Sunday, 11 September 2011

Mel's Birthday Cake plus a chocolate challenge

My little sister had a birthday earlier this month and asked for a cake. Of course, I was happy to oblige. Just before I made the cake, my friend alerted me to something she thought I might like - a blog with a chocolate challenge. Chocolate Teapot and We Should Cocoa are the two blogs that host the monthly challenge. I instantly thought a chocolate challenge sounded like a fantastic idea! I was then stoked to discover that this month's challenge was a chocolate masterpiece fit to celebrate We Should Cocoa's 1st virtual birthday party. Well, I decided to create a fantastic chocolate birthday masterpiece! What better than a spectacular black forest gateau. I started with a chocolate cake recipe from Annabel Langbein. This is seriously such a great recipe - super easy and so tasty. I cooked it in two round cake tins and left them to cool overnight. The next day was assembly time. I split each cake in half, and bought a jar of morello cherries from the supermarket - I was amused to see they originated from Turkey. Anyway, I whipped some cream and started layering. The first layer was cream and cherries, the next cream and shaved chocolate, the next a mixture of cream, cherries and chocolate. Yum. I covered the cake in cream - I did two layers to avoid crumbs as I didn't want any of them messing up my cake! On top, I piped some large swirls of cream around the edge of the cake for a cherry each. I wanted it to look quite spectacular, so I made some chocolate shavings. I did this in a rather rudimentary way - by pouring melted chocolate directly onto my (clean) bench and spreading it out thinly. Once cold (I aided this process by opening the window above the bench - the Wellington winter breeze certainly helped) I scraped the chocolate shavings using a metal bbq slice. A little random, but whatever works! I needed something strong enough to withhold the pressure to create the curls. I also made some chocolate shapes to decorate the cake. I piped the melted chocolate onto baking paper and let it set. I just used creative flair to make the shapes - swirls and lines and sweeps, great fun. I piled the chocolate shavings in the middle of the cake and nestled the shapes around the edge. I also piped Mel to sit in the centre of the cake. Around the edges I covered the cake in more chocolate shavings. The finished result? In my opinion, awesome!! Apparently it went down well with Mel's workmates too :)