I love baking cakes, and usually plan to bake the cake before the day it is being served and decorating on the day.

My sister just turned 20! She loves to do make up, so I thought – why not make a birthday cake with a Sephora makeup theme – her favorite! It wasn’t a total surprise for her as she came back from college much sooner than I thought. Thankfully I hadn’t put on the decorations yet and it was just a cake covered in marshmallow fondant that I thought looked really ugly. I ended up tearing off the fondant, and giving it a new coat of chocolate buttercream frosting. The second round look was much better!

Sephora cake

Serves 15 inch-thick slices
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of boiling water
To make the decorations:

Make black marshmallow fondant by following a marshmallow fondant recipe. When the marshmallows are melted add cocoa powder, 1/4 cup at a time, until it is a dark brown colour, then add black food colouring, and begin adding the powdered sugar, then continue to follow the recipe.

To bake the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF convection bake

2. Grease and flour 4, 9-inch cake pans with a removable base (you can use one cake pan like I did, but you just have to wait for each cake to bake, then remove from the oven, cool slightly, and then re-grease and flour the pan)

3. In a large bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and instant coffee granules

4. Add the eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil and mix until the batter is smooth

5. While mixing, slowly add in the boiling water, about 1/8th cup (2 tablespoons) at a time

6. Divide the batter into 4 and pour each portion into the prepared pans

7. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean

8. Allow the cakes to cool, then level them and brush a simple syrup (1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup sugar brought to a boil) over each of the layers on the cut side

9. Wrap the cakes in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and freeze over night

To assemble the cake:

1. Put 1 tablespoon of the chocolate buttercream onto the cake board and put the first layer of cake on it (this is to hold the cake in place)

2. Spread a 1 cm thick layer of buttercream then put another layer of cake on it, repeat with the rest of the layers

3. Spread the buttercream over the whole cake

4. Add the decorations

5. Enjoy!