Cake decorating is a hobby in which I am constantly learning new things. I enjoy trying new techniques for the first time, and even if it doesn't work out perfect, I know I'll get better at it with practice. I made this cake for my Mum's birthday late last year and it involved lots of firsts as it was my first tiered cake and my first time making wired and beaded decorations. The cake design is from the book Cakes to Inspire and Desire by Lindy Smith which I am able to borrow from my local library (very handy!). It gives great detail on how to make the decorations and even a beginner like me was able to pull it off.
The bottom tier is my all time fav choc mud cake recipe with chocolate ganache, and the top tier is a very moist orange poppy seed cake from hungry kittens blog with cream cheese frosting. As you can see in the pictures, the top tier is far from perfect and this is mostly because the icing was too soft under the fondant. Next time, I would use either a white chocolate ganache (as it sets firm) or a crusting buttercream. Also, I really like the taste and texture of this orange poppy seed cake recipe, however it always seems to sink in the middle for me which is a big pain.
Chocolate Mud Cake
from Exclusively Food
250g chocolate (125g dark + 125g milk)
1 tsp instant coffee powder
188ml (¾ cup) water
325g (2 cups + 2 Tbs) plain flour
30g (¼ cup + 2 tsp) cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
550g (2½ cups) caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 Tbs (40ml) oil (peanut, canola or mild-flavoured oil)
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
125ml (½ cup) buttermilk (*can substitute with ½ tsp lemon juice/vinegar, make up to ½ cup with milk and let sit for 10 minutes)
1. Preheat oven to 160°C(not fan-forced). Grease a deep 23cm or 24cm round cake pan. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper, extending the paper a few centimetres above the top rim of the pan.
2. 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 lukewarm/room temperature.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a very large bowl. Add the caster sugar and stir until well combined.
4. In a medium bowl place eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk together until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
5. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and flour mixture in a three batches, stirring until combined after each addition.
6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes (24cm pan) or 1 hour 30 minutes (23cm pan). Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake to test whether it is cooked through. If it comes out clean or with moist crumbs (not gooey batter) attached, the cake is ready.
7. Remove cake from oven, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to cool in the pan. The top surface of the cake will probably have a crunchy crust, which can be trimmed off. Turn the cake upside down to give a flat surface for icing.
150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
84ml (⅓ cup) thickened cream (35 percent fat)