i heart cake

Archive for February 2009

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

After another busy month i was a little relieved to hear that the challenge for February was relatively easy. I’ve made flourless chocolate cake before but the flour was usually replaced with almond meal or a similar substance. Not this one. It was really just chocolate, eggs and butter! Thankfully i had a friend visit the night i was making it and he, along with my husband managed to eat the whole thing to themselves. I was happy to just have a mouthful, so i could taste it but that was enough for me.

The second half of the challenge was to make ice-cream. I must admit i did not do this (again, time restrictions) but i did pair it with bought vanilla ice-cream (Peter’s – the best in my opinion). I think the cake needed the ice-cream, just to break up the huge chocolate hit.

Chocolate Valentino - A flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Valentino - A flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Valentino

  • 454 grams of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated

Method

  1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
  2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
  3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry). 
  5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
  6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
  7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. 
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
  10. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet. 
  11. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Another great workshop by Planet Cake. This time it was Novelty 102 where we made an island complete with a cute little pirate and treasure chest. I’m not sure if this was easier than Novelty 101, or if it was because my skills are improving but it certainly was still a lot of fun and i got to have a go at airbrushing which was surprisingly easy.

The island was made out of chocolate mud and the rest out of fondant (except the gold coins, they were bought and contained chocolate in them). For me, i think the hardest part was sculpting the island but i got there eventually!

Island with Pirate Cake

Island with Pirate Cake

Close up

Close up

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As well as making a cake for my birthday, i also made cupcakes. Because a girl just can’t have one or the other (and admittedly it was a backup plan incase my cake didn’t turn out!)

Coconut cupcakes

Coconut cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 125 grams butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Method 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C fan forced)
  2. Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  4. Stir in the coconut, then sifted flour and milk
  5. Divide mixture among cases and smooth surfaces
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked
  7. Cool cupcakes on wire racks
  8. Decorate cupcakes however you please – I used white chocolate ganache and covered with fondant and silver cachous
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Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. TWENTY-NINE. Didn’t i just turn 21?

 

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

A couple of Saturdays ago i tottled off to my first ever cake decorating course at Planet Cake. Their cakes are one of the best in the business so i figured if i want to make cakes as outstanding as theirs, i’d better learn from the best. Their courses aren’t cheap (i’ll be the first to admit that) but they are very, very worthwhile.

Initially, i wanted to enrol into their Basics series (meaning classic shapes and designs) however i was a little too slow and the course dates i wanted had booked out. After speaking to Paris, the owner of Planet Cakes, she advised that i could enrol into the Novelty series and then pick up Basics later on. This suited me fine, it meant that i would learn different shapes and probably walk away with more skills as i was constructing harder shapes.

The first course for the novelty series was the circus tent and clown cake. When i first saw the cake i thought there was no way we were going to be finishing this cake in a day! It looked so complex and detailed, but of course, we did and looking back now i still can’t believe i actually made the cake.

We started off with a square block of cake (marble mud – yum) and had to sculpt it to a circle shape. With the extra pieces, we used that to build the pointy top. We also used chocolate ganache to stick all the bits and pieces together. It was cool, like having edible glue 🙂

 

Cake shaped like a tent

Cake shaped like a tent

The next step was to ganache the whole cake and make it as smooth as possible. Each and every lump should be removed otherwise you’ll have uneven fondant when you finally put it on.

 

Ganached till silky and smooth

Ganached till silky and smooth

After ganaching, you’ll need to let it set. We used this time to head off to lunch. After the ganache has set, it’s time to apply the fondant. Before applying the fondant, we brushed the whole cake with a syrup. This acted as a glue so the fondant would stick to the cake.

 

Decorating with fondant

Decorating with fondant

Then it was just a matter of adding decorating the tent and making the clown. It was amazing to see how with the right tools all the wonderful things you could do (and so easily).

 

Finished cake!

Finished cake!

I’m excited to say i’m booked into Novelty 102 where i’ll be making a mermaid cake. I’ll be sure to post photos once i’m done! 🙂

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Baking cakes for my work colleagues is one thing, baking cakes for a friends special event is a whole new ball game. I was given quite a few weeks notice to make my friend A’s christening cake however as i’d never covered a cake with ganache and fondant before i was very nervous.

Now that the event is over and it’s all been done i’m pleased to say it went very well. I know it’s not perfect but for my first attempt i’m pretty happy with it 🙂

 

Chocolate Mud Christening Cake

Chocolate Mud Christening Cake

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