Saturday, 15 September 2012

White and Dark Chocolate Layered Cake

This is it. I was commissioned for my aunt's 60th birthday, and this is The Birthday Cake.

And it would be completely honest to say this is my best-looking baking achievement of all time.

This is the part where I tell you how easy it was and (I imagine) you don't believe me. But seriously, it was easy. It's just a load of sponge cake and some ganache. Both of which I have written about on here before.

It's only the presentation that makes it look impressive. I made two big-ish sponge cakes - one white chocolate and one dark chocolate, and sliced them both in half so I had four layers. Then I used white chocolate ganache as glue in between the layers, and topped the whole thing with dark chocolate ganache.

  • Make the first sponge cake (it doesn't matter what order you make them, but I had to do them one after the other because I only had one tin of the right size). If you haven't already, you may want to familiarise yourself with the sponge cake essence linked above. Each cake was made with 200g of Flour, and I added 2 tsp Baking Powder because I wanted to make sure it rose plenty seeing as they were big cakes. First cream together 200g of Butter and 200g of Sugar. Then add 200g of Eggs (4 Eggs) one at a time, and finally the flour. Now add the chocolate. I used about 100g of Chocolate per cake, although it was a 100g bar which is actually a bit more than 100g. Melt the chocolate first (in this case the white chocolate) and let it cool a bit so it doesn't scramble the egg. Once it's cooled a bit, mix it in with the rest of the mixture and then put it in the oven to bake at 180C until done with the toothpick test.
  • The next cake is almost exactly the same. Instead of white chocolate, you use the same amount of dark chocolate. I also replaced about 50g of the flour with cocoa powder, although that isn't completely necessary.
  • Once both the cakes were baked and completely cooled down, I sliced them into two layers using a breadknife.
  • Now time to make the white chocolate ganache. I made each batch of ganache using 200g of Chocolate and 200g of Double Cream. The easiest way to make it is to heat up the cream until it's steaming and almost boiling on the hob, and then pour it over the broken-up white chocolate. The residual heat of the cream will melt it completely. Once the ganache is liquefied, put it in the fridge until the texture gets just firm enough to spread and not dribble all over the place. It won't take long for it to cool down, so keep an eye on it or it will get too solid.
  • Then I just put the layers together. So, put the first layer down. Then get a blob of ganache and spread it around all over the surface of the first part. Try not to let it dribble over the sides, but get it as close to the edge as possible. Then put the next layer on top, and repeat. Just without the ganache on top of the final layer (that is what the dark ganache is for).
  • Once the layers are together, make the dark ganache using the same method and the same quantities, but this time with dark chocolate. Again, let it cool until the consistency is right. Now it's time to spread it all over the surface of the cake. It's a bit more important to be neat at this stage because this is going to be what people actually see when they look at the cake. My method is to do a very thin layer first. This keeps the loose crumbs stuck down so they don't show up in the surface. Once the first layer is done, you can put the rest on more freely, and as long as you're fairly gentle you don't need to worry about crumbs showing up.
  • Because I knew I wouldn't be able to make a perfectly smooth surface on the ganache, I sprinkled finely grated chocolate all over the surface too. This is a good way to cover up slightly shoddy workmanship on icing, because I'm not very neat.
  • The finishing flourish was the writing. I just used melted chocolate in my smallest piping nozzle. It took me a few tries to get right, but I think it makes it look nice and professional.

Unfortunately I didn't get many good photos of what the inside actually looked like. I was only able (obviously) to take photos at the actual party, and it was all cut up and distributed so quickly I didn't get much chance. But, I did get one. And I think it looked pretty awesome.

Admin note: Due to the aforementioned motivation difficulties and the fact I'm now back at college, this may be my last post for a while. I'm not giving up or anything, it's just that I can't really say that I will reliably post once a week anymore. But I will keep doing my best!

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