When decorating birthday cakes, I love finding a way to make them a little less ordinary.
My almost mother in law (Mr Di-licious and I haven’t made it down the aisle, yet) loves quilling. I’ve never done quilling myself but I thought it would make an excellent design feature for her 70th birthday cake.
Quilling is essentially rolled up strips of paper, arranged into beautiful patterns. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to emulate the effect with thin strips of fondant. A couple of attempts later, I realised I really needed to use gumpaste. The strips need to be rolled out really thin, allowed to dry slightly and then rolled up– quilled.
I made a variety of different shapes in different colours as well as a stylised 7-0. The final design didn’t follow an existing pattern – it just sort of happened. If you look closely you can see flower shapes in there.
The tablecloth idea was actually a work around. Originally I’d planned to cover the whole ganached cake in white fondant but I wasn’t having a good morning with the rolling pin. Some days are like that.
Rather than admit defeat I used my cake turntable with the scalloped edge as a template and cut around it with a scalpel. I then ‘set the cake’ with the ‘cloth’ and let it drape. I used a cake dowel to create the eyelet holes.
As with most things, invention is the mother of necessity. I think the final tablecloth look actually suited the cake so much better. And being unusual, it attracted a lot of compliments from guests and the party gal herself.
Aside from looking pretty on the outside, this cake is di-licious to the core. I’ve actually found a new favourite chocolate cake recipe courtesy of the very talented Rosie at Sweetapolita. Her Rich and Dark Chocolate Cake has knocked my socks off. It was love at first bite.
Moist and flavoursome without being overly sweet. It’s perfect! And... it cuts like a dream. I filled the cake with vanilla buttercream and covered the whole cake in dark chocolate ganache. Using a knife dipped in hot water we cut perfect slices of cake.
|Olive and I snuck a couple of slices of birthday cake home for a tea party the next day.|
For the benefit of Australian readers I’ve converted Sweetapolita’s recipe to aussie measurements. Fill with your favourite frosting or keep it deliciously simple with whipped cream and strawberries.
Next time I’m going to try my hand at Swiss Meringue Buttercream and pipe pink ruffles just like Sweetapolita!
Rich and Dark Chocolate Cake
Makes two 9 inch cakes or standard 24 cupcakes
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
2/3 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup strong black coffee (I used espresso coffee but strong instant would work as well)
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 9-inch cake tins with baking paper.
- Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer.
- Add remaining wet ingredients, and using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for two minutes. The mixture will be runny.
- Pour the mixture into the two prepared tins equally.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes, rotating pans after 20 minutes. Cakes are cooked when a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
- Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes and then turn out of tins. Allow to cool completely.
- Cake can be successfully frozen by wrapping well in cling wrap.
For cupcakes, fill cases only half full – they rise a lot! Bake for 20-25minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.