The weekend was pretty and since the weather was nice on Saturday, and my friends decided to go for a picnic in the park. It was a really nice day and we had tons of fun, but I was a little under the weather the whole weekend. This "under the weather" feeling spilled into the week by infiltrating my Monday. I'm not the kind of person who gets low and baking is always my cushion in times like these. I always feel that it's easier to sulk and complain but if you pick up that last bit of energy inside you and channel it into creating something new then you have yourself a brighter day. To brighten up my spirits I said goodbye to my silly aches and pains and decided to bake a glorious, happy cake! I'm aware that there are only two of us and the cake was big enough to feed about 10 but desperate times call for desperate measures. Don't worry, just because I like to bake cakes, doesn't mean I sit by myself and eat the whole thing; in-fact I was too tired to eat it after all the baking and decorating. But I managed to chop off some large pieces and send it to my friends. So, when you saw that last picture of a practically empty plate, I hope you didn't have a lovely little mental picture of me stuffing my face with cake.
I watched Ace of Cakes all Sunday evening and was inspired to create my own cake. They use a lot of fondant on that show and I have never used fondant in my life. So I wanted to try using it for the first time. Again, I am aware that there are only two of us here and there is no point in decorating my glorious happy cake, because there's no one to watch us cut it, but if it's any consolation I made sure Sandeep didn't see me decorate the cake so that he would be surprised by my weird daisy chocolate cake. I think he was confused when he saw it for the first time, because he just stared at it for about 10 minutes. OK, I exaggerate, but he did act strange after looking at it. Maybe because when I started off my project, I said Ace of Cakes he thought I'd be building him a chocolate cake motorcycle, but instead he got a silly cake covered with daisies with pink stuff on it. I made the chocolate daisies so I didn't care for his reaction; as he reads what I type, peering over my shoulder, he is revolting by saying that he loved the cake. I still believe that he was not expecting a daisy cake, because he's not a girl. Well, there's no theme for it, I just piped out daisies with chocolate because that was the easiest design I could think of at the moment and I couldn't think quite well. But, what matters most in a cake is the taste. If it looks like Sleeping Beauty's castle and tastes like monkey poop, nobody's going to be happy. So, ideally a happy cake has to taste really good to make you happy and I think it tasted pretty good, because it made Sandeep very happy.
I'm aware that I suddenly skipped from my bread chapter to my cake, and I'm really sorry about that, but like I said I was feeling a little under the weather and I really wanted to bake something that would make me happy. The cake was a basic chocolate cake, that was rich, decadent and luxurious. Creamy chocolate frosting sandwiched between the layers of cake and topped off with a basic fondant icing. Yes, finally there were daisies on top and a ribbon, because I felt like it. I'm sorry that this post is not a very helpful post when it comes to the icing, at least the last parts, because I was a little distracted and not myself today, so I ended up taking very little pictures in between. I'm awfully sorry about that, but I promise that this is not the last of the cakes I'd be baking, so there's always next time. Without further adieu, here's the recipe:
- 1 cup of dark chocolate
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 and a 1/2 cups of sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbsps of vegetable oil
- Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl or in a stand mixer.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Blend well after each time.
- Then add the flour; a little at a time, mixing well to combine evenly.
- At this time, after you put the last bit of flour, in a ceramic or glass bowl melt the chocolate in the microwave. People usually use a double broiler, but since I don't have one and I'm not very patient I just prefer heating it in the microwave. Make sure that you do not overheat the chocolate. Keep checking every 30 seconds. Sometimes the chocolate doesn't look like it's melted but it is; you just need to stir it together. I'm asking you to melt the chocolate at this step because you don't want the chocolate to be piping hot when pouring it into the batter, as it may cook the eggs. So make sure you stir it well and release some of the heat.
- Back to the batter; add the salt and baking soda. Mix some more.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix some more.
- Add the milk and mix some more.
- Add the oil and mix some more.
- Then add the chocolate.
- Spoon the batter into two pans that have been greased (Make sure they are of equal sizes).
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- At this point your cake is done.
- Let the cake cool for a bit before you turn it over.
- While turning it over first make sure that the sides are loose by slipping a fork and running it all around the edges of the cake.
- Now place a plate over the pan and in one quick motion turn the plate down so that the pan is now on top of the plate. Now, give a few quick taps on the bottom of the cake pan and gently lift the pan off. If the cake has baked well and if you have greased your pan well the cake should come off clean.
- 3 and a 1/2 cups of icing sugar
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
- This is a fairly simple frosting. All you have to do is cream the sugar and butter together. Make sure the butter is softened first. Then add the milk and cocoa powder and mix well.
- To ice the cake for one figure out if your cakes are slanting; usually when I bake, one ends up straight and one ends up slanting to the left or the right. Ideally, both should be straight, but if they are not then you have to gently cut the top of the cake with a serrated knife and make it even.
- Apply frosting on the top of the base cake, then place the second cake or the top cake on top of the base. Now, apply the butter cream frosting evenly on the top and sides covering all the cake.
- Wipe off the excess cream that might be hanging around on the plate.
- A helpful tip is to wait for the cake to cool before icing it. I usually loose my patience and get excited to put the frosting on it but it doesn't help because the heat of the cake will melt the frosting and you will just end up with a big fat mess. So have some patience and let the cake cool down completely before you get creative on it.
- 450 grams of marshmallows
- 900 grams of icing sugar
- Oil (to oil your hands and the work surface)
- 2 tbsps of water
- Place the marshmallows in a large bowl and add the 2 tbsps of water.
- Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds; pull it out and stir.
- Repeat the 2nd step twice or thrice till the marshmallows have melted and become one gooey mass.
- Oil your work surface and your hands generously and pour the sugar onto the work surface.
- Pour the melted marshmallows over the mound of sugar and begin to knead with your hands to combine the ingredients together. This might take about 8-10 minutes.
- If you feel that the fondant is dry, sprinkle some water to rejuvenate it. Ideally, it should be smooth enough to roll and create a shroud for your cake.
- I know I don't have many pictures of me covering the cake or pictures of me piping the daisies and I'm dreadfully sorry for it; as I said I was not myself today.
- But to pipe the daisies you just need a nice piping bag, some good melted chocolate and sheet of wax paper. All you need to do is pipe the melted chocolate onto the wax paper, and wait till the chocolate design hardens and then slowly using a knife slide the design off the wax paper. It is really simple and not as hard as it sounds. I added coloured fondant dots to the center of the daisies to add some colour. I also added a decorative non-edible ribbon just for looks.