Hi MFK friends. Sorry to be missing in action. It was birthday time again at our place, the winter bugs have been chasing us and I've been in training for a fab new job. No, it's not a new Patisserie venture, book deal or spot on Channel Ten's new Recipe to Riches reality show. Thanks for the invite though guys, but no matter how much I love sharing recipes, I could never do reality TV!
As it turns out, this self funded baking blog adventure is a little luxury started last October that (surprise, surprise) doesn't pay any bills. Go figure! Besides, who can really afford to work 'exclusively' on their favourite hobby and passion. Sadly not even our talented Olympic sporting heroes I guess. As for the birthday, it was an even one - Lucia turning 8. Meaning a big week of celebrations to plan. Every second (even) birthday I (we) go abit crazy for our girls special day. This way each daugher gets a fab party every alternate year. And the fuss and expense doesn't get way out of hand. I know many of you can relate to kiddie birthday blowout ;-)
So the Ice-skating Extravaganza was shared with 18 gorgeous little girlfriends + family, all hurtling around our local ice-skating rink and eating copious amounts of cake. A fab time had by all, especially our Miss 8. For this posting I'd like to answer a question I'm regularly asked at school dropoffs, parties, the hairdresser, just about everywhere really.... which chocolate cake do I bake for the kids birthday cakes?
Yup, there are plenty of chocolate cakes I adore; Bill Granger's Chocolate Mandarin, Nigella’s fab Chocolate Fudge and more recently The Epic Chocolate Cake from my fav eat, little bird blog, just to name a few. Also a very old fashioned one from the 60’s that our neighbour used to make us growing up in Holland Park. Ooohh how chocolate cakes have changed...
However when chocolate cake is on order, this is the super quick (no surprise there hey!) fuss free scrumptious one I make. It doesn't involve expensive couverture chocolate, prunes, dates, raisins, hazelnuts, coffee, raspberries or other fancy additions and trimmings. A chocolate cake for all seasons and most occasions, worth adding to your repertoire and it won't blow your budget. Especially if you're making several layers.
Chocolate Sour Cream Birthday Cake (or Cupcakes)
You’ll remember my beloved Lemon Sour Cream Cake posting and serious citrus rind fetish, so you won't be surprised by the addition of Sour Cream & finely grated orange rind here. This cake is super versatile, whether you wish to top it with butter cream, layer it with fudge frosting, top with ganache, smooth over with meringue icing, cream cheese icing or even white fondant with an ice-skating Barbie on top!
Ingredients - ¾ cup (75 grams) cocoa, sifted (best quality you can buy) ❤ ¾ cup (180ml) hot water ❤ ¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream ❤ 350 grams unsalted butter, softened ❤ 500 grams caster sugar ❤ 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ❤ 4 free range eggs ❤ 3 cups (450 grams) plain flour, sifted ❤ 1 teaspoon bicarb (baking) soda ❤ finely zested rind of 1 orange or 2 mandarins (optional)
Method - Preheat oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4). Grease 2 x 20cm round cake tins and line with baking paper on bottom and up the sides. Or lightly grease muffin tins. Sift plain flour with bicarb soda three times, ready to use. Dissolve cocoa in hot water in a small bowl, whisking until smooth and combined. Add sour cream and continue whisking until well combined. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium sized bowl with a hand held beater until pale and light, approx. 4-5mins. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine well. Transfer to a larger bowl using a spatula. On low speed, add in flour and cocoa mixture, beating until just combined.
Divide mixture between two round cake tins or muffin pans. Cook round cakes for 50-55mins or until dry tested with a skewer in centre. Muffins take between 25-35mins, depending on size, check by touching tops gently.
It's a beautiful thing - going all out to celebrate our children getting older whilst staying in complete denial (tight lipped silence even) about our own growing double digits. Who can honestly say they've ever outgrown chocolate cake? I can't quite summons up Nigella's passion for chocolate (it's beyond sincere belief) but I'd never knock back a slice of good ol' chocolate cake. How bout you?
I often use Frog Prince Paperie on Etsy for invites and matching party packs. There's a terrific selection of invites there and quick service via email, if you want to check them out for your next party.
If you've got cake leftovers, don't forget Bakerella style cake pops for your cakecrumbs. I just use 500grams of cake crumbs to a ½ a tin of Nestle condensed skim milk and ½ cup desiccated coconut & icing sugar with abit of lemon zest. Voila - lemon coconut cake pops! In the US you'll notice they use a tinned icing to make them. Check out Bakerella - you'll love it!
Stay tuned - can't wait to share my latest, including the best biscotti and Byron Bay hinterland treats with you next time. Enjoy your week and Happy Baking MFK friends x