Decadent Chocolate Roses

Today’s cake is a rather decadent chocolate layer cake. Months ago, my friend Emily sent me a picture of a cake with large chocolate rose swirls all over it, and I resolved to make it for her birthday. Well, her birthday eventually came around (as birthdays do), and she got her chocolate cake.

The cake itself is a simple cocoa devil’s food cake. which I iced with chocolate buttercream, both between the layers and on the outside. Then I made another batch of buttercream for the large roses.

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To help break up the monotony of constant brown chocolatey-ness, I whipped up a mini batch of vanilla buttercream and colored it pink. I added tiny swirls of pink ‘flowers’ to complement the brown.

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And of course, I got to practice my piping writing. Although I did forget to cross the ‘t’ in birthday! O.O

Sorry this was a bit of a short post this time around – I didn’t take many pictures of this cake, and it was a fairly simple confection.

Thanks for reading,

Jo x

 

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Pink & Purple Ombre

This will just be a short post, and nowhere near as elaborate as my last one, but I want to share this cake with you anyway. It brought me to tears, despite its’ simplicity.

I made a pink and purple ombre cake for my colleague’s birthday this week, right after my mountain cake. I drew inspiration from Glorious Treats’ Purple Ombre Mini Cakes, and figured it would be an easy and simple cake that would still look pretty.

And it mostly was! I doubled my easy vanilla cake recipe and split it first in half. That was my first mistake: I eyeballed instead of measured. With each half, I then dyed it with the lighter colour first, and then the darker. Overall, my colours were just fine… but the heights of my cakes definitely were not.

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I admit: I cried a bit. I had a mountain of stress, a huge cake I’d finished the day before, and now this simple cake reduced me to tears. But, I still put it together, because honestly, what else was I going to do?

It actually turned out OK.

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Unfortunately, the skinniest layer was supposed to be the second, so the ombre effect was a bit off, but the cake overall looked good.

I covered it with simple vanilla buttercream roses.

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And the cut slice still looked pretty cool ^_^

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But for next time, lesson learned: Don’t double from the start, and measure accurately when separating the batter.

PS. Apologies for the darkness in the photos. I don’t have very good photo lighting in the apartment, and it was dark outside.

Happy Birthday To Me!

It may be late on ‘update day’ but I won’t let you down! It was my birthday earlier this week, and Josh took me to London for the weekend to see a show (of my choice) as part of my present. It was absolutely wonderful, I’m exhausted and my voice is disappearing, but I want to at least share with you the making of my birthday cake.

I did make my own birthday cake, partly because I knew exactly what I wanted, and because you can’t find cakes like these in Luxembourg. I decided to make a red velvet cake, covered in large buttercream swirl roses.

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Basically, a red velvet cake is a buttermilk layer cake with some cocoa powder added into the flour, and red food coloring. It’s not really a chocolate cake as the chocolate taste is quite faint, but it complements the rest of the flavors nicely.

The Joy Of Cooking recommended that the cake be iced with cream cheese frosting, but in my experience, cream cheese frosting does not hold up well when piping designs. So I decided to make a batch of vanilla buttercream instead (I am the birthday girl after all, and it’s my cake 🙂 )

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Then I re-watched this Youtube video, which explains in a clear, visual way how to make buttercream swirl roses. I think I need to invest in some smaller diameter cake pans in order to make a cake similar to that in the video- I would love to have a taller slimmer cake than my usual 9″ diameter round ones.

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So I made my white roses and ran into a disaster: I ran out of icing. And I had no butter left to make another batch. Luckily, I do have a ton of vegetable shortening, and I have a good, quick recipe to make a shortening-based vanilla icing. But, since shortening is very white, and butter is not, I had to add some food coloring to the second batch.

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I went with purple, of course. My favorite 🙂

Luckily, I’d had just enough white icing to make a white center rose before completely running out, so the final effect was very pretty.

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Close-ups of the roses:

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And the final effect, with the red, red cake on the inside ^_^

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Thanks for stopping by!

Checkmate Chocolate and Vanilla

I am back in business!! Well, sort of. What I mean to say is that the school year has started up again, and that means team birthdays, which means birthday cakes!

As I was browsing the internet recently, I came across this cool picture of a cake. And I thought to myself, “When can I next make this?” because it looks awesome. So when I was chatting with my colleagues about birthdays, we realized that our new colleague’s birthday was just last week, and she’s new to the school, so what better way to welcome her than with a belated birthday celebration!

So I started by making two cakes: a vanilla and a chocolate, and two batches of buttercream icing. Vanilla and chocolate of course 🙂

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Then came the fun, and rather complicated, part. You see, The two cakes were of different consistencies. I didn’t think of that before baking them. My vanilla cake was perfect, aka, not crumbly. I couldn’t say as much for the chocolate one. The smart thing would have been to make the vanilla cake recipe twice, but put some chocolate in it, instead of making two different recipes. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I didn’t have it at the time. So my yummy devil’s food chocolate cake was definitely not a good cake for this.

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Anyway, I persevered because, on one hand, I had no choice. The cake was for the next day, I had to go to work, and it was getting late. On the other hand, I don’t like fail, so it was a point of pride. I couldn’t accept tossing it all in the trash and buying a cake instead. So I put it all together, and got a pretty cool-looking cake.

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Finally, I got to the fun part. I covered the whole cake in chocolate buttercream icing. I love using buttercream because it has a real rich flavor, and I will always use butter over shortening when I can. For my overall decorating, I decided to pipe vanilla buttercream stars along to bottom to hide the edge of the cake, and to make buttercream roses to put on the top. Since Birgitta is new and I don’t know her tastes, I preferred to play it safe with flavors and decorations.

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Buttercream roses are fairly easy to shape. The important part is to keep the icing from getting too warm, because then, the roses no longer hold their shape. For the last two or three roses, I did actually stick my icing bag in the freezer for three minutes, just to firm things up. I learned how to make these from a video tutorial. Best tutorial I’ve found on these so far! Anyway, despite all of that, my first rose was a bit of a flop:

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But in the end, I did have a completed cake, that I was inordinately proud of (not the least because I managed to place nine buttercream roses on the cake without screwing things up).

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And the obligatory closeup of the rose centerpiece:

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Now, before all the cool decorating stuff, remember that I made a vanilla and a chocolate cake, and literally “cut and pasted” them together. So the final effect once I cut into the cake was this!

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Needless to say, my colleagues were very impressed… as was I! As always, I am thankful things seemed to work out. Although given the unevenness of the checkers in the cake, it is clear that I need to invest in some proper measuring tools, rather than guestimating with bowls and such.

Thanks for reading!