Hi, when my friend asked me to make this cake for her Mum’s 80th birthday, I got very excited!
Believe it or not I’ve never made a ‘Chocolate Overload’ cake before, so this was a first for me, but great fun!
I started out with 4 x8” round layers of my Chocolate cake recipe, and filled and crumb coated it with chocolate buttercream. As it was another hot spell, I made ganache for the final coat as it sets firmer, and despite being made from chocolate and cream, it is actually more heat stable than buttercream! I applied the filling and coatings with my trusty palette knife, and smoothed the final coat with my metal bench scraper. *Tip: Dip metal knives and scrapers in hot water before smoothing for a great finish!
After that, it was really just play time! My friend had said her Mum was a serious chocoholic (a woman after my own heart ❤️) so I’d bought a variety of different chocolates and just went to town!
I used a mix of chopped chocolate bars, biscuit bars, truffles, buttons, etc and added them around and on top of the cake somewhat ‘artistically’ 😂 I made the chocolate shards myself to give the cake a bit of extra height and interest. How many different chocolate goodies can you identify?
And then of course, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of bling by dry dusting with Faye Cahill edible gold lustre 🤩
I was really pleased with how it turned out, and, more importantly my friend’s Mum was too!
When my old school friend asked me to make a golden wedding anniversary cake for her neighbours, I was very honoured to be entrusted with the task. Especially as all she knew about my cake making skills was the cake I made for our school reunion event in February!
But any opportunity I get for playing with sugar flowers and liberal use of bling is good with me!
So, I sent her a picture of a golden wedding cake I made for another friend, and she sent me an image, and between us we came up with a design 😀
Little did I know that the timing of this cake was going to coincide with one of the hottest days of the year! 🥵
I started by baking the vanilla sponges, two 8” rounds to be layered into 4. Disaster number one – they sank! I don’t know if it was the heat, the fact that I was using a different baking spread, or I just opened the oven door too soon, but there was no saving them, or so I thought, so in the bin they went 😔
They looked something like this:
If I’d seen this article, I might have been able to make use of some of the cake for cake pops or just with custard as a dessert! If you want to know the various causes of a sunken cake, and some ‘fixes’ I recommend having a read.
The next day I tried again, used my usual baking spread and resisted the urge to peek in the oven too soon and voila! Two perfect sponges! Phew 😅
So, a day later than scheduled, I divided the cakes into 4 layers and decided to use white chocolate ganache to fill and coat the cake as it sets firmer than buttercream – or at least it usually does! It was so hot, I had to leave it overnight, losing another half day! This is why I need a dedicated cake fridge!
Thinking I was going to have a (literal) meltdown, I contacted my friend only to be extremely relieved to find that although we’d arranged collection on a Friday, the cake wasn’t actually needed until Saturday evening – another phew 😅
Luckily I had pre-made all the flowers using Renshaw flower and modelling paste, and covered the board already, so early Saturday morning I started covering the cake with sugarpaste and adding the quilted effect. I used Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste which is great quality and behaves very well in hot and humid conditions. Renshaw Extra is also good in similar conditions 😀
I have learned most of the techniques needed to put a cake together using ganache from good old YouTube! Here are a couple that I found very helpful 😀
For the recipes I used for the cake and ganache click here
I used two PME 3” deep 8” round cake tins and doubled the recipe. I greased and floured the tins and put a parchment paper circle in the bottom. I also used my PME baking belts (see My favourite products at the end of the post)
For the ganache I used 900g white chocolate to 300ml double (heavy) cream
And finally! I applied the decorations and lettering, then got busy with my Faye Cahill gold lustre dust! This can be dry brushed on to your embellishments or mixed with food grade alcohol to make a paint. There are lots of lustre dust brands out there, and they’re all good, but I must admit, I really like Faye’s range.
I used Sugarflair rejuvenator spirit to mix my paint. I’ve used vodka in the past, but find this works much better. Don’t worry, all the alcohol evaporates as the ‘paint’ dries!
Right at the end I liberally ‘twinkled’ the cake with Sugarflair finishing sparkle in gold. I love this stuff as a finishing touch ❤️ It comes in silver, gold and rose gold in a pump spray, but there are lots of other sparkly colours available in pots too 🌈
Finished and happy, I messaged my friend with a couple of photos, boxed it up and it was collected – socially distanced of course – in plenty of time for the party 🥳 (or whatever passes for a party at the moment!)
I received some wonderful feedback from my friend Joanne, and her neighbours loved the cake, so all’s well that ends well 😀
The moral of the story? Although I already have to give myself plenty of time to tackle a cake project, you can never account for the weather chucking a spanner in the works!
If that happens, take a breath, walk away for a while and think about what ‘fixes’ you can utilise. Most of all, remember why you do it. For me, it’s therapy, so getting stressed kind of defeats the object! When I contacted my friend to say I was behind schedule, she reminded me of that! Thank you Joanne 🥰
That’s all from me for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, and that the ‘how to’ links are helpful.