Imperial Shuttle Chocolate Cake


  • 20cm square baking tin, greased and lined on the bottom
  • Modelling clay
  • Cake board, black fondant icing, silver shimmer powder


Chocolate Sponge Cake:

  • 350g softened butter
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa power (optional)

Milk Chocolate Ganache (filling and crumb coat):

  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g good quality chocolate (dark or milk as desired)

White Chocolate Ganache (detailing):

  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g good quality white chocolate

Chocolate Mirror Glaze:

  • 150ml double cream
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 3 gelatine leaves

Tempered Chocolate Wings:

  • 500g good quality chocolate


First of all, make the sponge cake.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° (160° fan).
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined, adding a little flour with the eggs.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, and fold into the batter.
  5. Spoon into the prepared tin, and level.
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, removing the lining paper, then
    turn again onto another (so it’s the right way up again), and leave to cool completely.

When completely cooled, the cake can be carefully cut into the elements of the shuttle, as follows.

  1. Cut the cake in half vertically, to be end up with two 20x10cm blocks (A and B).
  2. Cut A half in half vertically again, to end up with two 10cmx10cm blocks (A1, A2).
  3. Cut A1 of these quarters diagonally from back/top to front/bottom, to create the front part (pilot’s cabin).
  4. A2, and the rest of A1 are spare (yum!)
  5. Cut B in half horizontally, to end up with two half-height 20x10cm blocks (B1 and B2)
  6. B1 forms the lower main body of the shuttle.
  7. Cut B2 in half vertically, to end up with two half-height 10cm x 10cm blocks (B2i and B2ii)
  8. B2i forms the upper main body of the shuttle.
  9. Cut B2ii in about half again vertically, then cut off the front part of it diagonally to make the top of the shuttle, which holds the top fin.







At this point I froze these 4 elements, because it was going to be a few days before the next stage.

Step 2 is to assemble the shuttle, and crumb coat with chocolate ganache.

  1. Put the dark/milk chocolate and double cream into a pan.
  2. Heat gently until the chocolate melts, stirring all the while.
  3. Remove from the heat, and pour into a bowl.
  4. Whisk until thick and glossy – this is the ganache.
  5. Put the lower main body on a wire rack on a plastic tray (to catch the excess ganache)
  6. Pour over ganache to coat the top and front (long edge)
  7. Put the upper main body on the lower body, and again pour over the ganache to cover the top and front.
  8. Press the pilot’s cabin against the ganache covered front of the shuttle so it sticks.
  9. Put the top of the shuttle on top of upper main body.
  10. Cover the entire shuttle with ganache, ensuring the tops, sides, and back are all completely covered. You can scrape up the excess from the
    tray to cover any awkward parts if you run out.
  11. Put in the fridge to set.



I saved the excess ganache, and popped it in a piping bag. After a couple of hours, I then piped this to fill up the gap which had opened up between the upper shuttle body and the cabin, and also to pipe two parallel lines of ganache on the very top to held hold up the fin.

Once the ganache has completely set, you can do the mirror glaze.

  1. Put the double cream, caster sugar, cocoa power, and 150ml of water into a pan.
  2. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring all the time.
  3. Bring to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. Leave to cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in a bowl of water for 5 minutes.
  6. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, and stir into the glaze, until dissolved.
  7. Leave the glaze to cool to 38°, then pass through a sieve into a jug.
  8. Put the cake on a wire rack on a tray, then pour over the glaze ensuring the whole thing is covered.
  9. Put the cake in the fridge to set completely.



Now for the wings.

I made these using a DIY chocolate mould, made out of air drying clay.

  1. Roll out a lump of modelling clay to around 3-5mm thickness, forming a 20x30cm rectangle.
  2. Using a sharp pencil, mark out the two wings, and the top fin.
    • Each wing was a cut-off right-angle triangle, with base 60cm, trailing edge 150cm, wingtip 30cm, and the leading edge whatever it needs to be.
    • The fin was a double cut off right angle triangle, with base 80cm, trailing edge 120cm, top 20cm, leading diagonal 120cm, and a short
      ‘backwards’ leading diagonal of about 20cm.
  3. When this was completely dry, use cling-film to fill the inside of the model. I also put clingfilm underneath to help it “cling”.
  4. Temper enough dark or milk chocolate as desired, pour it into the models, and level off with a ruler.
  5. Leave to cool for 30 mins, then put into the fridge to cool.
  6. Carefully remove from the mould.






Assembly and decoration.

  1. Roll out some black fondant icing to cover the cake board.
  2. Use a brush to swirl on a galaxy using silver glimmer, and dust some stars.
  3. Move the glazed cake onto the cake board.
  4. Make a small amount of white chocolate ganache (or just tempered white chocolate), and with a small nozzle pipe
    on the windscreen, and over details.
  5. With a large nozzle (or cut a larger hole), pipe along the sides of the base to glue the wings on.
  6. Push the top fin into the top of the cake, and pipe along it.