You will believe me if I told you that this is the cake I baked for my daughter's birthday last month. The 4-year-old also frosted and decorated the cake, with my help of course. You will believe this as well... but hey no, I decorated this one (wish you could see my sheepish expression:-). The post hence comes with some deliberation and struggle (will tell you why). But I better make sure the birthday cakes of my kids are presentable enough from next year to avoid dealing with one or both demanding ''Why is my 4th/10th/12th birthday cake not on the blog???''. Or even worse if I don't post one of the kids' cakes, ''Think you love him/her more than you love me'' during the teenage phase. I remember when my son was about 2 years old and I had taken him to the library. Was getting all flustered and irritated running behind him, grumbled and whined to another Mom(of older kids) browsing there. I really was hoping for some empathy and sympathy from her. The amused lady just said,'' Enjoy this phase, teenagers are the worst!!''. I sincerely hope I don't have to remember this lady when my kids grow up to be teenagers...Like all other mothers, I believe at every phase that this has been the toughest phase I am going through as a mother. And like all mothers, I think in retrospect, that the phase which went by was better than the current one:-)
As my little angel(?) turned 4, it was time for a cake again. I have to and don't have to think hard for her birthday cake. Have to think because she is choosy about what she eats, when in doubt, will sniff food and decide if she will eat it or not. And she does not like nuts in everything, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, peanut butter and chikki some exceptions to this rule. I don't have to think much as she invariably wants a chocolate cake. So it has to be a different chocolate cake for each birthday, God and you folks must help me!
This year, we had to celebrate her birthday in the morning as we had to attend a wedding in the evening on the same day. I was busy at work, hence not much prior preparation or planning ( Nothing new I am telling you I know, but am usually a little better than this year). I baked a chocolate cake and put it on the rack to cool, went back to my desk. I come back annnd... Trala! the cake has a cute little crater in it!! Crumbs of chocolate cake on her hand and around her mouth, she very sweetly told me that the cake looked very 'yummmmy' so she ate it...That's it, simple - If you look at it from her perspective. For me, conflicting emotions - should I bring the roof down yelling at her or fling myself on the bed and cry like a heroine in a 70's movie? (and you thought I would say something like 'should I kiss her a misty eyed mother's kiss or scream at her') Reality won at last. Long story short, baked another cake that night, filled and frosted it the next morning just before the kids arrived. And this is my excuse for putting up a clumsy looking cake here. Good excuse I hope?:-))
The chocolate cake this time was from the book, 'Cakes And Cake Decorating'. A lovely cake with melted chocolate and butter, which tasted good as is when eaten plain freshly baked (no this time, it was me who made the crater, OK, slice in the cake, had baked in 2 tins) and more chocolaty when filled and slathered with ganache and served at room temperature...
I had wanted to take a picture of her, after a lot of coaxing, she allowed me this one, before this one...
This recipe makes quite a large, tall cake, should serve more than 15 people. As I do not have a big tin of the right size, I divided the batter between 2 tins and baked it. You could bake as per the original recipe.
The original recipe uses a brandy and raspberry glaze, and a filling and frosting of ganache with brandy added to it. The cake is in the original recipe is chilled. I have filled and frosted with thickened ganache and served at room temperature.
Dark chocolate - 200 grams ( the recipe has plain chocolate, refer note)
Butter, diced - 115 grams / 1/2 cup
Water - 2/3 cup
Granulated sugar - 250 grams (the recipe has 275 grams equal to 1 1/3 cup, refer note)
Vanilla essence/ extract - 2 teaspoons
Eggs -2 , separated
Yogurt - 3/4 cup (the recipe has sour cream)
APF - 3 cups/ 350 grams
Baking powder - 2 teaspoons
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Procedure: Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F. Grease a 10 inch round springform tin, line with baking parchment. I have used one 8'' round tin and the remaining batter in a 6'' round tin. Grease and flour the tin lightly. Measure out all the ingredients and keep ready.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Keep aside. Separate the eggs. Reserve the yolks. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Keep aside. I do this in the beginning as I have one set of beaters and I do not want to stop, wash, clean and dry them for whipping egg whites, prefer to do this when the beaters are clean. If you can, you can whip the whites at the last stage when needed.
In a saucepan, over low heat, carefully melt the chocolate, butter and water, stirring in between. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl. You will be mixing the rest of the ingredients in this bowl. Beat in the sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture and cool. Beat the egg yolks lightly and beat into this mixture. Gently fold in the yogurt. Sift the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Gently fold it in. Fold in the egg whites. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes or till the cake begins to shrink away form the sides of the pan. I baked the 8'' cake for about 40 minutes, you could check at 30 minutes to not over bake. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Do not over bake.
Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. the cake may sink in the center, this is normal, says the recipe. One of my cakes sank a bit in the center as you can see, the other did not.
Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake, invert on the rack. Allow to cool completely.
For the ganache:
Dark chocolate chopped fine - 1 1/2 Cups
Cream - 1 1/4 Cup, I have used 25% fat, Amul
Unsalted butter - 1 tablespoon
Bring the cream and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan, over low heat. Boil for a full minute, taking care not to burn the cream. Take off the heat. Gently stir in the chocolate and leave for 2-3 minutes, till the chocolate dissolves completely. Chopping the chocolate fine helps it to dissolve faster. Stir gently with a spatula till it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Do not stir or whisk vigorously as it may cause the ganache to become grainy. Strain the ganache, cover the bowl with a cling film. Chill in the fridge till thick and of spreadable consistency.
You could also pour the ganache if you wish, in this case, no need to refrigerate the same.
Place the cake on the cake platter and spread the frosting. Decorate with chocolate curls and berries and serve at room temperature. I had strawberries in the fridge which I could have used, but then it would have not pleased my daughter as much as the heart shaped sprinkles did. Her day after all!
Note: Sugar- I have reduced the sugar as I have used dark chocolate where the recipe calls for plain chocolate. If using plain chocolate the original amount of sugar should work fine, I have never used plain chocolate though...
The result: A cake with good chocolate flavor without too much in the face kind of chocolatey-ness ( no such word?) I liked it plain freshly baked and also liked it with the ganache the next day. Though the cake has yogurt and water, it was not really the moist, moist cake which can be made ahead and still be eaten as is and moist the next day. But definitely very good freshly baked sans the ganache too.