So yesterday saw the first of 3 birthday’s in the next fortnight for my teeny tiny household. All 3 boys have their birthdays days apart over a 2 week period and that means 3 big birthday cakes for me to make, sure sure I’m hating it – NOT! Women’s Weekly Birthday books have been perused, scrutinized and inspected all year and cakes chosen. As I always do, I changed at the last-minute and decided T would get a Dinosaur and N a robot, so here is the first of 3 big birthday cakes.
Instead of making butter cake, which is perfectly nice and in fact suits these kind of butter cream slathered birthday cakes because it has a harder crumb and is less likely to get into the butter cream as you are icing, I decided on Devil’s Food Cake. I used the stencil for the dinosaur from the Women’s Weekly Party Cake book and I’ve adapted a recipe for the Devil’s Food Cake from my new favourite cook book “Baked Explorations”. Party cakes aside, it’s a really great chocolate cake, moist, rich and chocolatey.
DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE
30gm dark 70% or higher chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten brand)
2/3 cup hot coffee (I used 2 shots from my coffee machine, where you can use real coffee as opposed to instant)
1/3 full fat milk
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
265gm butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*NB: I made 4 cakes, so 2 batches, in standard 19cm square cake tins in order to make the cake and achieve a layer. The cake doesn’t rise very much. I think this cake would be just as nice layered with cream and served with fresh berries. You could also use a 19cm standard round tin.
Preheat oven to 160C. Butter two 19cm square tins, dust with flour and knock out excess.
Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot coffee directly over them and whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment, beat the butter until light, about 2 mins. Add the sugars and continue to cream until light and fluffy, about 3mins. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for about 30seconds.
Add the flour mixture in 3 pats, alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter, you can weigh it out to ensure it’s even if you like, into prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 35mins, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and allow to cool for 45mins, turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely before icing.
MINT CREAM FILLING
I just played around with measurements, so these are a total guess-timate. I would suggest starting with the amount of butter I recommend and then adding icing sugar and peppermint essence to your taste.
about 3 cups sifted icing sugar
3 tablespoons cream
peppermint essense to taste
Cream butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 mins. Slowly add sifted icing sugar, scraping down sides. When you have achieved desired texture and taste add cream and peppermint essence.
I used just a standard butter cream to ice the outside of the cake, I added a combination of green and blue food colouring to achieve the desired dinosaur green.
500gm icing sugar
Cream butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment until light and soft, about 3-4mins.
Twice sift icing sugar and slowly add to butter.
Add food colouring until you achieve desired result – go easy though you can always add but not subtract.
NB: Excess butter cream and mint cream filling can be frozen