Okay, so I promise I will get on with posting from the September delicious magazine recipes soon, hopefully tomorrow. However I just wanted to post a couple of my latest cake creations. I just love cake decorating. I am quite happy to spend hours baking and decorating cakes. I would love to advertise and get paid for doing it but from what I understand I would need to apply for development approval to operate a business from home. I also understand in this situation you would also need to get you kitchen passed for health and safety. While I am sure I probably could do all that, it would involve a lot of application fees and all other associated costs and then you have the possibility of a neighbour objecting to the application and all that money going down the drain. The other thing that stops me is that cake decorating is a time consuming and, to be honest, pricey venture. There are a lot of associated costs and when you live in a country town I don't think that you can charge what cakes are worth. So with all of that in mind I will just continue to make cakes for family and friends and leave it at that.
Over the last month I have had the chance to do two cakes, the first for my grandmother's 80th birthday and the second for a friend's daughter's 3rd birthday. For both of these cakes I made my stock standard chocolate cake. It is a wonderful recipe and makes the perfect cake for decorating without all the expense of a mud cake. The secret ingredient to this cake is the yoghurt. I have made it with sour milk and it is lovely but too light for decorating. I have made it with sour cream and the extra fat in the sour cream is too much for the cake. Yoghurt is just perfect for getting the density that is required for cake decorating. I even use this recipe for tiered cakes. Covered in either buttercream or ganache and fondant it is terrific, although I have to admit that I am partial to buttercream. The recipe handles being doubled and tripled without a problem. I do tend to use a lily nail in the centre in large deep pans though. I have had the occasional problem with lopsided rising, however I think that was due to my previous oven as I have had no such problems with my current oven. It is my most requested cake and is always highly praised by everyone who tries it, even my yoghurt hating uncle loves it.
- 125 g (1/2 c.) very soft butter
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 2/3 c. plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 c. cocoa
- 1 1/2 c. sour milk or plain yoghurt
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C
- Place all ingredients into mixing bowl.
- Beat on a low speed until combined, approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
- The beat on high speed for 10 minutes.
- Pour mixture into a greased 24 cm round springform tin or bundt pan.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out.
For my grandmother's 80th birthday cake, I did a double mix in a 24 cm square pan and then did a second tier of an 18 cm square pan which used 2/3 of a mix (I made cupcakes from the rest). I had to trim a little bit but not too much. I coated it with white buttercream, which was very soft as it was very rainy at the time, and then had strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and then drizzled with white chocolate. My grandmother loved it and I was pretty happy with it too.
For the 3-yr-old's birthday cake I decided to do a castle cake. I made a 18 cm and 10 cm square cakes from one mix and also made a slab cake from another mix to use for the towers. I cut the towers out using a pastry cutter and put buttercream between the layers and secured with a skewer down the middle. I also used skewers to secure the towers to the cake. Covered the whole lot in pink buttercream, the top of the towers are made from mini ice cream cones iced with buttercream and then rolled in sprinkles, and used fondant for the accents. I also covered the cake board with green tinted fondant. All of the little girls at the party were so excited by the cake. They just loved it. I also made a royal icing tiara to go on top of the cake, but I don't have a picture of it. I also got some little "princesses" from the bakery aisle at the supermarket and put them on for decoration. I was very pleased with how it turned out.