Tag Archives: ganache

Chocolate brownie “Hat” cake

Winter babies are the best. (And to me, there are only 2 seasons in the year: Summer, and Winter. Don’t worry if you’re a summer baby, though, it was winter somewhere). So lately there have been a lot of awesome birthdays, all starting with my mother dearest’s. We always have family braais (BBQs) to celebrate things, so this time we decided to spice it up a little by adding a theme: it was a hat braai. My mother is so creative (I am being sarcastic but also not… You will see why next week).

One of mom's friends went to the effort of making a personalised fun hat

One of mom’s friends went to the effort of making a personalised fun hat

This mother dearest of mine requested a hat cake for her birthday party. I was up for a challenge, but on Pinterest, all the hatness was made out of fondant, which I am really NOT a fan of. I decided to try find an alternative, but would settle for that sweetened playdough if I had to. I came across this recipe for marshmallow fondant. I love marshmallows. It was surely going to be a winner.

Alas, my marshmallow fondant did not hold together as it was supposed to, and I ended up having to scrap that idea, though the cake mountain was already cut and moulded, buttercream layer ready for its coating of neatness. It was too late to go the fondant route now, though, so I just drizzled my remaining milk chocolate ganache over the top of the buttercream frosting. The cake was also presented on a conveniently shaped (though subtle) plate, so the whole ‘hat’ effect was not entirely lost.

Happy birthday mumzicle

Happy birthday mumzicle!

The cake recipe I used was one that has “failed” in the past for me (the taste was amazing then too). It turned out a bit differently this time, a little less fluffy and moist, more like a decadent brownie (though less fudgy than a brownie). I am going to put this down to the altitude, because this is the second time my cake has come out slightly more dense than when I made it down in Grahamstown.

Chocolate brownie "almost-hat" cake. Dense and moist chocolate cake layered with milk chocolate ganache, with chocolate buttercream frosting, and milk chocolate ganache drizzle

Chocolate brownie “almost-hat” cake. Dense and moist chocolate cake layered with milk chocolate ganache, with chocolate buttercream frosting, and milk chocolate ganache drizzle

Chocolate brownie cake 

For the cake

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 150g dark chocolate – melted (as usual I used my Bournville favourite)
  • 150g butter
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml milk (as needed for mixing)
  • ¼ cup strong coffee (room temperature)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together
  4. Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture and mix until combined
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients. Once they are incorporated into the mixture, add the vanilla, melted dark chocolate and coffee
  6. Mix well. Use milk to loosen the batter until it is of semi-pourable consistency
  7. Divide into 3 pre-greased cake tins, and place on the middle shelf
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is springy to touch
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the cake tin
  10. Assemble

 

For the Ganache

  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 60ml cream

Method

  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl. Place this bowl on top of a pot of steaming/simmering water. This is called a bain-marie
  2. Melt the chocolate and cream together, stirring until smooth
  3. Allow to cool slightly before pouring between the cake layers, and especially before pouring on top of the buttercream frosting

 

For the Chocolate buttercream frosting 

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 30ml milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. Cream the butter and add the icing sugar. Mix until well-combined, smooth and creamy
  2. Heat up the milk and add the cocoa powder. Mix until dissolved. Allow to cool before adding to the icing, as this will melt the butter
  3. Add the chocolate milk to the icing, and mix until well-combined and creamy
  4. Ice your cake

What happens when you don’t let your cake cool

One of the perks of being a student is that you get a free adrenalin rush every time you have an assignment to hand in that you obviously only finished at the last minute. Man, that buzz!

Oooo the buzz!

To live life even more on the edge this morning, I decided I wanted to bake a cake. I had finally figured out my recipe for MY chocolate cake, and all its icings and frostings, and it was going to be wonderful, and in the true nature of spontaneity, I wanted to make it NOW! As in, today. Imma have cake for breakfast man, I don’t care that I have to hand my essay in two hours from now. Cakes are quick to make, right? Well, they are. The thing that takes the time is the cooling.

The cake came out delicious: perfectly fluffy. I just need to make it even more chocolate-y, because you can never have enough chocolate! But, like I said, that cooling time… Sigh, I gave up waiting when we had to leave in 10 minutes and I hadn’t even assembled anything. It’s kinda cool, right? Wrong. The thing completely broke – a crack right down the middle: it was wonderful to watch.

Toughest part of making the cake: using a manual hand-mixer - I literally had to crank it to get them to whisk

Toughest part of making the cake: using a manual hand-mixer – I literally had to crank it to get them to whisk

I started out so well!

I started out so well!

It was too late to do anything about it, however, so into a plastic container it went to be rushed to Uni so I could submit my essay. Best breakfast ever!

It is a delicious mess, that will be rectified and properly shared in the near future. When I can buy more 70% dark chocolate (it was on sale this weekend – that shtuff’s expensive!). Oh, and who needs spoons?

The cake worked very well in theory, and many components were delicious and successful indeed. I must say, however, that I am not sold on cream cheese frosting, so that will definitely change in my next attempt.

Perhaps I could pass this off as some kind of pudding rather than a layer cake? It doesn't matter, it tastes delicious anyway!

Perhaps I could pass this off as some kind of pudding rather than a layer cake? It doesn’t matter, it tastes delicious anyway!