Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Special Little Birthday.

I was recently invited a special little girl's first birthday party and I figured it 
was the perfect excuse to whip up a mini chocolate feast?!...

Be warned, this is not for the faint hearted or let's face it a one year old!

It was created simply to satisfy the ultimate chocolate craving.

 An incredibly moist chocolate sponge filled with a heavenly peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream and smothered in a ridiculously rich dark chocolate fudge frosting.......mmmmm. 

I did try to compensate for the calorific madness by making this one
 a humble 2 layer 6incher.

Virtuous by comparison to a 4 layer salted caramel version I made last week?!
(More on that in my next post!)


 Here's what you need:


Yield- Two 6"x 1.5"layers

90g all-purpose flour
150g caster sugar
30g dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
70ml buttermilk
60ml brewed coffee or espresso, hot
45ml vegetable oil
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract/paste

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

125g sugar
220g unsalted butter,  room temp
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
1-2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
(depending on how much you love peanut butter!)

Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting: 

20g cocoa powder
45ml boiling water
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
30g icing sugar
pinch of salt
200g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

(This recipe has is heavily adapted from Sweetapolita.
-Thanks Rosie!)


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 5.

Grease and line two 6 inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder.

Sift all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add remaining wet ingredients and with the paddle attachment on the mixer, 
mix for 2 minutes, making sure everything is well combined.

Batter will be very runny. Divide mixture evenly between cake pans.

Bake for 20 mins and rotate pans in oven to ensure an even bake.

Cakes are ready when a skewer comes out clean - approx 30 mins. 

Allow cakes to cool in pans for 20 mins then turn out on a wire rack until completely cool.

For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream: 

**NOTE** I have halved the original recipe.
 Feel free to double the quantities that I have listed 
and omit the peanut butter to make a vanilla SMB, to which
you can add a variety of yummy flavours at a later date.
You can then refrigerate for 5 days or freeze in an
 airtight container for up to 1 month.

 Place butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment

Beat on medium speed  until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Clean mixer bowl and wipe with lemon juice, this removes
any grease that could prevent your egg whites from increasing in volume.

Place egg whites and sugar into bowl over a pot of simmering water
(be very careful bowl is not touching water as this could cook the egg whites)

Whisk occasionally and gently until sugar dissolves.

 Remove the bowl from heat.

Place back onto the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form
(about 5-6 minutes).

Once the bottom of the bowl no longer warm to the touch,
reduce speed to medium-low.

Add beaten butter, a tbsp at a time, whisking well after each addition.

 Switch to paddle attachment.

 Beat until smooth (about 3-5 minutes).

For the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

Combine cocoa powder and the boiling water in a small bowl.

Stir well until it cocoa has dissolved.

Beat the butter, icing sugar & salt until it is pale and fluffy (approx. 5 mins)

Add cooled melted chocolate, beating until combined.

Finally, beat in the cocoa mixture until well incorporated.

 If mixture becomes too stiff and difficult to work with ,
 pop in the microwave on low for 10 seconds to 
restore glossy and slightly runny consistency.
When you are finished covering the cake the
 frosting will set again at room temp resulting in a 
deliciously soft crust on the outside. Mmmm!


Trim any doming from cake layers.

Place bottom layer, face up, on a cake stand.
( I use a lazy susan from Ikea!)

Generously pile on Swiss Meringue buttercream.

Smooth out with a small offset spatula, try to contain the SMB within the 
layers as you will be crumb coating the cake in the chocolate frosting. (or you could crumb coat in the SMB if you have some remaining, it's up to you!)

Place second cake layer on top.

Pile a generous amount of the chocolate frosting on top of the cake.

Using your offset spatula, smooth out the frosting over the top
 of the cake while slowly turning the cake stand.
 This helps to evenly distribute the frosting.

Slowly bring frosting down and over the sides of the cake,
again while letting the rotating of cake stand do most of the work.

Once cake is covered, use a straight spatula and hold at a 45degree angle with one hand
and slowly rotate the cake stand with the other.

This will remove any excess frosting, leaving you with a thin coat to seal in any crumbs.

Try not to get any crumbs in the bowl of frosting when you are cleaning your spatula.

Once cake has been crumb coated, place in fridge for 20 mins to set.

Finally repeat steps above, this time leaving a generous layer of frosting on the cake and using your cake stand and spatula to achieve a smooth finish.

I piped some small blobs of frosting along the base of the cake.

My finished cake could have been a LOT neater but I ended making and photographing this 2 hours before the party started and while my 3 month old was feeling particularly cranky!!



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