This might be one of the best birthday chocolate cakes I’ve made…I’ve never fancied really rich, gooey cakes for birthdays cos there’s always so much other food and the super fanciness and decadence of the cake will most likely be lost on the guests who have to eat chicken wings, pizza, fried fishballs, cocktail sausages and a slice of cake all at the same time. And who wants to eat dessert-quality chocolate cake on a small paper plate with a flimsy plastic fork? At the same time, that doesn’t mean birthday cakes have to be cheap and unmemorable…you have to get that right combination of spongy cake and creamy frosting which is not too rich and cloying but at the same time, flavorful enough to have guest enjoy the cake even though they may be eating it in less-than-ideal conditions.
And I think this hits the spot quite perfectly. An old-fashioned chocolate cake, sanwiched and covered with a thick layer of creamy chocolate ganache and topped with sweet buttercream and fresh strawberries. Not too bad, if I say so myself. *smile*
The cake recipe was adapted form Chocylit’s latest cupcake creation. I used the recipe, added a teaspoon of baking powder, reduced the coffee by half and baked it in a 9″ round tin to get one tall cake which I then halved. The cake was really yummy and the coffee was just enough to give the chocolate flavor some depth without having any pronounced coffee taste. The layers were then sandwiched with Martha Stewart’s chocolate ganache. I must say however, that the recipe, as it appears on her site, did not work for me at ALL. The ganache never thickened, even after I whipped it for over ten minutes…maybe it was the sweltering heat, I dunno. But I modified the recipe a little, and thankfully it came out fine…only that the ganache definitely needs constant refridgeration. Anyways, I coated the cake with one layer, then kept it in the fridge for about 30mins, then gave it another coat of ganache. Again in the fridge for another 30 minutes before piping on the buttercream and decorating with fruit. Another chilling session for at least 3 hours before serving.
This is my version of the ganache…
(makes enough to fill and coat a 9″ cake plus more)
2 cups (500ml) whipping cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Cadbury Old-Gold and Ghirardelli)
1/8 cup golden syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1. Bring the cream to a full boil in a small saucepan. It should get all puffy and rise up. Quickly switch off the heat and pour in the chopped chocolate. Using a whisk, slowly stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Stir in the syrup and salt. Transfer into a clean bowl and let cool completely, about 45 mins. Frequently stir the mixture during this time.
3. Bung the bowl into the fridge to thicken, about half and hour to 45 mins, stirring vigorously with a whisk every 5-10 mins.
4. Remove the ganache from the fridge and beat on med-high until the ganache thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Use immediately or if you think its too soft, put it back in the fridge to thicken a little.
Note: It is a little fiddly, this ganache, but it tastes great….rich and creamy…of course, the finished product solely depends on the quality of the ingredients that goes into it. Use good quality chocolate…it makes a helluva difference.
By the way, we finally cut slice of the month-old fruitcake and I have to say, it was worth the wait. Dark and sweet, my dad proclaimed it “solid”. haha. I think brushing it with orange juice every few days worked cos the slices had a pleasant citrusy fragrance…I think I’ll bake one within the next few days for Christmas.