Naked chocolate, whiskey and maple soaked fig cake

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Chocolate! Whiskey! Maple! Figs! With their tasty powers combined… they create The Naked Chocolate, Whiskey & Maple Soaked Fig Layer Cake. That is, four of my husband’s all-time favourite snacks brought together to create one intoxicatingly glorious birthday cake.

I’ve never been a big fan of whiskey (except for its part in making irish cream), however I think this cake may have finally won me over. Not only does it give the cake great flavour, but the more I eat the more impressed I become with my own baking prowess; a perception which is, of course, directly proportionate to my increasingly tipsy state. Trust me when I say, the left over batter and sauce from this cake was sampled thoroughly… for quality control purposes. Yes, yes that sounds right.

Now, here’s the recipe. Don’t balls it up 🙂

RECIPE

Serves: 20 people
Time: 5 hours, 17 minutes, 12 seconds, 3 micro-seconds
Basic order:
Up to one week prior
1. Make sauce and keep in fridge until needed.
Up to a few days prior
1. Make cake and let cool overnight.
2. Gladwrap and keep in fridge until needed.
Day of
1. Assemble and frost.
2. Shovel all the deliciousness into your cake hole.
3. Regret nothing!


WHISKEY CHOCOLATE CAKE 
(Recipe ‘borrowed’ from Epicurious)

  • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus 3 tablespoons for dusting pan
  • 3 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 cup American whiskey
  • 550g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 165°C. Butter two cake pans well, then dust with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, knocking out excess.

Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and remaining cup of cocoa powder in a saucepan over moderate heat, whisking  until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then add sugar and whisk until dissolved (about 1 minute). Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes.

While chocolate mixture cools, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla (in a separate bowl), then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centre comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.

Funfetti ‘hot air balloon’ layer cake

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I’m gasp just gasp a little bit gasp INCREDIBLY excited. No, no, it’s not a sugar high*. My hussy (why do people shorten it to hubby?) and I just bought an amazing apartment AND booked a getaway to France. Oh oiu oiu! Magnifique! Croissant!

*…this time.

Now. Serious face. Focus! It’s blog writing time.

I’ve been oogling the funfetti cakes of Pinterest for some time now, so when my beautiful colleague Kim’s office ‘baby shower / farewell / don’t leave us / barricade the exits!!’ celebrations came up, I pounced. As it turns out, there are many things pregnant ladies can’t eat. Sadly this meant no gooey marshmallow (shock, horror!), but I’m ok again now.

So, without further adieu… I present! The pregnant-lady-friendly baby shower ‘hot air balloon’ cake.

WARNING: You have approximately two minutes before the lantern goes up in flames. But it sure is pretty in the meantime! And no, it won’t up and fly away.

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RECIPE

Serves: 20 people
Fakery level: Easy peasy lemon squeazy
Time: Around 5 hours (including oven time, cleaning and fending off toddler)
Basic order:
Night prior
1. Bake two vanilla sprinkle cakes.
Day of
2. Trim off yucky brown outside layer of cake
3. Make buttercream
4. Set 2/3 of buttercream aside. Mix sprinkles into remaining buttercream.
5. Spread plain buttercream on top of one cake, then cover with mini marshmallows and sprinkles.
6. Place second cake on top.
7. Crumb coat cake. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up slightly.
8. Ice top of the cake with plain buttercream
9. Pipe two rounds of sprinkle buttercream around the base of the cake. Pipe plain buttercream rounds until you reach the height of the cake.
10. Using a long metal spatula, press the icing into the cake while moving around the circumference. Here a nifty step-by-step tutorial for making the icing lovely and smooth.
11. Pipe two rounds of buttercream dollops around the outside edge of the cake top. Cover the centre space with sprinkles. This technique will help create a smooth ombre effect.
12. Smooth out the icing.
13. Now to make your cake topper! Using a knife, cut an ice cream cone into two pieces. Place tea light inside cone top. Pearce the edges with two toothpicks on opposites side of the cones rim. Place the paper lantern on top.
14. Bask in your triumphant cake victory! *the crowd roars*


VANILLA SPRINKLE CAKE 
(base recipe thieved from here)

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 440g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • 300g butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 310ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • Oodles of sprinkles

Preheat oven to 140°C. Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Brush a round 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with the melted butter to lightly grease (see Notes tab for instructions for other tin sizes). Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.

Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric beater to beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and all the butter is incorporated. Mix in sprinkles. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool.

Once cool, trim off the ugly brown outside layer. For structural integrity purposes, start with the top/bottom and finish with the outside edges.

BUTTERCREAM (recipe thieved from here)

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half

Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.

Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.

Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.

Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.

Set 2/3 of buttercream aside. Mix sprinkles into remaining buttercream.


CAKE TOPPER

  • 1 paper lantern
  • 1 ice cream cone
  • 2 toothpicks
  • 1 tea light candle

Using a knife, cut an ice cream cone into two pieces. Place tea light inside cone top. Pearce the edges with two toothpicks on opposites side of the cones rim. Place the paper lantern on top.