Jak turned 22 yesterday, so we celebrated with presents, cake and cookies (more of which in another post). After eating most of the devil’s food cake I made at Christmas, he decided he wanted to same cake for his birthday. The whole cake is chocolate (bar the blue vanilla buttercream), so it was ideal for him!
I used the same recipe as I did at Christmas with the first devil’s food cake, which is a Nigella Lawson recipe and can be found here. Essentially, a chocolate sponge covered with dark chocolate ganache. I increased the recipe to make a 3 layer cake as the original produces only enough for a 2 layer cake. This time, I began by making the chocolate ganache as it needs to sit for approximately an hour before it becomes thick and spreadable. After the ganache ‘breaking’ last time, I made sure I followed the instructions word for word and didn’t heat it up or cool it down until it reached the spreadable stage. For me, it took more like 1 hour 45 mins before it was spreadable, but when it happened, it happened quite quickly – one minute it was still quite liquidy and runny, then after stirring for a little while, it turned quite thick and non-liquidy.
I recently purchased a new product, which is possibly one of the best inventions ever for lazy bakers like me. It’s called “Cake Release“, so instead of greasing cake tins with butter, you can just pour the cake release directly into the tin and then add the cake mixture. It’s made it much easier to turn out the cakes as well, so I don’t have to worry about the cakes breaking apart when I tip them out of their tins. The sponges ended up slightly different sizes, so after trimming them to the right size, I stacked them on top of each other and covered each layer with chocolate ganache. I covered the entire outside of the cake in chocolate ganache, which I then smoothed down with a palette knife.
The stars on the cake are made from modelling chocolate – an idea I got from the TV show, Ace of Cakes. It seemed to fit the chocolate theme better than fondant would (it tastes better too). I made the modelling chocolate by melting white and milk chocolate and combining it with liquid glucose. You then leave it to set until it becomes soft and pliable, then you should be able to roll out the modelling chocolate like normal fondant. Didn’t exactly work the same way for me.. I had A LOT of trouble rolling out the modelling chocolate because it kept breaking and crumbling apart everytime I rolled it out too big. Originally, the cake was going to have milk and white chocolate stripes, but the biggest size I could roll the chocolate out to wasn’t large enough to cut 10cm strips. I ended up using a star cutter instead because they small enough. I’m not really sure what went wrong.. perhaps too much or not enough glucose? I may try it again another time because making roses from modelling chocolate looks so easy (and tastier than fondant!)
The chocolate stars stuck onto the cake easily as the ganache was still soft, the circle in the centre was also made from white modelling chocolate. There’s actually a big split on the other side of the circle, so I turned it over to hide it. The edges of it were quite rough and jagged because I used a knife to carve out the circle (didn’t have a cutter big enough), so I covered them by piping a circle of chocolate ganache dots. I finished the cake with blue vanilla buttercream writing – I decided to go for a bit of colour, other than brown/white which was why I used vanilla buttercream instead of chocolate.
The cake tasted goooood! I was worried it wouldn’t taste as nice because I’d made it on Sunday and we didn’t eat it until Wednesday but the sponge stayed moist and the ganache was still soft. I prefer this devil’s food cake to the one I made at Christmas – it wasn’t as bitter as I used a mixture of milk and dark chocolate for the ganache. Suprisingly, the modelling chocolate still tasted quite chocolately and not too sweet!