Sunday, 9 February 2014

Ultimate chocolate cake with green ombre frosting

Birthdays mean time for indulgence.   So for my birthday, I decided to try out an ombre decorated cake I had seen online.  Fancy grown up cakes aren't my forte.  At least I can always whip up a chocolate cake.  Even if it is 39 C.  Sylvia and I baked the cake in the morning, went to the cinema to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs II and came home to decorate it. 

I chose a new chocolate cake recipe.  I have been seeking one that is made of pantry ingredients, is decadent but not extravagant, will hold its shape and is easy to make.  Baking the cake was fairly straight forward.  The main drawback was that it used three bowls.  It tasted fantastic.  Rich and dense but not so intense you can only eat a sliver.  I think it might be a keeper.

Decorating the cake was slightly more tricky.  It looked easy on Lick the Spoon.  I think I just need a little practice.  Using my silicone piping bag made it easy to pipe blobs of icing around the side.  Smooshing each blob down neatly with a spoon was a matter of convincing the icing and spoon to part ways.  I found it easiest if I dipped the spoon in hot water and dried it on a clean cloth every now and again before pushing the spoon into each blob.  A taller cake would have made the effect look more impressive.  Maybe next time.

Getting the icing on wasn't the worst of my problems.  I found that my cake stand was slightly too small.  You can see that I have actually scraped some of the icing from the bottom on the above photo.  If the plate had been bigger it wouldn't have been such a problem.  However even with a bit of a scrape, some of the lowest blobs were melting and dropped off the cake in the heat.

My other issue was getting the colours right (for the ombre effect).  You may notice that my two bottom colours looks quite similar.  I used a lot of food colouring and finally decided it was quite enough.  If I did this again I think I would try and find a powdered colouring that hopefully would be more potent and not change the consistency of the frosting so much.  It used a lot of icing but looked so much prettier than my usual cakes.  The sprinkles on top were Sylvia's artwork!

Being a hot day, we ate dinner outside.  (I will tell you about the haggis chiko rolls soon.)  The cool change had arrived.  It was such relief to sit outside with the breeze.  I didn't even mind when the candles kept being blown out by the wind.  Sylvia decided to take the cake inside and light the candles in the dark.

I recognised this as a scene from her favourite cartoon, Peppa Pig.  In the episode called "Mummy Pig's birthday". Mummy Pig has to wait outside while Peppa and her family get the cake ready.  On the show, Mummy Pig sits outside and twiddles her thumbs.  Whereas I watered the garden and pulled out a few weeds and checked the citrus trees for gall wasp.  It amuses me that the show is written from a child's perspective where the parents just have nothing to do once out of their sight!

We all loved the cake.  A small one was just enough for us to eat one night and have enough leftovers to enjoy without feeling overwhelmed.  Sylvia loved tasting the icing when we were decorating but she thought it too sweet on the cake.  Kids!  This was my perfect birthday cake.  Rich dense chocolate cake with lots of green icing and a sense of achievement thrown in!

I am sending this cake to Karen at Lavender and Lovage for the Tea Time Treats (which she hosts with Janie from The Hedgecombers).  This month the theme is Chocolate.  The original decorated cake I was imitating had pink icing which would make this perfect for Valentines Day.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Chocolate and berry pizza
Two years ago: Bush birthday banana cake and other self catering ideas
Three years ago: Queso dip, enchiladas and food processor
Four years ago: My Camera Birthday Cake
Five years ago: Birthday treats, heat and intrigue
Six years ago: A birthday cigar

Ultimate chocolate cake
Adapted from Drizzle and Drip
    90g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
    100g butter
    43g self raising flour
    43g plain flour (I used wholemeal)
    1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    80g brown sugar
    80g caster sugar
    2 heaped tbsp Dutch processed cocoa 
    1  egg (room temp)
    1 egg white
    2 tbsp and 2 tsp vanilla or plain yoghurt
    1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

    Preheat oven to 170 C.  Grease and line a 15cm round cake tin.  (For a 20cm round cake tin, you should double the recipe - as at Drizzle and Drip.)

