When my daughter was turning 21, she asked me to make her a cake.
I was thrilled.
One of the traditions from my kids’ birthdays, was making THE cake. Over the years I have made trains, a marshmallow doll, racing cars, rockets, pianos. So many cakes.
Once they reached the age where it was no longer cool to have such things – I reluctantly conceded defeat and hung up my cake making apron.
For about 33 seconds my heart was jumping about in my chest with joy. Then she told me she wanted a white chocolate mud cake – with raspberry jam, and marzipan and royal icing. The joy ran out the building screaming.
The more I looked into to it the more panic I felt.
With a lot of cajoling I convinced her that marzipan icing was not the best idea. So we settled on just the royal icing.
Thankfully, although I live in a small rural town, we boast a terrific cake maker. She was kind enough to talk me through some of the more difficult moments.
I began with a recipe from a friend for the actual mud cake. Making two batches, I used a loaf tin which I later trimmed to look like a number 1, and a tin shaped as a number 5, which I turned around for the 2.
Anne – our local cake wizard suggested that as I had not made royal icing before – perhaps now was not the time to start.
So off to the supermarket I went to purchase two packets of royal icing – that stuff is magic – I love it, and by the time you buy all the ingredients plus spend time making it yourself – nah. It is a bargain, really !!!!!!!
It was a time consuming process. First the cakes had to be made and then sit for a day. this makes cutting them to shape and icing them easier.
I’m sure I looked a bit demented during the icing process. The number 1 was where I began. It looked the easier of the two cakes, and I thought a bit of practise, handing the icing before tackling the number 2, was needed.
This was my schedule:
Day 1 – bake the cakes
Day 2 – cut the number 1 to shape and smother them with raspberry jam. Leave this to soak in thoroughly, away from any animals that might be tempted to take a large bite out of it.
Day 3 – ice the cakes
Day 4 – finish the decorating
Day 5 – get up at an unholy hour to finish off all the other food needed. Then drive 2 hours, praying we never had to stop suddenly, to get to the daughter’s house. Spend the rest of the morning preparing food that will be eaten as if everyone has turbo suction attached to them.
It’s not their fault – they’re students and don’t eat properly due to funds being spent on more essential items such as
- concert tickets
and other such items.
The following is the recipe I used:
300g white chocolate
200 grams of butter
250 ml (1 cup) milk
165 grams (3/4 cup) of caster sugar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100 grams (2/3 cup) of self-raising flour
150 grams (1 cup) of plain flour
First, preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Celsius fan-forced).
second, grease your cake pan and line the base and sides of the pan with baking paper.
Place chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate and butter have melted, and stir mixture until it is completely smooth. Then allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Now add the vanilla and eggs to the chocolate mixture, stirring until it is well combined.
Stir flours together in a large bowl. Add one cup of chocolate mixture to the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms.
Repeat with another cup of the chocolate mixture.
Add remaining chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is smooth. This gradual method of combining the wet and dry ingredients helps prevent lumps.
Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. When the cake is ready, a fine-bladed knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out without any batter attached.
Loosely cover cake with grease-proof paper or a clean tea towel and allow it to cool to room temperature in pan before turning it out.
Leave the icing to warm to room temperature before using.
Cover a board in icing sugar and sprinkle more, liberally, over the top as you roll it out to the thickness you desire. You need to be able to handle it without breaking.
It is an art. I started over again a few times, but eventually got into the swing of it.
Joining the edges requires some patience. Warm a knife in hot water and running it over the edges smooth them together. It sounds easier than it is – or am I just a clutz?
Eventually I had that done.
But I am Australian born – so of course that didn’t satisfy me did it?
I had to add not only self-made chocolate stars all over it, but shooting ones as well.
That process in itself is almost worthy of another discussion.
The finished cake…