Monday, 14 May 2012

Mothers day

I don't think there's many of us out there, but I insisted on making myself my own cake for mothers day.  I really enjoy doing it, so why not.  I also convinced my husband to buy me my mothers day gift early so I could play with some new gum paste flowers.  My gum paste didn't work out very well, I think the substitutions I had to make made it not work so well, so I'll try it another way next time, but the flowers were nice, just a touch more fragile than they should have been.  I also decided to make a cake for my sister, who managed to have her first baby right before mothers day (on the 9th), so I had 2 cakes to make (YAY!).  I wanted to make them very different, and more mature than my past cakes that I made neat - just for fun.  I think they turned out okay, but I learned a few things in the process..  It's all a giant learning curve I guess.

For my sisters cake, since her baby was a boy, I chose white and blue as the main colours for the cake and decided on fondant to cover the cake because it gives it a much smoother texture.  I topped her tiered cake off with a large blue gerbera daisy and piped butter cream balls around the base of each tier to hide the slightly rough cuts of the fondant at the base of the cake (as I said, learning curve)..

This was the end result..  It looks enormous, but really it's only a 4" round on top of a 6" round (I actually found it harder to fondant the smaller cake, because there were more folds to deal with, but I didn't want to go too big).

So for my mothers day cake, I kept with the floral theme, because it's pretty.  I made a new batch of fondant because I was running low on the white I had, and decided to colour it while making it so I didn't have the 15-20 minute process of kneading the colour into the dough after the fact because it's pretty labour intensive.  On mine I had to be really careful because I forgot to sink in the dowels in the bottom layer to help support the top layer, so when I was cutting it it sank down a bit.. Oops, good thing I finished it the night before and also a good thing it wasn't full sized either.  Both cakes were made with my chocolate cake (mmmm).

On this one it's clear that I had a bit of an issue with the bottom layer and it wrinkled a bit when I put the fondant on - I think I was rushing it a bit too much, next time I will take my time.

Now I guess it's time to spill the beans on my chocolate cake recipe..

Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease 2 9" pans (or other size) and dust with flour.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix very well until it is uniform
3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl (I use a large measuring cup - 4L instead of bowl)
4. Slowly pour wet into the dry ingredients and stir with  FORK (DO NOT BEAT) until smooth (don't over mix)
5. Pour into pans and bake about 35 minutes in centre of oven.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in centre comes out smooth.

This recipe is also great for 24 large cupcakes or can be used to make smaller cakes, but cooking time will vary of course (my cupcakes take about 22 mins).

For this cake, I bought the good quality professional grade aluminium pans and found they cook much more evenly, but take a touch longer than the thinner store bought coated Wilton pans.  The edges when I took the cake out though were much more moist which impressed me immensely and now I'm saving up for a new set of pans.

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