    Melt chocolate and butter in a small mixing bowl (in the microwave or if on stovetop use a small saucepan).  Set aside.

    Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.

    Beat egg and egg white for a minute or two until the colour is lighter and the eggs are frothy.  Briefly bean in yoghurt.

    Pour melted chocolate mixture, egg mixture and apple cider vinegar into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.  Pour into the prepared cake tin.

    Bake for about 50 minutes or until it smells cooked, the side of the cake is pulling away from the side of the tin and the skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.  Sit 5 minutes.  Cool on a cake rack.

    Buttercream frosting (or icing)
    Adapted from Birthday Cakes for Kids by Annie Rigg.

    150g butter
    300g icing sugar
    1-2 tbsp water or milk, if required
    food colouring, preferably powdered

    Use electric beaters to beat butter until creamy and then gradually beat in icing sugar.  If the icing is a little stiff to spread add a drizzle of water or milk to loosen it up.  Stir in food colouring as desired.
    On the Stereo:
    Yes Virginia... - Dresden Dolls

    17 comments:

    1. Happy Birthday, Johanna!!! I actually wasn't going to pop in again since I was here earlier this afternoon but I sure am glad I did, I wouldn't have wanted to miss your impressive birthday cake. Yes, I think it is rather impressive. I don't see me even coming close to such a tedious job, lol...Of course Sylvia's touch is the icing on the cake, lol...

      So glad the weather cooperated too..... Isn't it delightful when the children mime the shows they watch. I suppose that is one of the reasons it is so important to watch what they watch and that you know the story so well:)

      Thank you so much for sharing your birthday cake with us. I think it looks delightful and I'm sure it tastes, dee...li...cious! Happy Birthday!!!

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    2. Your cake is so impressive Johanna - I am pretty sure I wouldn't have the patience for that icing! I'm glad you enjoyed it after your efforts and it photographed beautifully even if you did have some challenges with your plate size. I'm also glad the weather cooperated as a cool change at the end of a hot summer's day is a birthday present in and of itself :-)

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    3. What a lovely looking cake! And a big Happy Birthday to you Johanna! I hope that it was a wonderful time :D And I am looking forward to hearing about the haggis chiko roll too! :P

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    4. Happy Birthday! What a lovely looking rich chocolate cake. The icing is very effective too. Hope you had a wonderful day

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    5. Wow, Johanna, the icing looks stunning!

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    6. many happy returns! What a beautiful looking cake!

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    7. Oh belated Happy Birthday, sounded like you had a good time. Your cake is so so SO impressive Johanna. It looks spectacular. Sometimes, it really is worth pushing the boat out. And the chocolate cake sounds good too.

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    8. Happy Birthday Johanna and congratulations on your fantastic cake! It reminds me of a cake in my favourite childhood baking book. It was a chocolate dinosaur cake with a brilliant green icing shaped into "scales".
      I've never watched Peppa pig but it sounds adorable. I'll have to ask my little nephew if he knows it next time I see him.

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    9. my oh my this is clever!!!! So pretty! And a big happy birthday to YOU!

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    10. I Think you've done an AWESOME job of the icing!!! it looks very impressive!
      like the sound of the hot water trick

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    11. Happy birthday to you! The cake looks stunning, and I love the cake stand :)

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    12. Happy birthday! That cake is seriously impressive - but I think you might have to either move countries or move the time of year of your birthdays - I seem to remember previous posts about you decorating cakes in searing temperatures. Cake decorating is so not my forte so I take my hat off to anyone who does it.

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    13. Happy Belated Birthday! The cake looks amazing….that color is my favorite actually! Wishing you a fabulous day!

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    14. That looks like the perfect birthday cake! It's gotta be chocolate and it's gotta have colourful icing!

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    15. Happy belated Birthday!
      That is a beautiful festive cake! I love the colours and of course, the fact that it is a chocolate cake :-)

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    16. A BELATED Happy Birthday and what an AMAZING cake, I love it! Such a work of art! Karen

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    17. Happy birthday to you! cakes look so yummy..... Your cake appearance gorgeous!Love the way your dress up your chocolate cake.
      wedding cakes

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