Lush Chocolate Mud Cake

People don’t want chocolate cake any more…. they want MUD.

Batter so dark it doesn't reflect light. 😛

Rich, moist, heavy, coma inducing chocolate mudcake. The goal is a cake that is so dense, and so chocolatey that after 3 or 4 bites, you can’t imagine eating anything chocolate again for at least a week.

To be honest, I love my chocolate cake light, soft & full of flavour. A beautiful chocolate sponge makes me happy.  So happy that after a piece I want to dance around, and still can because it doesn’t take away my ability to move.

The darkness of the mudcake against vanilla bean butter cream 🙂

 

Anywho, I’m not the norm. I learn’t how to make mud, because that’s what people want.  And I won’t deny, a good mudcake is a very special thing, but personally its a touch too adult for my liking. 🙂

OK, enough of my feelings about mudcake… I want to share with you the cracker recipe that I use when I need to present decadence.

This cake has a fine crumbly crust, with a moist center. It has evolved from a mish-mash of a few recipes, to something that works for me every time, and fills the brief of being rich, moist & almost too much.

Lush Chocolate Mud Cake

Ingredients

  • 220 g unsalted butter
  • 220 g chopped dark chocolate
  • 15 g instant coffee
  • 160 ml water
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 480 g castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 table spoons vegetable oil
  • 100 ml buttermilk

Grease & line 22cm  round cake tin. Cake will rise , so make sure the collar is at least 2 cm higher than the tin.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

In a saucepan over a low heat, melt butter, chocolate, coffee & water. Once smooth & combined, allow to cool.

In a bowl add eggs, oil & buttermilk. Lightly beat until combined.

In a separate large bowl, sift both flours, cocoa & bicarb. Mix in sugar, and make a well in the center.

Pour egg & chocolate mix into the well. Mix gently until combined, don’t work batter too much – if over mixed cake will not rise fully.

Pour batter into tin & bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. Poke a skewer into the center of cake, if it comes out clean its done, if its not bake for a further 10 minutes and check again.

Leave cake in tin until completely cool.

Wrapped up and kept in an air tight container this cake can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, and it can also be frozen up to a month in advance.

Hope that you enjoy this, my very first posted recipe!

Have a great weekend!

Miss Cat 😀

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A very cakey road trip – Surprise Halo 30th Birthday Cake!

Howdy!

So a few weeks ago, I went on a little holiday to help celebrate a good friends surprise 30th. The birthday boy is my partner’s best friend and co-conspirator in mischief. He is the head chef of a gorgeous little boutique place on the Sunshine Coast, and I was very privileged to work with him a few years ago, along with my partner to create his wedding cake (by far the best cake project I have ever been a part of – and in fact the pic on my blog heading). It was so exciting to be part of a surprise birthday celebration, and of course, I really wanted to make a special cake for him as well! There was just one particular challenge with this cake that I have not had to tackle before.  This cake had to travel.  We live 450 kms away! So how the heck was I going to show up with a cake? Excuse the dodgy pic - Road trip map!Fortunately for me (or unfortunately… it remains to be seen) I will be doing a wedding cake in a few weeks, which has to travel a further distance. So I took this as the perfect opportunity to trial run cake transporting, and get my head around the logistics involved.

This is how I planned the cake:

  • 2 weeks before – make up the modeling paste decorations.
  • 2 days before – bake chocolate mud cake, wrap & refrigerate to set for journey.
  • 1 day before – whip up batch of vanilla bean buttercream & refrigerate for the journey.
  • Night before – pack up colours, tips, piping bag & couplings, edible glitter, pallet knife & other essential decorating paraphernalia.
  • Day of travel – Prep esky with ice, seal off & stack cake & frosting in to keep cool during trip.
  • The trip – super fun drive down the coast listening to great music & stopping at cool places. (If you can’t tell, I love road trips 😉 )
  • Arrival at destination – Quick cake assemble!

The finished product! Not too bad for a travelling cake! 😉

And that’s pretty much how it all panned out. 😀 Of course I picked a pretty simple design, in order to keep the stress levels down. Just a quick plain cover of the cake in frosting, with a shell border.  I made up the 30 in white modeling paste and once dried, painted it with a nice thick paintbrush. I kept the paint job on it rough & alternated colours of dark green, purple, brown & silver for a sort of camo feel.

Painted Modeling Paste 30

The other decorations for the cake were a pile of grenades & a Halo helmet , which I also made out of white modeling paste & painted.  I had a few goes at the helmet, which ended up being harder to make than I thought.  I just couldn’t get the shape right.  In the end, I took all  of my trial pieces with me, so that I could make a decision on what looked good on the day.

