The picture above is of a recipe featured in the current issue of ‘Foodtown’ magazine. Upon seeing it I instantly fell in love and had to make it! I had the perfect excuse as it was time to make a cake to celebrate Max’s ‘eight month birthday’. I envisioned a cake just like the one in the magazine except with duck egg blue frosting and a cute mint green teddy bear sitting on top instead of a rose. However, it didn’t quite work out as I had planned; the frosting was fantastic (albeit a little too sweet/buttery for my palette), the colouring on the other hand was more green than blue (and yes I definitely used blue colouring but as I wanted a soft blue I didn’t use enough) and the cake tasted fantastic but was a wee bit of a disaster – with a collapsed middle :-(
I think I know why that happened and can give you pointers on how to avoid it. For starters the recipe calls for you to divide your cake batter into three 15cm round cake tins or one 22cm tin, which is what I did. I would recommend taking the 15cm option as I found using the 22cm tin meant the cake was becoming overcooked on the top and sides. It also rose a little too high and started to collapse and although my skewer removed cleanly after the recommended cooking time it was a little fudgey in the middle. This resulted in a two layer cake as opposed to three after levelling it off because of it collapsing. If I decide to make this again I will get my hands on some 15cm tins. If you want to use a 22cm tin I would drop the oven temperature by 10°C and cook the cake for 70 minutes.
cocoa for dusting
60 grams of 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup hot water
1 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups caster sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¾ cup butter milk
1 ½ cups caster sugar
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300 grams butter (soft but not runny)
colouring and decorations of your choice
Preheat your oven to 160°C. Line and spray the bases of three 15cm tins (or one 22cm tin with baking paper. Spray with oil and dust with cocoa, tapping off the excess.
Place the chocolate and hot water into a bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl and set aside.
Place eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on a medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until pale and thick. Gradually add in the sugar, oil and vanilla essence. Beat well. Add the buttermilk and beat until combined.
Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate and gently fold together, be careful not to over mix.
Place batter into the prepared tin/s. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes (or until your skewer removes cleanly) – the recipe recommends baking a 22cm cake for an hour (see my notes in the introduction to this recipe). Once cooked, set aside to cool in tins.
To make the buttercream, place the sugar and egg whites into a heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water). Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved, about five minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and place the egg white mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on a medium-high speed until the mixture is cool, thick and glossy white. Add vanilla essence.
Gradually add the butter, mixing well after each addition until it has been absorbed into the egg white mixture. Add a few drops of colouring and mix until combined. The buttercream should have a whipped cream consistency of whipped cream.
To assemble, cut each cake into three layers. Spread or pipe the buttercream between each layer and top of your cakes with decorations of your choice.
The cake batter, my collapsed disaster, the meringue base for the frosting, cake done, teddy bear topper.
My favourite part of the cake was actually the teddy bear topper. I used this video tutorial to learn, although I made my teddy a little bigger.