Monday, 20 August 2012

Purple Ombre Chocolate Sprinkles Cake

Today is a special day for someone very special to me. It is my mother's birthday. Happy birthday mummy! You've just passed the 1st year of half a century of your life and you still look as beautiful and forever young from the first day I laid my eyes on you.

My mother never really tends to remember her own birthday in most cases and I guess that really worked in my favour this time as she probably thought that I was just baking another random cake to eat yet again. Family photos were nonetheless taken (with our funky pyjama's) and a cheery birthday song dedicated to her with my little sister playing the music on the piano. A moment that I've always dreamt of has all come to reality today.

For 2 weeks I've been pondering about what type of cake I should bake for my mother and until I came across Steph's blog with her purple ombre sprinkles cake, I knew that was the cake I should bake since purple is my mother's favourite colour. It's so amazing from the moment when you cut the first slice of cake out and see the awesome gradient of colours within. Pleasant! I had a few worries baking this cake. It is my first time making it and I was worried with the amount of layers I had to make as well as assembling them neatly where I'm not too good at when it comes to dealing with multiple layers of cake. Given all these factors, I still didn't take the initiative to bake as early as possible.

Oh dear! My papa's fuzzy hand in the background. They were telling me to hurry up with taking photos >.<
Yesterday was quite an eventful day, my friends and I decided to go for some classy High Tea down at The Westin Melbourne. The High Tea had a more casual set up without the tables and chairs, instead we sat on couches surrounded by mini tables but it still had some edgy class amongst all that. It was a shame that we didn't get the reserved spot close to the fireplace. What was worst was that I forgot to bring my camera out to take photos for this special occasion *bangs head on the wall*. So then, I had to rely on my friends fancy SLR camera ;) Coffee, tea and hot chocolate was unlimited so as a typical asian, I made the most of it and yes I paid the price of going to the toilet so many times afterwards!

So many events occured this weekend! The Manifest was on and we came across so many people cosplaying as anime characters. Another reason to bang my head for not bringing out a camera. I even bumped into two of my favourite ex-colleagues during our post-High Tea shopping spree at Daiso (OMG! I love DAISO so much) as well as my friend R, for which I haven't seen in a while.

As I got home I lazed around for 'a bit' and then started baking. Knowing how slow I would get with baking anything for the first time, I started baking around 9pm. I know, not the brightest choice of all and by the time I finished it was already midnight! This is not the first time that I've baked till wee hours.

Decoration all took place in the next day. It is my first time making chocolate molds and chocolate roses and I guess it looks quite okay for a beginner who just learnt it in 5mins! I kept on telling myself throughout last week to start learning how to make chocolate roses before today but I guess my laziness got the better out of me. Chocolate sprinkles were a b**** to handle. I nearly grated my skin along with the chocolate that I was grating but luckily only part of my nail was chipped. Sprinkling the chocolate around the cake was a total mess. It took me forever to get as many as I can onto the cake without it looking like some piece of dirt splattered over parts of the cake.

I've layered this cake alternately with strawberry jam and buttercream, and the whole cake covered with cream. Buttercream has always scared me due to how sweet it is, especially with the amount of icing sugar you have to use, but I thought I'd be a little more obedient this time and stick to the entire recipe. It was bloody sweet! I don't think my liver will be able to handle this. Luckily it wasn't entirely covered with buttercream (as I only made half of the suggested amount to start off with) or else I wouldn't have been able to finish a slice. I guess I'll just stick with the cream the next time I bake it again...if I ever do.

Purple Ombre Chocolate Sprinkles Cake

(adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes) - makes one-round 18cm 5 layered cake

2 3/4 cups (355g) plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Imitation Vanilla, since vanilla extract/essence is derived from alcohol)
1 3/4 cups (400g) caster sugar
225g unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
Purple food colouring (I mixed blue and pink colouring together, approx 1:3 ratio)

Inner Layer:
Strawberry jam
Buttercream Frosting: 250g icing sugar (sifted) and 137.5g salted butter

Outer Layer (Whipped Cream):
300g thickened cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Modelling Chocolate (enough for 2 roses):
75g milk chocolate chips
62.5g glucose syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease 18cm round cake tins (I had 2 to work with luckily). Line the base with baking paper.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix milk and vanila in a measuring jug.

3. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until blended. Increase to high speed and beat for approx 2min or until pale and creamy. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs 1 at a time, mix well.

4. Alternately add the flour and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (Add 1/4 of flour mixture and 1/3 of milk each time). Beat until smooth, occasionally scraping the bowl with a spatula. Divide the mixture evenly into 5 bowls (approx. 300g per bowl).

5. Leave one bowl of batter white, then gradually add colouring to each bowl. Gently fold into the mixture, adding slightly more colouring as you do to each bowl to give you an even gradient of colour.

6. Pour batter into cake tin and bake each layer about 15-20 min. Cool the cake in tin for 5min then transfer the cake onto a wire rack to cool.

Buttercream Icing:
Chop the butter into small cubes and leave it sitting on the bench for approx. 30min before beating it (I tend to cheat by microwaving it for a few seconds). Beat the butter at high speed, until smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add the icing sugar until combined, then increase the speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy.

Whipped Cream:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream at high speed until the cream has become slightly more thickened in texture. Add in the icing sugar and beat at medium-low speed until stiff peaks start forming.

Modelling Chocolate (adapted from The Cake Makery)
Microwave the chocolate chips for approx. 1min or until completely melted. Using a rubber spatula, stir the melted chocolate to make sure it's completely melted without any lumps left behind and scrape the chocolate off from the edges of the bowl. Fold in the glucose in a circular motion with your spatula ending up in the middle of the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool. Wrap up the mixture in cling wrap if you're not using it straightaway and leave it at room temperature. Knead well before you use it! If the chocolate is too hard to work with, place it back in the microwave for 5-10secs and it should be easier to work with.

How to make the chocolate roses please refer go here.

Assembling the cake:
You may need to trim the tops of the cake to make them level (but I was too lazy to do that). Spread the first layer of cake with jam and then the next layer with buttercream, alternately. Cover the whole cake with the whipped cream, smoothing it out with an offset spatula. If you're decorating with chocolate sprinkles, it will be messy. My cake was on the wire rack and I had a plate under the rack to catch all the remaining spinkles that wouldn't stick to the cake. Stick your chocolate roses on top of the cake once you're done and carefully transfer the cake onto a cake stand and serve at room temperature.

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