Friday, 26 July 2013

Chocolate Celebration Cake

I was asked to make a cake for my friend's 40th birthday this week. The brief I was given was a chocolate cake, 12", with plain buttericing. To decorate she isn't keen on fondant icing so I set about using chocolate pieces, I wanted the design to be stunning so I did a bit of research and managed to find a good idea using buttons and other round chocolates. More on that later.

The first step was to create a massive 12" cake. I didn't want to make a normal sponge so I decided to opt for a lovely chocolatey recipe, in fact the recipe that was used in my own wedding cake. Fortunately the recipe was already for a 12" cake so that made things much easier. For the first time I didn't do a trial run I just made it straight off and hoped it'd be ok. This is partly due to time but also due to cost, with the large quantities of ingredients required this cake isn't cheap.

650g Unsalted Butter
650g Plain Chocolate
100ml Strong Coffee
3tsp Vanilla Essence
650g Plain Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
950g Light Soft Brown Sugar
10 Eggs
2 x 284ml Soured Cream

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a pan over a low heat until they have fully melted. Stir in the coffee and the vanilla essence.
Chocolate and Butter
Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a large bowl.

Dry ingredients
Beat together the soured cream and eggs.
Soured cream and eggs
Pour the egg mixture into the flour followed by the chocolate. Stir the mixture until it is all combined and smooth.
Using a large new washing up bowl to mix it all together
Pour this into a greased 12"/30cm tin and place in the oven, 160oC, for 2hrs30mins.
In the greased tin
Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer and checking it comes out clean.
 Leave the cake to cool in the tin, it will firm a little as it cools making it hold its structure once you try and remove it.
Removed from tin, on the board and ready to go. 
I left the cake to fully cool overnight on a 14" cake board. In the morning I got out 325g butter and left it to get to room temperature. This was then mixed with 650g icing sugar and vanilla essence to make the butter icing for the cake. 

I sliced the cake into 2 halves and filled the middle with butter icing. 

I needed to make more butter icing for the outside so I made another 250g butter, 500g icing sugar. This was enough to cover the outside and the sides nicely. 
Cake covered in vanilla buttercream
I then covered the outside of the cake in a thick layer, this needs to be thick enough to be able to stick the chocolate decorations into it. 

The next step was the actually decorating of the cake. I used a variety of different chocolates to achieve this look. The first step was to place orange matchmakers around the outside of the cake. 
Matchmakers around the outside
I wanted to do more than just place the buttons etc on the top so I create a floral decoration using buttons, malteasers, aeros, vice versas and some other bits and pieces. I halved all of the larger decorations, this meant they sat nicely in the icing. 
Almost finished. 

I also melted some plain chocolate, poured it into a large biscuit cutter and left it to set to create the circle in the middle. In this picture you can also see stars attached to wire to give the cake a little height and another dimension. 
The final step was to melt some white chocolate and pipe my customers age on to it, 40. 
The finished product top
Slightly side on view
I was happy with the end product, it fills the brief of a chocolate cake and isn't in my usual fondant style at all. I found this challenging as the heat was making the chocolate difficult to handle. Also trying to halve it meant a few bits got broken. The size of the cake was also something I'd never had to deal with before, it was nice to have a large canvas for the decorating but manouvering it was harder. 

If anyone is interested in ordering this, or any other cake, please get in contact. At present (July 2013) I'm only charging for ingredients, this cake would cost £30. Please keep me in mind for any celebration you may require any size cake for.