake

  • When the cakes are cool, put a cake based on your turntable and place one sponge on top. Spread over half the eggnog custard and top with another sponge layer, spreading the remaining filling over this cake. Top with the final sponge.

For the chocolate ganache

  • Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Heat until melted.
    N.B. Be sure to not let the bowl touch the water.
  • Warm the double cream in a saucepan until it's steaming, then turn 
off the heat. Gradually but vigorously whisk the cream into the chocolate. It will begin to seize and "firm up" a little but this will result in a glossy ganache. If it feels too stiff, add a dash of boiling water and beat again.
  • Begin to pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake, using a palette knife to smooth it out across the top and the sides of the cake.
  • Once you're happy with your cake, remove the base from the turntable and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Sift some icing sugar over your cake to serve and decorate with miniature trees and woodland creatures.


This recipe uses the following from Tala Cooking’s range:
  • 3 x 20cm Tala Performance Spingform Cake Tins
  • Tala Indigo and Ivory Corn Design 30cm Mixing Bowl
  • Tala Wood Handle Icing Spatula
  • Tala Set 5 Measuring Spoons
  • Tala Silicone Spoon Spatula with Wooden Handle
  • Tala Tilting Icing Turntable
You can find all equipment by Tala Cooking here.
Keyword baileys, cake, chocolate, christmas, custard, eggnog, festive, layer cake

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December 15, 2021
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