I was delighted when I was asked to make my niece Sahara’s very first birthday cake! Mum left it completely up to me and I spent the next week sifting through design ideas and recipes. I soon settled on a fondant covered cake and not long after picked a classic chocolate cake recipe. I can’t remember the last time I made a chocolate cake, when I first started baking Chocolate seemed to be they only flavour I desired but now I find my preference leaning towards the more fruity varieties but who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake?
Next was the cake design. I knew early on I didn’t want to go with a ‘pink’ theme. It bothers me at times just how much little girls are drowned in the colour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous colour and I am a fan (owning lots of pink things myself) but little girls seem to be constantly bombarded with it. I went to a baby shower for a baby girl recently and seemed to be the only person who didn’t wrap their present in pink paper! Does this bother anyone else?! Anyhoo, after much searching I decided on a cake design inspired by Sunshine1102.
I made fondant icing for the first time with this cake. I must say it worked wonderfully, tasted better and cost a lot less then the store bought variety. I went for a ‘Marshmallow Fondant’ which is extremely easy: essentially you just melt the marshmallows and slowly add icing (confectioner’s) sugar until you reach a moldable, rollable consistency your happy with. I made my fondant the day before needed but I think next time I will make it at the time required, I found it a little hard to get back to a moldable consistency. It had gone hard and required a few zapps in the microwave to soften it back up again. It was no big deal really, but I loved how soft and perfect it was when freshly made.
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com
- 1 3/4 cups plain (all-purpose flour)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line 2x 20cm (8-inch) round cake pans with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients to the wet. Then add the coffee and stir until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Place 1 layer on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Cover with Marshmallow fondant if using.
Rina’s Chocolate Frosting
I did a cake decorating course a couple of years ago. Our teacher, Rina had some fantastic recipes which she shared with us. This is her chocolate frosting recipe.
Makes enough to cover 1 double cake or 2 regular cakes.
- 6-8 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
- 4 very heaped tbs of cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 eggs
- 500g (1.1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
- 3tbs of strong freshly made coffee, cooled
- Add eggs, butter, coffee and cocoa powder to a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until combined.
- Beat in 1 cup of icing sugar to the butter mixture at a time until the desired consistency is reached. This mixture can be frozen.