Saturday, 31 March 2012

Birthday cake x 2

I have made a start on the first of my birthday cakes by making this lovely chocolate cake.  Just in case the link doesn't work going forward here are the ingredients and the method.

200g of good quality chocolate minimum of 60% coco solids (I used a mixture of dark chocolate, and chocolate orange, with a little milk chocolate)
200g of unsalted butter
1tbs of instant coffee granules
85g of self raising flour
85g of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
200g of light muscovado sugar
200g of golden caster sugar
25g of coco powder (I left this out)
3 medium eggs
75m of buttermilk
(to enhance the orange flavour I grated the rind of two oranges into the mixture and doubled up on all the ingredients and baked mine in a large rectangle roasting tin so I can cut out the shape of the guitar.)


  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base.(I used brown paper to line my tin and it works very will - ensure that the shiny side is the side facing you when you line the tin) Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don't overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggsin a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.
  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes - if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Continue with stages 4 - 5 is if you wish to make the cake as per the recipe, however I am making this into a birthday cake so am making some changes (see below). 
  4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

I have to say, I am not a huge fan of chocolate cake, but this is a wonderful cake (especially with the addition of the orange chocolate and the orange rind).  It is very very moist.

Once the cake was cool I cut it half to pop in my filling.  The filling was just a combination of 2 tbs butter, approx 4 tbs icing sugar, 2 tbs orange juice and 3 tbs Nutella spread.  Using a mixer combine all the ingredients together to get a nice fluffy cream filling. (taste and adjust as necessary).   Simply slice the cake into 2, spread the filling on one layer and then replace the other layer back.

Instructions for my guitar cake

To get the shape of the guitar, I drew out a sketch of the above guitar on some A4 paper and cut it out, I then traced around the sketch, making it a little larger on some brown paper to the size I wanted.

Lay the brown paper template on top of the cake and carefully cut around the shape (save the offcuts for project 2).

Place the cake on to a cake board, and then spread the cake with warm apricot jam (this helps the icing stick to the cake) and then cover the cake in white fondant icing, smoothing over the cake and trimming off excess.

Cut a 2nd template for inner dark layer of the guitar - I used a chocolate flavoured fondant icing, and used the 2nd template for my guide to cut round the icing.  Using a edible glue, stick on top of the white icing and this is what you will get.

For the volume knob (not sure of the correct term for these) I took some white icing, rolled it into a small sausage shape and cut to size and dusted with silver powder.  I did the same for the red button (without the silver powder).

As you can see there are a couple of rectangle pieces I needed, which I just shaped and cut, dusted with silver where necessary and glued to the cake.

The next part was making the handle for the guitar (my D Mike cringes here and says its not a handle its called the neck..... looks nothing like a neck).  I decided that this was not going to be an edible part of the cake so using some white card I folded the shape of the neck and then for the top bit (the head) got my D Mike to draw this out and cut out the card.  The head and the neck were stuck together with tape and then the whole lot covered in a light brown fondant icing to get this.

For the tuning pegs on the side I just took some white icing rolled it into a ball in my hand, stuck half a cocktail stick into the ball and flattened it.  Dust with silver powder and stick along the side of the head.

For the other round bit (god know what they are called) just roll balls, flatten and then glue another smaller ball on the top - dust with silver again.

The frets were simply made but rolling very thing sausage shapes and gluing them along the neck (using the photo as a guide).

The little oblong box you see in the top photograph is just a small box covered in brown paper to use as a support for the arm of the guitar when we lay it out on the table.

For the guitar strings I simply took some of my embroidery thread and put 4 strands together for each string.  I tied a small knot on the top and bottom of the string and using a small silver pin attached them to the round things on the head (sorry for correct guitar technical terms).

Dave (the recipient of the 50th birthday cake) has a Fender guitar (the one in the picture) so needless to say we had to write Fender on the cake in the style used by the manufacturer.

This is the end result:-

Because I have to transport this in 2 pieces, the strings have not been attached to the bottom square, so these will look tighter when laid out at the party.

Lets hope he likes it.

Now what did I do with all those pieces of cake I had left over.  My D Mike's family all have their birthday's together (well quite a few of them do) - both Dave and Mike's Sister have their birthday in the same week, and the week before last it was Mike's mother's and other sister's birthday too so I thought I would do a little cake for them too and here it is.

I took the offcuts of cake.  Lined a 6" square cake tin with cling film and then packed the cake tin with the cake squashing it together (its moist) until the tin was just under half full.

Now put in a generous layer of the filling and then complete the process with the remainder of the cake.  As the kitchen was warm I decided to fold over the rest of the cling film on the top of the cake and then popped the whole lot in the freezer for about half an hour to firm up the cake.

Using the remainder of the white icing I covered the little square cake (using the same method as above).  I made up some Royal Icing with egg white and icing sugar, took some greaseproof paper made an icing bag and piped around the bottom of the cake.

To make the little frills you need sugar craft paste (this sets hard unlike the fondant icing). Take a small amount and roll it out as thin as you can, while still being able to pick it up and handle it without it breaking.  Take a pastry cutter and cut out three (for this cake) rounds, and then taking a smaller round cutter, cut out the centre of each disk.  Using a knife cut to open the circle into a straight strip.  Now to flute up those edges.  Take a cocktail stick and this is going to be your mini rolling pin.  Using the pointed edge roll each fluted section with your cocktail stick until it is double or even 3 times the size it was before, gently lift off your table and repeat this process along the length of the strip (if its sticking too much, rub a little bit of corn flour (not icing sugar) on your table).

To create the shaping of the frill on the cake, take some more cocktail sticks (I usually cut them in half) and put in the cake in the places you want to frill to be high or low.  Paint your line where you want to place your frill along your cake and then stick the un-fluted edge of the frill to the cake.  The cocktail sticks will support the frill until the sugar paste and the glue has set.  Use extra cocktail sticks where you want the frill to have more movement - these all get pulled out after the paste has set.  I have a small round ball tool that I use to press the frill to the cake.

Finish the cake with piping, flowers dots and anything else you want.  I normally make my own flowers, but this time, I purchased some little daisies for the cake, and I had some lemon ribbon which I tied into two bows and stuck to the cake with the Royal icing.  Finally I dusted the edge of the frill with some edible shimmer powder to make it even more pretty.

Phew, that was a lot of hard work, I finished around midnight last night, so hope they all like their cakes.

Catch you later.........


  1. Pauline, this post is killing me.. I must now bake a gorgeous cake too

  2. Awesome cakes; you are talented in that department.

    Had a great birthday also. My cake was a chocolate bar which was okay by me.

  3. These are gorgeous cakes, and I think they would be sooooo hard to cut up. You are talented!!

  4. Thank you for all your lovely comments - EVERYONE loved the cakes, both visually and the taste - the chocolate orange flavour really made it taste great - there was very little left and I was the one to cut it up sob sob.....

    Ann chocolate bar sounds lovely - glad you had a great birthday.