Today’s post is about chocolate cake, and lots of it! I was asked to make a cake for CTO’s cousin Miss A’s confirmation by my sister-in-law, and my only guides from Miss A was that she likes chocolate and her favourite colours are blue and green. I did a Pinterest search for inspiration, and this cross/angel outline made with fondant flowers was chosen.
I must admit, I was a bit daunted with this cake. It’s the biggest and fanciest I’ve made to date. I’ve been making birthday cakes for my family this year since February; a Tres Leche for CTO, a Dutch Boterkoek for my father-in-law, a flourless Chocolate and Fresh Mint for my sister-in-law, and a Turkish Delight White Chocolate Mudcake for my brother-in-law. But they’ve all been relatively simple cakes. I’ve never worked with fondant before, and the last time I did a decorated cake it was for Home Economics in 2001 and I was 14!
I spent a week researching recipes and techniques. My inspiration for this cake was from a picture of a beautiful christening cake by Cakes by Claire. I found the fondant daisies tutorial on Torie Jayne, it’s a great how-to that I found really easy to follow. The cake itself was a bit harder. I needed a recipe that would do well in a big tin, and I found it at Exclusively Food. They have a chart with ingredient quantities for different size cake pans, which means you don’t need a calculator to make a big or small cake. The ganache is from Lea’s Cooking, and it’s wonderful. She has recipes for dark, milk and white, and I’ve made the dark as well, minus the alcohol.
I haven’t included a recipe for the fondant flowers, I used pre-made white fondant and I coloured it myself. If you want to try making them, have a look at the tutorial and grab some supplies from your local cake decorating shop.
I’m sorry for not including step-by-step photo’s of how I iced the cake, but it totally slipped my mind. I trimmed off the edges and evened up the top, including using extra white chocolate melts in the corners to make it all nice and level. I cemented down the cake crumbs with a thin layer of ganache, then popped the cake in the freezer to harden. I then used a palate knife to spread the ganache up the sides and over the top of the cake, then I pressed the fondant flowers into the top of the ganache. Icing a cake this size takes about 1-1.5 hours to do, including chilling.
The cake was a hit, Miss A loved it and it tasted awesome! Nice and chocolatey, and the white ganache gave it a nice creamy sweetness that complemented the richness of the cake quite well. Very moreish, one piece was more than enough!
Time: Approximately 1hr Preparation, 2.5 hr Cooking
- 300g dark chocolate
- 200g milk chocolate
- 500g salted butter
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 ¼ cups plain flour
- ½ plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarb/baking soda
- 5 cups caster sugar
- 8 extra large eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius not fan-forced, or 150 degrees Celsius for fan-forced ovens.
Grease the side and base of a large cake pan, 28-30cm square pan or approximately 32cm round tin. Line base and side of the pan with non-stick baking paper, extending the paper a few centimetres above the top rim of the pan.
Place chocolate, butter, coffee and water in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate and butter have melted, remove mixture from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda together into a very large bowl. Whisk the caster sugar into the flour mixture until well combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk together until well mixed, then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it forms a batter.
Add the chocolate mixture to the cake batter in a three batches, stirring until chocolate is combined after each addition.
Pour cake mixture into prepared pan, then cover top with foil.
Bake for 2 hours covered, then final 30 minutes uncovered. Insert a thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer into the centre of the cake to test whether it is cooked through between 2 and 2.5 hours. If the knife/skewer comes out clean or with moist crumbs (not gooey batter) attached, the cake is ready.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan.
When the cake has cooled to room temperature, remove it from the pan. The top surface of the cake will may have a crunchy crust, which you might like to trim off before icing.
Notes: The cooking time for the cake is an approximate, and is what worked for my oven. Keep an eye on the cake, if your oven tends to burn hotter keep it at a lower temperature and cook it for longer.
Adapted from Exclusively Food
White Chocolate Ganache
Time: 20min Cooking + Cooling
- 1.2kg white chocolate (I used a combination of eating and cooking chocolate)
- 600mL thickened cream
Place cream and white chocolate into a large saucepan and stir or whisk on low heat until melted. Remove from heat once the mixture starts to bubble.
Pour ganache through a sieve into a bowl or glass jug to cool to get to your spreading consistency.
Notes: The ganache can be refrigerated and remelted at another time. Just give it a few short bursts in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals, or use the double boiler method on the stove.
Adapted from Lea’s Cooking