When you have a chocolate cake covered with dark chocolate ganache decorated with vanilla butter cream frosting that’s what you call your recipe! chocolate love 🙂 The birthday of 2 special people in my life and it was my good luck that they happen to live under the same roof and even better that they are both chocoholics! But it was not that simple when it came to creating this surprise cake for them. Here is an outline of the plan / process that went into this cake:
- Make a complicated plan to bake and decorate this cake outside the home we share
- Smuggle the oven and other baking equipment from 1 place to another (this happened right in front of the b’day babies)
- Conjour up fake excuses to be out of the house the entire day to actually make the cake
- Battle electricity outage issues while baking….
And considering that this was my first attempt at frosting a cake using ganache, icing the cake using piping nozzles and hiding the cake so that the birthday babies wouldn’t notice and not to mention preventing it from melting in this lovely Chennai weather, you can say that it was physically and emotionally exhausting! I could make it all happen thanks to my parents who shopped for the ingredients and helped me with the smuggling and creative process and in-laws who helped hide the cake. This was the result……OK! SOme of it might look like a kindergarten kid decided to have a field day with the piping nozzles but then this was my first time doing everything other than baking a cake so I deserve to be excused 🙂
I forget how many countless recipes I checked online to make an eggless cake and ganache or the number of you tube videos I watched to learn some icing basics! Not to forget the icing recipe – I was lost in a world of butter cream and fresh cream frosting for many days and made several little notes on yellow post-its. I had to customize the recipes to yield smaller servings and not the industrial quantify recipes google throws up! Here are the details of my first ever decorated cake
- Flour – 1.5 cups
- Cocoa Powder – 3 tbsps
- Sugar – 1 cup. I used a little less than 1 cup as I was going to cover the cake with ganache and ice it.
- Oil – 1/4 cup. Use any kind of vegetable oil or sunflower oil
- Baking Soda – 1 tsp. I felt that the cake should have used a little less than 1 tsp as the top of my cake became too crispy. 1/2 tsp would have been better
- Lemon Juice / vinegar – 3 tbsp. I used lemon juice
- Milk – 1 cup. The original recipe called for water but I substituted this with milk
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
- Pre-heat your oven to about 180 degree celsius
- Sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and add all the wet ingredients to the dry mix and whisk well. I used an electric mixer – If you do not happen to have one, no worries, you can mix using a normal whisker
- Grease the bottom and sides of your cake pan well with butter or oil. I used oil. Next time however I plan to line my cake pan with some butter paper. This would help to avoid parts of the cake sticking to the pan and allow easier transfer of the cake to a serving plate [not to mention easier cleaning of the cake pan :)]
- Dust the cake pan with some cocoa powder and gently add the cake mixture to the pan and pop it in the oven when it is ready and allow the cake to bake for about 35-40 minutes. Just relax and enjoy the satisfaction of watching your cake rise. Adding the cocoa powder helps the cake batter to not stick to the bottom of the pan
Test the cake by inserting a tooth pick or sharp knife into the cake to check if it has been fully baked. If the knife comes back with some sticky batter on it, you would need to bake the cake some more. I suggest a test every 5 minutes if the cake has been cooking for more than 35 minutes. When the cake is done, let it cool on a cooling rack. The cake should be completely cool before you can decorate it
- 200 grams fresh cream – I used Nilgris fresh cream
- 150 grams dark chocolate chips – They had only 1 100 gram pack at Nilgris so I also used 2 Nestle dark chocolate bars (about 23 grams each) to get close to the 150 grams mark. Though I personally feel 180 grams of chocolate would have ben great 😉
Empty the fresh cream in a microwave safe bowl and add the chocolate chips and broken chocolate pieces(that were used in my case) Microwave the mixture for about 2 minutes and then whisk the chocolate and cream to blend them carefully
Continue this process in bursts of 2 minutes and whisk well after each trip to the microwave
My ganache was ready after about 4 trips, [about 8 minutes]. The chocolate had melted and incorporated well with the cream. I let it cool and before I could use it. The ganache will look like beautiful liquid silk chocolate and do not resist the urge to not taste it 😉
Butter Cream Frosting
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar. Don’t bother wasting money on buying powdered sugar. I just powdered the sugar using a mixer
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp vanilla essence
- 2-2.5 tsp milk
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature. It should not be runny or melted but just soft enough to be whisked
- Whip the butter until it is fluffy. Add the vanilla essence, add a little bit of the powdered sugar and whisk the mix again. Stop and add more sugar and about 1 tsp of milk and mix again.
- Continue this process until all the sugar goes into the icing mixture. If the mixture is too thick add some more drops of milk and whisk again. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar. The icing mix should be thick enough to fill a small bag with a piping nozzle – Let the mixture cool a bit before you can start using it.
Filling a piping bag
- Find a clear medium sized plastic or zip log bag.
- Snip a small corner at the bottom of the bag and insert the piping nozzle so that tip points out of the bag
- Fill the bag with the icing mix and squeeze all sides so that the nozzle is also filled with the icing mix – do not put too much of the mix into the bag.
- Bring the top ends of the bag together and tighten it with a rubber band .
- The icing is ready to use – Do watch some you tube videos to check how you can ice a cake
Bringing it together
Whisk the chocolate ganache once again before you can use it. If it has become too thick, add a few drops of milk and microwave it for about 30 seconds to get a smooth liquid silk consistency. Using a spatula spread the chocolate ganache uniformly over the cake including the sides. Your cake should look like this:
Next, I took a piece of chocolate and grated is all over the top of the chocolate. Doesn’t it look pretty? It sure smelt good and I had messy choclate fingers 🙂 Wash your hands – just lick your fingers before you do! Take your prepared icing bag and start decorating.
Voila!! Your decorated and yummy chocolate cake is ready!!