180°C, 350°F, Gas mark 4
Prep: 2-3 hours, Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
Serves 10

Ingredients for the sponge

175g (6oz) plain chocolate 90ml (6tbsp) Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
175g (6oz) margarine 175g (6oz) caster sugar
6 eggs (medium), separated 75g (2 ¾ oz) self raising flour, sifted
75g (2 ¾ oz) ground almonds

Ingredients for the ganache

225g (8oz) plain chocolate 250ml (9fl oz) double cream
2 egg yolks (medium) 25g (1oz) caster sugar
45ml (3tbsp) Tia Marie or other coffee liqueur

Ingredients for the white icing

675g (1 ½lb) icing sugar 25g (1oz) butter, melted
75ml (5bsp) milk 200g pack white chocolate

Ingredients for optional holly leaves

50g plain chocolate 50g white chocolate

Grease and line a 23cm (9") deep loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Melt the chocolate with the Tia Maria in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Cream the margarine with the sugar until light anf fluffly, then gradually beat in the egg yolks. Cool the melted chocolate slightly and beat into the egg mixture.

Fold in the flour and almonds. Whisk the egg whites and fold into the sponge mixture with a metal spoon.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. (To make sure that the cake is cooked, insert a small knife or metal skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean it is cooked). Leave the cake to cool before removing from the tin.

To make the ganache, melt the chocolate with half of the cream in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and add to the chocolate mixture. Add the remaining cream, and allow to cool.

Cut the cake carefully into 3 even horizontal slices. Brush one side of each slice with 15ml (1tbsp) Tia Maria and spread with the ganache. Layer together.

To make the white icing, mix together all the ingredients, except the chocolate, until smooth and spreadable, adding a little more milk if it is too thick. Spread over the top and sides of the cake, making sure it is completely covered.

Coarsely grate the chocolate and place in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. Coat the cake with the grated chocolate.

To make the holly leaf decorations, line a baking tray with waxed paper. Melt the plain and white chocolate separately and pour into two piping bags. Pipe the plain chocolate onto the waxed paper to make the outlines of sixteen holly leaves and leave to set. Fill in the shapes with the white chocolate and, while it is still runny, pipe on more of the plain chocolate to create the veins of the leaves. Leave to set and then decorate the cake.