The helmets… see how I couldn’t get them right? >_<

My assortment of grenades… don’t look too closely… they are all different! 😦

Overall, I was happy with the cake… but only just. Its just that the decorations weren’t as good as I wanted them to be.  I felt like I was a little out of my depth with the helmet and grenades. I have only watched the boys play Halo in passing, so I had to get my shapes and ideas off the game, it’s manual & some figurines that we had.  Maybe I would have done a better job of it if I had done the hard yards and invested a few hours in game play? 😉

 Ummm…. Some how I don’t think I will be playing games in future to improve my caking skills, no matter which way I try and justify it.  But this was a great experience in something out of the ordinary for me. Practice, practice, practice! 😀 (Its becoming my mantra this year).

Oh, and one last thing before I go… This cake was the lush chocolate mudcake that I have been making a lot of this year. It is super rich, very adult and… I will be sharing the recipe just as soon as I get a few moments to type it up.  Will post it very soon! 🙂

Until next time, thanks for dropping by!

 Tic, Tic, Tic…. Boom! – That’s the noise you hear when your playing against the birthday boy… when a grenade drops out of nowhere & gets you! 😛

A special birthday cake for my dad!

Howdy! Its been a busy week, but I really wanted to find a moment to share this cake.  A little bit ago it was my dads birthday. Now, usually in our family we just do a very basic cake, nothing fancy. Seems we save the big decorations for other people. But since this year I’m trying to learn more, I took the opportunity to try and make something a bit special.

A special birthday cake for my Papa. 🙂

The greatest things in life that my dad loves are his garden, going fishing & his family. I can’t remember a time when he didn’t have fresh vegetables growing in the modest size backyard of my family home.  It is filled with fruit trees, herbs & vegetable patches, making every inch of dirt productive. When he isn’t tinkering in the garden, he loves to go fishing.  He was born in a little fishing village in Sicily, so it will always be a part of his blood. As a child, I remember my brother and I racing to the kitchen to crowd him when he would get home from a day out, to see what he had caught for dinner! If you can’t tell, my dad is very special to me! 😉

So to decorate this cake I wanted to try and make a few of the things that he loves.  It was a toss up… a garden cake, or a fishing cake?

My kind of garden!

Well I just couldn’t decide, so I went with a little bit of both!

Cute little vege patch ~ complete with pumpkins, lettuce, beans & beetroots.

So this is my little garden.  Choc crumble soil, and gum paste vegetables. I generally love things in miniature anyway, so making tiny little lettuces & pumpkins was a hoot! Each little piece made me giggle and smile.  If I had a little more time, I would have done a few things differently, made tomatoes instead of beans… dusted the lettuce with purple around the edges. But over all I was really happy with the way it came out. My absolute favorite part of the garden was the little wooden plank edge. I just rolled out some light brown sugar paste, cut out my planks, then textured them up with a coconut print. After they had dried, I painted over the texture with dark brown coloring to give a stained wood finish. Funny how you can be completely rapt and happy with such a small detail.

Sugar paste model kinda like my dad.. with a little fishy!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good pic of the fishing rod & the little fish that I made.  Behind the figurine is a gum paste fishing rod.. a simple stick with a round reel, which I added detail to with a black decorating pen.  And I made a stack of little multi-coloured fish, which were super simple, and brushed with silver to finish them off.

To frame the back of the cake, I used simple green chocolate mud cakepops for trees… and the blue curly things… well, that’s ment to say “Papa”. Bit of a fail there. I guess this is what happens when I don’t get a precise look of the font down on paper first. Instead I just thought I would work it out as I went along. Not the greatest idea because as I was struggling to make something that looked like a P… the paste was drying… giving me a cracked finish. To try to fix my messy lettering I glazed them and sprinkled green and blue glitter over them. It created a cool looking background. But most of the family thought it was ment to be snails?? Then an “Ohhh, I see it now!” moment 😛 Well, combined with the trees and the rest of the decs, I still liked them!

And lastly I made a little sugar model of my dad… kind of. This is the 3rd figurine I have attempted. Lots of room for improvement here. But each time I try, it does get a bit easier and less daunting.

The big things I’m disappointed with on this cake are the fondant cover and the writing.  I tried to create a marbled effect with the fondant, using green and blue. What I wanted to achieve was a really distinctive swirly pattern over the whole cake as a base, bringing together the garden/fishing concept. But I over worked the colours and ended up blending it to an aqua colour. The swirls were still there, but very subtle.  And the writing… well I just ran out of time, and piped it on as quickly as possible. I wish I had just taken a moment to stop, take a breath & concentrate. But this cake was finished a minute before we walked out the door, so I smashed on the writing and off we went to lunch.

