I'm taking part my office bake-off and needed to come up with a suitably epic cake to enter into it.

After some research, I found this tutorial for a Portal Cake by The Geeky Chef: http://www.geekychef.com/2010/09/delicious-and-moist-cake.html

As the recipe used US measurements and ingredients, one of the most time-consuming parts of the project was converting it into grams and finding UK versions of the ingredients featured, so I've put this tutorial together using ingredients that you can get from most UK supermarkets.

Although the cake itself is pretty ambitious this tutorial is suitable for complete newbies - I haven't baked in about 8 years and was figuring out most of the techniques used in the recipe from scratch, and have included tips on anything that went wrong.

A couple words of warning: this cake isn't exactly cheap - the cherry liquor alone was £8 and the recipe uses most of the bottle. You'll also need two free evenings (or an entire day) to complete it: one for the baking and one for decorating it after it cools.

Also, after baking one as a trial run I couldn't be bothered doing it all again for the actual bake off. I'll be posting another Instructable soon of the next cake I tried: a peach pie with laser cut icing.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Ingredients for the cake:

- 213g Plain Flour
- 85g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (eg Bourneville, Green & Black's or anything made from 100% cocoa)
- 1 and a half teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 104g Vegetable Fat (eg Trex)
- 300g Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 242g Buttermilk

Ingredients for the filling, topping and icing:

- 190ml Kirsch
- 2 tins Black Cherries
- 1.2 litres Double Cream
- 32g Icing Sugar
- 3 tablespoons of the Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 bar Plain Cooking Chocolate (70% cocoa or above)
- 8 Maraschino Cherries


- Two 8-inch cake tins
- Greaseproof Paper
- Scales
- Sieve
- Two large mixing bowls or saucepans
- Colander
- Electric whisk
- Cheese grater

Some tips on ingredients and supplies:

Most of the ingredients are available at Asda: I tried to use the cheapest ingredients possible so Asda's own products are absolutely fine. I had some trouble finding maraschino cherries and eventually found them in the Polish food section. Vegetable fat was in the butter aisle, and the plain chocolate and vanilla extract were in the baking aisle.

The two ingredients they didn't stock were Kirsch and tinned black cherries. I eventually found these in Waitrose after trawling through a few different supermarkets.

Lastly, for the love of God get an electric whisk! Don't let anyone on the internet tell you that you can whip cream by hand: anyone who's actually tried it will tell you to give it up and go buy an electric whisk.
Fantastic - great photos and thanks for converting the measurements. :D
Love it! And it sounds delicious!

About This Instructable


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Bio: Maker and postgrad student researching gender and the maker community at University College London. I live in Brighton by the seaside.
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