Tuesday 3 April 2018

Top Cake - Attempt 1

So the cupcakes are pretty much sorted, so time to work on the top cake. This is both easier, and harder....it's just one thing, but it meeds to be a bit more dramatic. I had an idea in mind, and decided to use Easter to see how it looked. Rather than work through the recipe normally (there is nothing new here, just construction), thought I'd do an annotated picture.

Chocolate Cake

This was another variant of the Dobos Torte receipe that I've re-used many times now. This was a larger batch again, and chocolate flavoured
  • 6 eggs
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa
I then did;
  • 6 x 18cm discs (100g of mixture each) - bake for 6 minues
  • 4 x 8cm discs (25g mixture each) - bake for 5 minutes
While I like this style of cake, I think it didn't work as well as I hoped. Firstly, the volume of the mixture was so great that the folding in of the flour and cocoa was tricky, and I had dry blobs. Secondly, 18cm discs are right on the limit of me fitting 2 on an oven tray, and it made getting the discs done a bit slow. The cake itself is lovely, and goes well with the buttercream, however I think I may be able to make life easier on myself.
Next Time : I'm going to try doing 2-3 larger cakes...so less layers. This will require use of tins (I'll need 2-3 deep 18cm cake tins). The top tier shouldd be slightly wider (~10cm), and a bit lower (3 layers)...mainly to sort out the scale on the cake, and partly as the cake is just too tall to fit in my largest cake carrier!

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream

This is one of my staple icings for larger cakes...it's nice and light, and sets well. It's actually quite simple to make as well;
  • 3 egg whites
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 320g butter (room temperature)
  • 200g dark (50%) chocolate
So I had some discussion on Facebook around this...this icing is lovely, though possibly a bit too light coloured to get serious constrast against the white chocolate ganache.
Next Time : This will be a white chocolate ganache, so swapping the base colour of the cake to white/ivory. Thi is more to do with how fiddly white chocolate gaanche is to work with, however I think that brown/white stripes inside will be more impactful anyhow. The main change here will be using a different chocolate, and some vanilla extract.

White Chocolate Ganache

So, I'll be frank about this, I don't like working with white chocolate ganache..it's got a gloopy texture that makes it very hard to get a smooth layer on. You also have to be very careful with the amount of cream, or it never properly sets...
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 45g double cream
Next Time : This is going to be dark chocolate ganache (75g/75g dark chocolate and cream). It's easier to work with, and will give a high contrast agains the (now) white icing.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

This is my standard 50/50 mixture, however next time I won't be using a second ganache
 Next Time : The contrast piping will be done using the (white) chocolate buttercream. I used this to edge the cake, hide the joins, and stick the decorations on, using a small star nozzle, and mainly doing rosettes (simple, but effective). Using the buttercream will give more colour consistency across the cake.

Top Strawberries

These are simply two matched strawberries, with a cocktail stick to attach them and stand them upright. The intention is to have one dipped in dark chocolate, and one in white to act as a cake topper (along with the plinth). The only change here is actually dipping them,

Cut Strawberries

These are a decoration to add some height and colour to the cake. They are....OK, however I think I'd prefer something a little different. Options are;
  • Small macarons (red)
  • Small french meringues (red)
  • Small cupcakes (red)
So something red. The ledge they sit on will be slightly smaller (as the plinth is slightly wider). I'll have a think on this...there is no big time pressure, and strawberries are a decent fallback.