Sunday, 26 January 2014

Chocolate Chocolate Birthday Cake

I do this thing where if I like something, that’s all I like to eat, do, make, listen to, watch, etc, etc. When it comes to baking, I’m obsessed with cake toppers that use skewers such as bunting, flags, ribbons, and pinwheels. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve decorated my cakes with them over the past 6 months. And I’ve been collecting them on Pinterest.

Anyway, my colleague’s big birthday was approaching and we wanted to give her a cake to celebrate. I noticed that she likes chocolate – in fact, for the past two cookies exchanges that I’ve hosted at work, she’s made chocolate goodies – so I knew that I had to make her a chocolate cake. I turned to my go-to chocolate cake recipe, but halved it to make a mini-cake.

But what about frosting options? There are so many! I love a vanilla frosting on a chocolate cake, but for a chocolate lover, I had to go with chocolate frosting. And a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, at that. Not to mention raspberry jam in the middle. AND most importantly, ribbon cake toppers!!

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Chocolate Cake
I halved this recipe and baked in it in two, 5-inch cake pans for about 35-40 minutes. This is my go-to recipe for chocolate cake from Sweetapolita.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from here.

3 large egg whites
¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup butter, cubed, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
75 grams dark/bittersweet chocolate

1.  Place egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Beat continuously by hand until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
2.  With a stand mixer, beat mixture with a whisk until stiff and glossy (about 5 minutes). Mixture should be at room temperature before moving onto the next step.
3.  Switch to a beater attachment and beat in cubes of butter one at a time. Beat on high until smooth (may take 15 minutes).
4.  In the meantime, place chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until melted. Take off heat and cool near to room temperature.
5.  Once buttercream is smooth, add salt and vanilla and beat to mix.
6.  Dump melted chocolate into the buttercream and beat until completely blended, scraping down the sides every once in a while.
*If the buttercream is really soft, place in fridge for 15 minutes to stiffen.

1.  Slice cake layers in half. Place first layer on cake plate and spread with raspberry jam.
2.  Top with next layer and continue to repeat to end with the final cake layer.
3.  Add a crumb coat to the entire cake with the buttercream and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Smooth with a spatula dipped in hot water.
4.  Pipe designs and add sprinkles.


Verdict: The cake turned our really moist – maybe a tad too moist – but everyone seemed to like it, so that’s good! The birthday girl (woman?) was really surprised and happy!

I used baking strips around my cake pans, which made them reeeally moist for some reason. It worked really well for white cakes, but in the future, I might not use them for chocolate cakes.

Another thing that I learned is that my piping skills are rusty. It’s time to practice more!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Candy Cake

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Did you have enough desserts? Well get ready for more!

For my friend’s birthday, I wanted to make her a cake covered in candies. I’ve had this idea for a while because she loves candy! So why not cover a cake with the tons of the stuff she loves?? In my case, it would be a cake covered in bread. Mmm, b...r…e…a…d. The other day, someone asked me what my guilty pleasure was that I couldn’t say no to, and I realized it was bread. In fact, skip the cake, just give me a loaf of bread (it can be shaped like a cake).

Anyways, this year my friend was having a tea party to celebrate the big day. Last year she had a sleepover (remember this) and the year before I made a fruit topped cake. Yay tea party! How refined!

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Vanilla Cake
Feel free to use your favorite vanilla cake recipe. I used this one and baked it in 3 6-inch cake pans.

White Buttercream Frosting
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup milk
¼ cup marshmallow fluff

Add all ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer with a beater attachment and beat on a lower speed until somewhat combined. Increase speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Ready for candy.

1.  Fill cakes with your choice of jam. I used black currant.
2.  Apply a crumb coat and place in freezer for 5 minutes.
3.  Apply another coat of frosting and smooth with a spatula dipped in hot water.
4.  Got to town with candies!!!

Verdict: Nailed it! This cake was so fun and easy to make and the candy options were endless! The birthday girl loved it – as I used her favorite candies. Here’s a picture of us that evening.