Baking update: Focused on decorating

Woke up one morning with a great urge to frost a cake, so the first step was baking. Only this day happened to be Monday, the day of my English conversation class.

I get into a bit of a tizzy on Monday mornings because we have the class at 10 am, and my cleaning lady comes in by 12.30. Plus it’s right after the weekend, which is Nga’s time off, so the house is not very neat. Yet, when the creative urge strikes, such mundane problems are ‘swept’ aside.

Woke up at 5.30 am as usual, and dug out this simple chocolate cake recipe – I can’t remember where I found it (probably http://www.allrecipes.com) but I couldn’t find the same recipe again. Luckily I’d written it on a sticky note and stuck it to the kitchen cabinet. Very simple, because the boring step of creaming the butter and sugar is eliminated by using oil instead of butter. Makes a very moist cake, so be sure to line the cake tin with parchment (I tried ordinary greasing & dusting once, with not-great results).

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method: Prepare a 9-inch baking tin – greased & lined with parchment paper – and preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix until there are no lumps (takes only a few minutes). The batter is quite runny. Pour the batter into the baking tin, and bake at 180 deg for 50-60 minutes. Test whether the cake is done by inserting a knife or toothpick – it should come out clean.

Now for the best part. The cake was ready by 7.30 am, and came off easily, and went straight into the freezer to cool. (This makes it easy to frost.) I had dark and white chocolate chips, which I took out into two separate bowls. Heated some light cream in a saucepan and poured it over the chips (more into the dark than the white). The chocolate started to melt, but not enough, so I heated both in the microwave for 30 sec each. Stirred them separately, and I had two beautiful glazes ready.

The cake had to sit in the freezer for over an hour, while I got the house ready for the class. Wasn’t expecting too many ladies this time, because many of them had informed me that they were either busy or travelling. So I was un-stressed.

For a change I didn’t look up decorating ideas on the net, because it only overwhelms me with too many options, and not much time. So I spread the entire white chocolate on the top and the side of the cake with my offset spatula. The white chocolate had less cream, so it set quickly on the cool cake, and I had a lovely off-white surface. Then I put a layer of dark chocolate on the sides, and some generous amounts on the top edge to give it a smooth finish. Used the back of the spatula to pour thick lines of dark chocolate on the top, widely spaced, and used the edge to get a simple, yet elegant pattern. I’m sure Reva knows what this pattern is called.

One of the ladies had already got in for the class, and had to watch me do the final steps. She was sceptical about the look of the cake, until I got the pattern. Then it was WOW! Not original in design, but gives me great pleasure to think I can do this, and maybe get more creative.

Does anyone want me to bake for them? Coz I can’t afford to have these around in the house, waiting to be eaten!

2 thoughts on “Baking update: Focused on decorating

  1. I don’t know what that pattern is called but it sure is beautiful. What I DO know, though, is that the recipe is Ina Garten’s and it is called “Beatty’s chocolate cake” in one of her books that I own. I baked the very same one last week 🙂

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