As this is my 300th post, apparently, I thought it suitable that I post one of my more impressive creations to date. I baked it to practice a few different techniques and my colleagues were more than happy to be my test subjects!
That reads “Anna’s Chocolate Cake” for those in any doubt. Piping skills was one of the things I wanted to work on. Actually, I’ll be honest, the icing picked up a lot of crumbs and wasn’t as clean and as I wanted it to be so I thought I’d disguise it by putting a bunch of busy swirls and things on top and, incidentally, thought ‘great, I wanted to practice that!’
I had decided ages ago that I wanted to make a multilayer cake. At about the same time my trusty victoria sponge tins decided to start parting with their nonstick atributes. I decided to treat myself to 4 silicone ones so that I could make a multilayer cake without having to slice, which I am notoriously wonky at. I think they were an excellent investment, I’m really happy with them so far.
I also thought I would give American Frosting a go. My mother warned me that it was rather tricky stuff but I wanted that glorious clean, white look and the soft peaks and ripples really appealed to me. It was, indeed, tricky. Very very sticky and it lifted a lot of crumbs from the cake. A lot of that was my (lack of) technique but it is just plain sticky! I would definitely use this on a cupcake in the future but I would need to practice a good few more cakes like this before I was happy with it.
Serves 16 easily
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs (weighing approximately 250g)
250g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
For the American Frosting:
300g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 large egg whites
Chocolate decorations (about 50g melted chocolate made all of these decorations)
– First, make the cake. Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease 4 8″ sandwich tins.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
– Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between additions.
– Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and mix to combine.
– Add the milk and mix until smooth.
– Divide the mixture equally between the cake tins. Easiest way is to eyeball it first then weigh each one altering them until they are all within a gram or two of each other.
– Bake for 20 minutes on two shelves, switching shelves after 10 minutes.
– Test with a skewer to check each layer is cooked through then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool.
– When you’re ready to assemble your cake start the icing.
– Place all of the ingredients in a large, heatproof bowl.
– Place the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water and beat lightly until the sugar is dissolved and you can’t feel any grains.
– Use an electric hand mixer to whisk the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.
– Then remove from the heat and continue to whisk until cool. (Or, until you get bored and wander off, whichever happens first, ahem.)
– To assemble the cake place the first layer on your serving plate and top with a dollop of frosting. Carefully but quickly spread this out to close to the edges. Try not to go over a spot more than once. Just smooth and move on.
– Repeat with the remaning layers until you reach the top. You should have about half the frosting left.
– Generously frost the top of the cake, being a little more artistic withthe swirls this time. Again, try to only make one pass.
– Smooth the remaining icing round the sides with a palate knife to create a smooth side. Make sure the frosting on the top and sides joins together and meets the plate at the bottom.
– Decorate as you wish.
Once iced this will keep uncut for a few days before serving.