I love having a family with good taste. It means I get to spoil them with experiments and I get to enjoy the benefits, both of actually putting together something delicious, and of enjoying it (I am still trying to figure out which one I enjoy more… thankfully it’s not important to figure out, otherwise I would be in a major quandary and dilemma and I would probably end up not doing either of them. I’m weird like that).
I have a problem with reading, and I have lost my excuse since finishing University. While at school and while studying at University, I got a bit lazy to read. I absolutely love reading though, I always have, every since my Great Gran taught me how to read the children’s bible when I was 5! I got a Dictionary for my 6th birthday. Which I decided I would try and read when I was 11. Thankfully I didn’t get very far, that would have been a waste of time!
But that is my problem with reading: I feel that it is such a luxury past-time, that if I have something more “important” to be doing (such as assignments, studying, thesis, etc.), then how could I allow myself to indulge in reading? As a result I didn’t do my reading at Uni. Which isn’t to say that I got much of the other important stuff done in that time instead though, I would actually end up not doing either activity. So it really was a terrible excuse.
Now, I can’t even use that excuse because I am no longer studying! I have free time which is actually free, and it is beautiful. You could say that the free time actually adds up to the endless holidays that students get. Or at least I can tell myself that so that I don’t feel so jealous about all their time to travel and explore…
I suppose what I do do instead of reading or studying now is bake. I am ok with that. Sometimes baking requires planning and organisation and grown up things like that, so for this cake for my cousin’s 18th, I had to make a practice version of the cake. You know, to make sure it worked out alright (nothing to do with sampling or ensuring that we had our own personal “leftovers”…
For the cake
- 230g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 240g flour
- 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 250ml milk
- 125g butter
- 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Prepare two round baking tins.
- Place eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk on high until lighter in colour, thick and frothy
- Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt together and fold into the egg mixture until all ingredients are just wet
- Melt down the butter into the milk in a pot on low heat. Add the vanilla essence once mixed together
- Add butter-milk mixture to the batter and stir until it reaches a smooth consistency. Mix carefully so as to not lose any of the air in the whipped eggs
- Divide batter equally between the two cake tins and place in the preheated oven. Leave to bake for 30 minutes
- Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.
Note: for this cake, I completely flattened off both tops using a bread knife. This was so the strawberries could sit safely
For the Salted Caramel
- 1 Cup caster sugar
- 100g butter (cubes)
- 60ml cream
- Place the sugar in a pot on a medium-high heat and allow it to melt. Do not stir. Shake the pot to mix the sugar and allow the top dry sugar to get to the heat under the molten sugar
- Once a golden colour is reached and all the sugar is dissolved, add the butter and stir until melted and mixed in
- Remove from heat and add the cream, stirring vigorously until all is incorporated
- Place in a bowl/container and allow to cool before using in this cake
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 120g dark chocolate (I used Bournville)
- 80ml cream (pouring or heavy cream)
- 30g butter
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring regularly. Just before all the bits are melted, remove and keep stirring until the heat of the melted chocolate melts the remaining chocolate
- Add the butter and allow it to melt into the chocolate
- Mix in the cream until a smooth and consistent glossy chocolate mixture forms. Allow to cool slightly before use
- Heat the cream on a stove top. Once simmering, remove from heat and pour over chocolate and butter. Ensure the chocolate has been chopped into small pieces so that it melts easier.
For the Chocolate Buttercream frosting
- 110g butter softened
- 220g icing sugar
- 20g cocoa powder
- 40ml cream (or until desired texture is reached)
- Cream the butter (electric whisk on low)
- Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together, and cream together with the butter
- Add the cream in small doses to help the mixture come together and continue to do so until desired consistency is reached
- Only frost cake once cake is coooled