Overall, I’m so happy with the way this cake turned out. And most importantly, my dad was absolutely wrapped when he saw it. He could not believe it, and the look on his face was worth more to me than the price of any elaborate special occasion cake. His only criticism  was that I should have made the figurine look younger 😛

Well, that’s enough of my babble for now. Hope your all having a lovely weekend! Thanks for stopping by 😀

Not what I had in mind….

Just a short frustrated post… Here is a  pic of what happens when I have an idea of what I want to make in my mind, which does not translate to what I’m realistically able to create.

This is not the windmill in my mind... 😦

What I am trying to do is make an aussie windmill for a little project (will post more on that later).  I thought I had worked out how to make it. I had sketched out my idea, and broken it down into smaller steps. But this is one of those times that I just don’t know enough to achieve what I want.

The first stages were so promising!

Suffice to say, it has been a frustrating afternoon. But this is the point of practicing & trying new things I guess.  I started so organised today, with all my painted dried pieces of gum paste & some fresh royal icing.  I piped onto my base to mark where I wanted the blades positioned, then started gently putting it together. First the blades didn’t sit up angled enough, then they slid out of place… soon I had royal all over my workbench, all over my pieces, all over me… and just when I started to really lose my cool… the blades started breaking. Back to the drawing board for this little idea. Usually I would pack it up at this point. Because the more I try to do, the more mistakes I make in my frazzled state. But today, I put it aside, and worked on another little part of my project.

Meet Mr Pinchy, Bruce & Dave.. my little crabbie friends! 🙂

So I will leave tonight on a happier note.  For my first go at crabs, I am pretty happy with these little guys. Now to cut my losses, clean up & start fresh tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed the pics & story. Thanks for dropping by! 😀

First cake of the year!

Starting January with a bang!

Eager to start on my journey to becoming a better cake decorator, I started the year with a cake well outside my skill level!

Fondant you say? Topsy turvy you say? Panic you say???!

You see, one of the biggest problems I face when I decorate, is self inflicted. I have no idea why, but for some reason when faced with a request for a complicated cake I have never ever attempted, I say….

“Sure! I can do that! :)”

I skip merrily away, and hours later realize that I have most probably bitten off more than I can chew.  My experience runs to light sponge cakes, with soft piped decorations (and for a while in my youth – generic ice cream cakes for the local Baskins).  Fondant is the great unknown for me. It scares me. I don’t really get how it behaves, or how to work with it. I’m much more at home with meringue and soft icings. In my head though, I can work out how to do things. In theory, I know how. I can see it in my mind, and break it down, so whatever it is that I haven’t done before seems very achievable.  But theory doesn’t always translate to reality.  The cake doesn’t always do what my brain thought it would.

So when asked by a co-worker if I could do a 30th Birthday cake for him & his wife, I happily said “Sure!”….. His lovely wife emailed me a couple of pictures of exactly what she wanted… A topsy turvy mudcake, covered with fondant, with ribbon decorations, in bright colours matching her party invitations. I was still confident… but somewhere, at the very back of my brain, I started thinking… “oh gawd… I am so totally boned”

The finished cake. A 30th celebration cake for a lovely couple!

In this case, I was really happy with the final result.  I got super organised, and planned, planned, planned! I did not want to get to the day of the party, and have a topsy turvy train wreck on my hands! I researched a gorgeous moist mudcake recipe, and went through my kit to make sure I had all the right tools on hand.

The cake toppers - Modelling paste 30 & twisty ribbons.

A quick breakdown of the cake:

  • Base: 3  x 10″ Dark Chocolate Mudcakes
  • Top Tier: 2  x 6″ Vanilla & Jam Cakes
  • Covered & filled with vanilla bean buttercream.
  • Rolled fondant with sugar decorations.

The finished cake weighed close to 10kgs. It was an absolute monster. I have to mention that on the really big cakes, I am lucky enough to enlist the help of my long suffering boyfriend.  Lucky for me, he is a retired chef, so his help is always invaluable.  It is so great to be able to get someone to do the grunt work when trying to carve an angle on 4kgs of mudcake. 😉

As you can see, there is a pic of the final cake above, and some pics of the details. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pics of the steps involved or the assembly. I was too wrapped up in getting it right.  At the end of the day, it was a huge learning curve! But I did fill the request of the birthday girl, and she was so happy with it!

So it seems that I have set the bar high for myself for the first cake of the year. Good thing I’m a pretty laid back chick, and wont be trying to outdo myself for the next one. Though I will be having fun trying out something new!

Until the next post, thanks for dropping by! 🙂

Wrapping it up with a lime green bow!