The Cake Idea
Deciding what sort of cake to bake for my daughter's 17th birthday was not easy. It's an awkward age - she's not an adult yet (no matter what she thinks) but she's no longer a child either. What we settled on was a great chocolate cake with a decadent orange buttercream filling and a fun and fresh flowery decoration.
Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 3 eggs
- 7 oz melted chocolate (cooled to room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups 00 flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cup whole milk
Pre-heat oven to 340 F / 170 C and line a 9 inch rectangular baking pan with baking paper.
Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Once the butter and sugar are well mixed, add the eggs one at a time. Keeping the mixer on slow speed, gradually incorporate the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder. Now alternate between adding a cup of flour and a little of the milk until all the ingredients are incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour the cake batter into the baking pan and place in center of oven for 35 - 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
A great loaf pan, ideal for baking this cake.
Fantastic wire cooling racks
Useful parchment paper roll
- 18 tbsps softened butter (or 1 cup and 2 tbsp)
- 3.5 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
- 4 tsp Valencia orange extract (or similar)
- Few drops of red and yellow food coloring to create orange color.
Place the butter into a large bowl and sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Mix at slow speed to avoid making a mess with the sugar. Add in the orange extract and food coloring and mix until you have the desired color.
Put the frosting into a large piping bag and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
Assemble The Cake
Once the cake is cooled, make three cuts horizontally to create four layers of cake. Be careful here - you want the layers to be as even as possible. Place one layer of cake onto a sheet of parchment paper on a flat tray or plate. Pipe buttercream frosting onto this layer and then add another layer of cake. Repeat the process until you have used all the frosting and have a layer of chocolate cake on the top. Pop into the refrigerator to allow the flavors to settle and the cake to firm up a little. Don't worry if it looks a little untidy at this stage - fondant covers a multitude of sins.
These are essential tools for creating a floral themed cake.
Disposable piping bags - cut down on messy clean-up
To save a lot of time, use ready made fondant from the grocery store. You can buy this in slabs, or ready rolled. If you need to roll it out, then roll out in a rectangle which is large enough to cover the cake. Use apricot jam, melted down with a little water to glaze the cake so that the fondant will stick. Cover the cake with the plain fondant, smoothing down the sides and trimming at the base so that the fondant fits the size of the cake.
Now make the decorations by coloring fondant with food coloring or gel and rolling out to around 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out two sizes of flowers and layer two together. Also cut out some butterflies or leaves or any other shape you feel will go with your theme. If you have some edible pearls, use these for the center of the flowers. Using a small brush and apricot glaze, stick the flowers onto the plain fondant-covered cake. When you are satisfied with the results, place the cake in a safe place and leave for at least 2 hours for the fondant to dry a little and so that the sponge cake can return to room temperature. Serve when ready.