Liquorice Allsorts Cake (with Chocolate Fudge Frosting)

 

 

 

This recipe for Liquorice Allsorts cake was originally published on my former blog, The Culinary Jumble, in March 2017. The recipe remains the same (although I have added the option of using spelt flour), and some of the images have been updated. 

Liquorice is the Marmite of the sweetie world, and there isn’t a middle ground when it comes to the stuff – it’s love or loathing.

Me? Well, I fall into the sensible group: the loathers. Seriously though, each to their own. Given my dislike of liquorice, you may be a little confused as to why I would choose to bake with it. Well, it wasn’t my choice. It was my other half’s birthday a few weeks ago, and liquorice is really his thing. I mean scoffing a whole bag in less than 30 seconds kind of thing.

So, being the kind and utterly selfless person I am (really), I decided to make him a chocolate cake with Liquorice Allsorts.

 

What are Liquorice Allsorts?

Brits will instantly recognise the decoration for this cake as Liquorice Allsorts, a peculiar confectionary originating in the UK.

Unlike the origins of a lot of food, the history behind Liquorice Allsorts is pretty certain. The sweets have been made by the established British confectionary brand Bassett’s since the end of the 19th century. George Bassett set up a sweetie factory in Sheffield, nothern England, where they manufactured many different kinds of  liquorice. Apparently, one day there was an unfortunate mishap, and someone accidentally dropped the sweets, causing them to be jumbled up together. And, Liquorice Allsorts were born. 

Liquorice Allsorts are a bright collection of sweets, all with liquorice at the centre. And they also come with some pretty wacky names. There are jelly buttons (aka spogs), which are chewy liquorice covered in bright pink or blue nonpareils. Then there’s liquorice petit fours, which is liquorice sandwiched in between flavoured soft candy. My favourites were coconut rolls, a delicate, delicious coconut surrounding a piece of liquorice. Although I didn’t like liquorice as a child, I clearly remember nibbling off the pink coconut outer layer before discarding the nasty liquorice. 

Although the original Liquorice Allsorts were originally made by Bassett’s, it seems that a whole host of similar sweets now exist spanning many different countries. Here in Sweden (who are the ultimate liquorice lovers) they also have a version. Of course they can’t call them Liquorice Allsorts (a trademark), and tend to go by a generic Allsorts.

 

Licorice or liquorice?

No, I haven’t misspelled liquorice: that’s how us Brits spell it. Actually, it’s pretty annoying to try to type the British version in while writing this post, as WordPress keeps attempting to persuade me to write licorice. The origins of the word are Anglo-French (lycorys). The most common pronunciation seems to be with a weird sh sound at the end: lick-err-ish.  However, in Scotland, they pronounce it as it is written: lick-er-iss

So, now we’ve got the lowdown on Liquorice Allsorts, where were we? Oh yes, I don’t like liquorice (did you pick up on that?), and because of this, fully anticipated not eating any of this cake.  Yep. Can you imagine? Making a cake but not eating any yourself. A chocolate cake, at that. Torture doesn’t come close.

 

 

As it happens, no self-inflicted torture was necessary. The lure of chocolate cake, even one flavoured with liquorice, was just too hard to resist. And boy, I am glad I was so weak. After flinging the candy off the top in the direction of the liquorice lover (because I have my limits), I gingerly tried a nibble of cake (hah, right. I don’t do anything gingerly and nibble is not in my vocabulary).

Taking a deep bite, and one for the team, I was pleasantly surprised. A second mouthful later and I was extolling the virtues of liquorice to anyone who would listen. Make no mistake, the liquorice flavour was there, but it was so mild that all it did was give the cake a gorgeous, unusual taste.

 

Alternatives to liquorice cake

That said, if you don’t like liquorice, p’raps it’s best you looked for an alternative. Don’t panic, though. No need to miss out on cake. Try this chocolate overload cake or my classic spelt chocolate fudge cake instead – it’s the same chocolate cake recipe, but without a hint of liquorice. Result!

