Showing posts with label chocolate cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate cake. Show all posts

Monday, 22 October 2012

Chocolate cake leftovers can be fun!

If you ever make a cake or a batch of cupcakes and there is some mixture left over, here's a great tip:

Dr Cupcake's Great Cake Tip #43: NEVER THROW EXTRA MIXTURE AWAY.

Take the Wombles as your role model. If you are as old as me then you'll know that the Wombles, while they were underground, overground, wombling free, were ALSO making good use of the things that they find, the things that the everyday folk leave behind:
Yes indeed. And I bet they were fond of chocolate cake (although I can't say that for sure), and further, I bet you anything you like that, had they had extra cake mixture left over from a batch, they would have turned it into a smaller tin, cooked it, and come out with something..... looking rather like this:

.... looking rather like this:

- Which they would have put in the freezer, slightly flat and unattractive-looking as it was, in the certain knowledge that, ONE DAY SOON, it would find a use.

The Wombles, whilst whipping up a batch of ganache for their last cooking project, and finding that there appeared to be too much ganache for their purposes, would, almost certainly, have done.....

....THIS, and scooped it unattractively into a sandwich bag, to be popped in the freezer for a later event.

And this is exactly what you and I should do, too.....

Because, the very next time you have a special occasion and absolutely no time to make anything fancy, you can rip your little flat cake and your messy ganache out of the freezer and do this with it, and no one will ever know that you haven't slaved over a hot stove for hours making it.

These are, obviously, little squares of rich chocolate mud cake topped with a warm, half-melted ganache and topped with some fancy sugar roses.....

.... Which I had no compunction in getting out of a packet - again, if you have the time, it's wonderful to make them yourself, but if you don't, it is really worthwhile to keep a few ready made ones in the cupboard.

I hand cut the cake squares with a sharp and heavy knife. It helps if the cake is not completely defrosted, or at least still very cold, when cutting - that way it is less crumbly and less likely to break into smaller pieces.

The good thing about the 'dolloped' ganache icing is that it hides any inconsistencies or breakages in the cake squares.

I was lucky enough to have both red and white roses to top the cakes with. The red were my favorites.

And seriously one of the best things about the whole experience was the amount of washing up that I had to do at the end, which was:

Done, finito, from go to whoa in approximately 20 minutes ... and a roomful of appreciative chocolate smeared faces were none the wiser.

So, be like the Wombles, because they're cool and stuff.

Happy wombling from Dr Cupcake!

Monday, 7 March 2011

A penguin birthday cake for Mr Cupcake

As Mr Cupcake's birthday approached I asked him, predictably, what he would like in the way of a cake.
Not being as obsessed as I am with cakes, Mr Cupcake did not know what he wanted.

"Anything," he said. He then specified that he would like a Sacher torte as the kind of actual cakey substance but that he wouldn't mind if I paired that with a fondant icing rather than the normal glossy chocolate icing of true Sacher tortes.
The weather in Tasmania has turned very cold so suddenly that a icy penguin tableau seemed quite apt for a March birthday. I decided to try something I had seen in Planet Cake Cupcakes.

This was only the second time that I have decorated a full size cake with fondant icing. Planet Cake definitely wouldn't give me a job based on the end result, but as a beginner I was reasonably happy with it.

After I had baked the Sacher torte, I split it horizontally and filled the centre with blackcurrant jam. Then it was time to ganache and hot knife for a smooth finish.

It took an awful lot of ganache to cover all the top and sides, because it needs to sit in every little uneven crevice and be built out to an even edge. This is the ganache finish.

 For some reason Mr Plums was fascinated with the whole decorative process and every time I got up from my chair he took a front seat to watch the proceedings.

I measured the cake (top and sides) so that I would know how large a piece of rolled fondant I would need to cover it. Then I rolled the fondant to about half a centimetre thickness and draped it evenly over the cake. I smoothed it by hand from the middle to the top edges and then down the sides, and trimmed around the base. 

The penguin took a while. I modelled him from a single large ball of fondant, but had to lie him down to dry out because his head kept drooping forward. He looked crushed and sad. However, he hardened up nicely while lying down with his little head supported by a foam pillow to keep his back hunched.

His flippers were rolled and hand cut, then left to dry completely before moving them. I cut deep slots in penguin's sides to stick the flippers in.

Penguin had to be painted. I used a black gel food colour and a fine brush to do his head, back and one side of his flippers, leaving his tummy white.

The white side of one flipper got a bit of black on it - I thought this was terminal but managed to remove the stain by wiping with a damp cloth - good to know for future reference.

When penguin was dry, I stuck tiny white fondant balls on for eyes and dotted a black pupil in each with a paint brush. I stuck his flippers into their slots and put him on the cake, then placed his feet in front of him.

It was time to cut a hole in the 'ice'-ing to go fishing! I made the hole with a small circle cutter, going right down to the ganache layer.

Then I peeled the fondant away, but replaced it with a very very thin layer of white fondant, just so that the blue gel would really shine.

I squirted a thin layer of blue gel into the hole using Wilton's cake decorating gel - it comes in a range of colours, very useful for water effects.

Then I modelled a fishy from white fondant (actually, I only needed half a fishy), and painted him using 'ivory' gel colour (it looks light brown when concentrated), decorating him with green dots and black ridge along his fins. I stuck white balls of fondant on for his eyes and dotted black paint for the pupils, as with penguin. Then I placed fishy in his icy pond and piped another layer of blue gel around him.

In photographing the cake I thought this pic which was taken in direct sunlight seemed to make the 'icy' setting more realistic. The sun gleams off the water beautifully!
I finished up with Happy Birthday candles in green and orange to go with the fishy and a matching green ribbon at the base of the cake, which apart from providing a bit of colour to what was a very pale cake, also served to hide some little imperfections at the base.
Mr Cupcake was somewhat bemused by the choice of decoration. This is his bemused look.
Happy birthday Mr Cupcake... just like the penguin's successful fishing expedition,  may this year present you with many delicious surprises!