Sunday, 18 August 2013

Garden Cake

I wanted to make my Nanna a birthday cake and decided on the theme of a garden. She mentioned previously that she would like a chocolate cake so that is what I made. I used the following recipe for a 8" cake. The original recipe is for a 12" cake so I had to scale this down for the cake. Gary worked out the calculations, however, we this was still too much mixture for the tin so I baked a mini cake as well for him to take to work. 

260g Butter
260g Plain Chocolate
40ml Coffee
2tsp Vanilla Essence
260g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
380g Light Soft Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
227ml Soured Cream

Melt together the chocolate and the butter, over a low heat, until fully melted.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and sugar.

Whisk together the eggs and soured cream.

Add the chocolate mix and the egg mixture to the flour and stir until fully mixed. The mixture should be thick and chocolatey.

Pour into a lined 8" tin and place in the oven. Cook at 150oC for around 2 hours. You should leave the cake to cool in the tin, I made the mistake of taking it out hot, you need it to form a more solid structure. 

I made some chocolate buttercream to go on the cake. 250g Butter to 500g icing sugar and 1tbsp of cocoa mixed together until smooth. I also added a little milk to soften it up enough to be spreadable. I cut the cake in half and placed buttercream inside the cake and then around the outside of the cake. 
Cake covered in chocolate buttercream
I coloured some icing green, rolled it and covered the cake completely. 
Covered in green icing
Then I set about making the different bits for the top. I decided to make some cauliflowers, cabbages, leeks and carrots. I used my dummy cake to get an idea of sizes and to work out the layout before doing the real cake. 
Cabbages and cauliflowers
The cabbages and cauliflower are made in a simlar way using a pea sized piece of icing for the centre. This is then surrounded my leaves and stuck around, the tops are slightly bent over and it's all pushed together. 

I made the carrots and leeks by making sausages in the correct shapes. For the leeks I then cut out rectangles and stuck them around the edges folding over the tops. For the carrots I stuck a small amount of green on the top and then cut a cross on the top folding over the edges. 

To make the paving slabs I marbed some icing with black colouring and cut them into squares. The fencing was done in a similar way with white and I used a tooth pick to score lines in them. 
Practicing the layout
I then stuck it all on the actual cake. I made a rectangle for the front
Just the writing left
Painted on "Happy Birthday" using a paintbrush and some gel colour mixed with water. 

Then take some photos of the finished cake. 
One side

The other side

Close up of the cauliflower and leeks

Close up of carrots and cabbages
Front view
The verdict: I was pleased with how the cake looked and tasted. All the comments were very positive and my nanna seemed very pleased with her surprise. Most people could identify the vegetables, the carrots were more of a challenge but they were in the ground so not so obvious. Still improvements to be made but I was pleased. 

Don't forget I'm available to make cakes to order. At the moment (August 2013) I'm making cakes for just the cost of the ingredients, this cake would cost £15. Please get in touch if you have any event coming up and we can discuss your requirements.