 

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Liquorice Allsorts Cake (with Chocolate Fudge Frosting)

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 280g ( 2 cups) flour (see note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar/essence
  • 80g (1 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 300g (1½ cups) white sugar
  • 90g (½ cup) brown sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 180ml (¾ cup) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 45g ( ½ cup) chopped liquorice-flavoured chocolate (see note 2)
  • 250ml (1 cup) hot brewed coffee (see note 3)

Frosting:

  • 100g (3½ oz) butter
  • 100g (3½ oz) cream cheese
  • 100-200g 1-2 cups icing sugar (confectioners'/powdered sugar)
  • 50g (½ cup) cocoa
  • 70g (¾ cup) chopped liquorice-flavoured chocolate (see note 2 )

Decoration:

  • Liquorice Allsorts (or any other kind of liquorice candy)

Instructions

Cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (230°F) and line or grease two 8 inch pans.
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, vanilla sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the white and brown sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, oil and eggs until well combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together. Add the chopped chocolate.
  • Finally, slowly add the coffee or hot water (it should be recently boiled) and stir until everything comes together. Don't overmix, there will still be a few lumps left in the batter (also note that the batter is supposed to be runny, so don't panic!).
  • Divide between the two prepared pans as equally as you can and then bake side by side for around 30-35 minutes. The cakes are ready when they bounce back when gently pushed on the top, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in the pans for around 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Frosting:

  • Beat the butter and cream cheese together until nice and smooth (I used a food processor).
  • Sift 100g (1 cup) icing sugar and cocoa together and beat it in. Add more icing sugar as needed until you have a thick, spreadable consistency.
  • Finally, add the chopped chocolate and stir in.

Assembly:

  • On the flat side of one of the cakes, smooth over around ¼ of the frosting.
  • Place the second cake on top and cover the sides and top with the remaining icing. If you wanted, you could crumb coat the cake, but I didn't bother this time. You don't need tons of frosting, just enough for the candy to stick to. Too much and the sweets will sink in and be covered by frosting.
  • I used whole Liquorice Allsorts on top of the cake and chopped up some others and stuck them to the side.
  • Pop in the fridge for a while just to allow the frosting to harden so the candy stays in place, then enjoy!

Notes

Please note: I use metric system of measurements for my recipes (grams and millilitres). I've converted those ingredients to cups using online resources, but as I have not made the cake myself, results can't be guaranteed if you bake the cake using them. 
1. This cake was made with regular flour. However, since writing the recipe back in 2017, I now use spelt flour in all of my cake recipes. Therefore, you can do a straight swap with spelt flour. For the sake of transparency: I have not made this recipe using spelt flour.
2.  I used chocolate flavoured with liquorice for a milder taste. If you love liquorice, use regular milk chocolate but add a touch of liquorice extract/essence instead.
3.  If you don't have brewed coffee, use the same amount of hot water with one or two tablespoons of instant coffee. Or, just use hot water or even milk with no coffee (although coffee really does accentuate the chocolate flavour).

 

 

Liquorice Allsorts Cake (with Chocolate Fudge Frosting)


2 thoughts on “Liquorice Allsorts Cake (with Chocolate Fudge Frosting)”

  • Unfortunately this cake was a complete flop!!!
    I’m wondering if their is a typo with the amount of sugar in the recipe? One and a half cups of brown sugar and over four cups of white sugar doesn’t sound right to me? Nevermind I quickly whipped up another cake from tried and tested New Zealand Edmondsons Cook Book

    • Hi Zoe,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I included the correct amount of both brown and white sugar in grams (90g and 400g respectively). However, when updating the recipe recently to include cups, I forgot to add cups for white sugar, and incorrectly gave 1.5 cups for brown. As I didn’t include any cup measurement for the white sugar, I am a little confused as to why you used 4 cups. However, it is possible that you misread 400g as 4 cups.

      The recipe calls for 400g white sugar (1.5 cups) and 90g brown sugar (0.5 cups), and I’ve now amended the recipe to make the cup measurements clearer.

      I am so sorry that the recipe was a flop, but awesome that you had a tried and tested back up!

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