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September 18, 2020
I like creating themed birthday cakes for the boys. This year they requested a jungle. Not the quickest to make, and difficult to hide from them. But they were rapturously enthusiastic when they saw it; anticipating a sugar rush too I guess. Oh well, just once a year.
Ingredients:Cake:620g sugar450g plain flour350ml buttermilk330ml tepid water155g cocoa powder120ml vegetable oil4 eggs (beaten)2 tsp vanilla essence1½ tsp baking powder1 tsp bicarbonate of soda1 tsp salt
Chocolate Frosting:(use this in between each cake layer and a thin first layer to the outside)850g icing sugar340g unsalted butter (room temp)225g cream cheese150g cocoa powder3 tsp vanilla essence¼ cup milk
Vanilla frosting: (use this to colour and apply to the outer layer of cake)250g icing sugar80g unsalted butter (room temp)25ml milk2-3 drops vanilla essence
Method: Cake:Preheat oven to 170⁰C (fan). Grease and line springform cake tins. For this birthday cake I made the above quantity of cake and used two 20cm cake tins and two 10cm ones.
Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt in a large bowl and combine all ingredients. Add the eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla and beat on a low speed to incorporate and then turn up to medium. Beat until everything is mixed, (it is quite a wet consistency).
Divide mixture between the prepared trays and place in the oven. Depending on the size of the tins that you use, bake for appx 30-35 mins (less if smaller tins). A skewer inserted should come out clean.
Once ready, take out the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled, you may need to level off the tops of each layer. Frost the cake layer by layer. I did the two bottom layers and then the top two as I then went on to frost the outside of each before placing the smaller section on top of the bottom larger one. Place cakes in the fridge so frosting sets, (this makes it easier to frost the next layer). Choose the colour(s) of frosting that you want and once the first layer of frosting has set, take out the fridge and apply a thin layer of chosen colour, smoothing it over with a palette knife or icing smoother. Put back in the fridge and then repeat again, this time adding any decoration that you chose, (you may need to stick this on with a little of the frosting).
Chocolate Frosting:In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla. Beat to combine and then gradually add the icing sugar. Finally add the milk. The frosting should be thickish.
Vanilla frosting:Beat icing sugar and butter together using the paddle attachment, then add the milk and vanilla. Once this is mixed in, turn speed up to high and continue beating for a few more minutes.
If you want to add colour, make the vanilla frosting and once everything is mixed in add a few drops of food dye and beat in. You can also split the quantity and add different colour dyes. You can then top with any toppings you like. Use a piping bag with desired nozzles for design.
Ingredients for 12 Vanilla Cupcakes:120g plain flour140g sugar120ml milk40g unsalted butter (room temp)1½ tsp baking powder1 egg¼ tsp vanilla essencepinch of salt
Method:Preheat oven to 160⁰C (fan), prepare a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
Whisk the egg, vanilla, and half the milk in a bowl until everything is mixed. In a separate bowl, place the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt and beat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in remaining half of milk and beat until just incorporated.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth consistency, (don’t overmix). Fill each cup case until about two-thirds full, place in the oven and bake for appx 20-22 mins. A skewer inserted should come out clean and they will be slightly golden on top. Once ready take out the oven and leave to cool. Frost once cupcakes they are completely cool.
Ingredients for 12 Chocolate Cupcakes:100g plain flour140g sugar20g cocoa powder120ml milk40g unsalted butter1½ tsp baking powder1 egg¼ tsp vanilla essencepinch of salt
Method:Whisk the milk, vanilla and egg together. In a separate bowl put the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Beat until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Pour half the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat on low until combined. Pour in the remaining milk mixture and beat on medium until you have a smooth consistency, (don’t overmix). Fill each cup case up until about two-thirds full, place in the oven and bake for appx 20-22 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Once ready take out the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Frost once cupcakes are completely cool. Vanilla frosting:250g icing sugar80g unsalted butter (room temp)25ml milk2-3 drops vanilla essence
Chocolate frosting:300g icing sugar100g unsalted butter (room temp)40g cocoa powder40ml milk
Beat icing sugar and butter together, (for chocolate frosting, add cocoa powder at this stage as well). Beat using the paddle attachment on a low speed until ingredients come together, then add the milk, (and for the vanilla frosting the vanilla essence at this stage). Once the milk is mixed in, turn the speed up to high and continue beating for a few more minutes, (the longer you beat the lighter and fluffier the frosting).
Gaby Van Clarke
September 25, 2021
Gaby’s too busy compiling her first book, so she has left this intro to me. Some things retain an aura long past their sell by date. On a 1978 work visit to Vienna I missed a visit to the Hotel Sacher and a chance to savour their famous chocolate cake, the Sacher Torte. It’s more
September 17, 2021
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