Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Growing up, I remember always having chocolate cake for my birthday. It was the one day in the year that I got to decide what kind of cake I wanted, and as far as I remember, it always had to be CHOCOLATE. (Yes I am a chocoholic and am proud of it!) It was always store bought cake from a delicious bakery near where we lived, and even when we moved, mum would go down to get that Chocolate Etoile cake for me. What was there not to love about light spongy layers of chocolate cake smothered in rich, creamy chocolate mousse. Ah yes, those were the days.
When I started cake decorating a few years ago, I decided that I would start making my own cakes, as well as my hubby's. (He gets a chocolate cake every year too!) This gave me the opportunity to experiment with different recipes (always chocolate!) and dress my cakes up the way I wanted. Funnily enough, I love my cakes simple. Just pure, decadent chocolate cake is what I want.
This year, I decided, after much research, that I would use Julie le Clerc's recipe for her Valrhona chocolate pearl cake for my birthday cake. This cake happens to be gluten free as well, so even better! And oh boy oh boy, I think it is one of the best, most decadent chocolate cakes I have ever had! Plus, on your birthday the calories don't count, right?
Since there is no flour in the cake, the bulk of it is almond meal, and you get that slightly nutty taste together with the chocolate, which I love. The cake is then smothered in dark chocolate ganache and covered in crunchy chocolate pearls. Yuummmyyyy!!! Julie le Clerc's recipe is available in her book, Favourite Cakes, available at Amazon. (See website link on the right).
Another chocolate cake that I love by Kim Evans of Little and Friday. She owns a couple of cafes here in Auckland and her chocolate cake is a must try for anyone who visits. It is also available in her book, Treats from Little and Friday. Try covering it in ganache and coconut as that how she makes her lamingtons. Delish!
The third chocolate cake I love is this mud cake. I found the recipe online and have used it several times to make my husband's cakes as I find it carves well and holds it shape for the 3D cakes I make for him. If you have not tried mud cakes before, this is definitely one to try and it is rich and chocolatey, and it goes very well with the ganache. Best of all you can put away your cake mixer, everything can be done by hand. Always use the best quality chocolate you can afford because it does make a difference! I have tweaked the recipe slightly. (see changes in brackets below)
Recipe for Chocolate Mud Cake (Recipe from www.exclusivelyfood.com.au)
250g chocolate (125g dark chocolate and 125g milk chocolate)
250g butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the butter)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules/powder
188ml (3/4 cup) water
325g (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) plain flour (I changed it to 285g)
30g (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
550g (2 1/2 cups) caster sugar (I changed it to 500g)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (40ml) oil (any mild-flavoured oil) (I used canola oil)
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (not fan-forced). Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- Place chocolate, butter, coffee and water in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate and butter have melted, remove mixture from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl.
- Add the caster sugar to the bowl with the flour mixture, and mix well with a whisk.
- In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk until well combined.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
- Now add the chocolate mixture to the egg and flour mixture in a three batches, stirring until combined after each addition.
- Pour mixture into your cake pan and bake for about 1 hr 30 min or until a skewer in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan before removing. Make and spread the ganache over the cake.
Recipe for Chocolate ganache
250g chocolate (equal mix of dark and milk), chopped
- Heat the cream in a pot til scalding. Take off heat.
- Add chopped chocolate and whisk till smooth and creamy.
- Set aside to cool until ready to use or use warm to pour over cake.
What is your favourite kind of birthday cake?
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Have you been on Craftsy yet? They are offering a few FREE courses on cake decorating (among other classes) and all you have to do is sign up for a free account. Carftsy lets you watch these classes on your own schedule, anytime, anywhere, and your access never expires!
If you are new to cake decorating, try these classes out to build the foundation for all your cake decorating techniques. These classes are taught by experienced and professional cake decorators from around the world, so they know what they are talking about! :)
There's also free cake decorating recipes available. Check out these links for a FREE Craftsy cake decorating class:
Free Online Cake Decorating Class
The Hand Painted Cake (how to paint on cakes):
Free Online Cake Decorating Class
Free Online Class - Basic Fondant Techniques
Free Cake Decorating Recipes at Craftsy!
Check these and more classes out now! Enjoy! :)
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Well, thanks to these old photos, a little lamb is born. :) I must have made him when I first started playing around with fondant figurines and he is such an easy thing to make. I compiled what photos I had so have a look and I'll explain along the way.
1. You will need some white, pink and black fondant.
2. Roll the body into a tear drop shape. The arms and legs are sausages that are tapered at one end (kinda like a long tear drop).
3. Flatten the bigger end of the arms and legs and stick a small piece of pink icing at the bottom. I made the pink circle by pressing down on a small ball of pink, but if you want to be more exact, then use a small, round icing tip to cut out the circles. I used the end of a dresden tool (at least that's what I think it is, to mark and texture the fondant on the body, arms and legs, but you can also roll or pipe tiny round balls and stick them on).
4. Stick the arms and legs to the body with a little water or some edible glue and stick a piece of spaghetti or a toothpick down the middle of the body (not shown in picture). If you are using a toothpick, make sure to tell the recipient about it as you don't want them biting down on it!
5-6. Make the head by rolling a smaller ball of white into a tear drop. Mark a smile using the end of a round icing tip. I used the Wilton number 12 but use whatever you have. Mark two dimples at the end of the smile with a toothpick.
7. To make the ears, roll small pieces of white and pink fondant into tear drops. Flatten them and stick the smaller pink onto the white. Mark out the eyes with a toothpick. Add a ball of pink for the nose.
8. Glue the ears on and roll a couple of tiny black fondant balls for the eyes. Roll some balls of white for the 'hair' on top of the head.
Baaaaaaa.....and your little lamb is done.
If you found this tutorial useful, I would appreciate some comments on it. :)
Thanks for stopping by!