The Mother-in-Laws birthday gave me an excellent opportunity to practice some skills I am trying to perfect. We had invited everyone around ours for Sunday lunch and as that meant 8 adults and 3 children I decided to make a fairly large cake with the idea of giving everyone some to take home with them.
The cake itself was chocolate flavoured. This isn’t personally my favourite cake as it can be very dry but over the years of home baking I have found various methods to keep to as moist as possible, such as adding oil or buttermilk to the mixture. I hear beetroot is also a good way of doing this but I am yet to try it.
The icing was vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, which I urge you to try if you haven’t done already. It’s surprisingly easy to make and tastes so much better than normal buttercream. I’m a total convert and now will never use anything else (other than maybe Swiss meringue buttercream but that is slightly harder to make). I use Sugarflair paste colours mostly because they are the ones I can get locally but also because I have done some research into other brands and I actually like their colour tones the best anyway. My second choice is always Squires Kitchen as they too are relatively local to me and I always use their sugarpastes. Anyway…..
I added enough of the ‘pink’ sugarflair colour to make it nice and vibrant as I didn’t want it to be a pastel coloured cake.
As we are all fans of macarons they had to go on the cake. Obviously. I used a very small amount of ‘navy’ Sugarflair and filled them with ‘violet’ vanilla Italian Meringue buttercream.
With this I made rainbow meringue kisses. I use edible paint I found in Lakeland but I cannot remember the brand.
I have always wanted to try to temper chocolate. I believe dark chocolate is easier than white chocolate but I like a challenge so I steamed straight in. It worked but my technique needs improving. It’s such a shame that this has forced me to practice with chocolate causing me to eat my attempts. Life is so hard sometimes 😉
I also decided that I wanted this to be a drip cake. Now I am very good at ganache, even if I do say so myself but I had never attempted to make the trickier white chocolate ganache before. This wasn’t as successful as I would have liked it to be but I know how to improve it next time. And it tasted good so really I’m just being overly critical of myself but that’s how I improve.
This was all finished off with a little of the buttercream piped using a star nozzle.
It went down really well and my MIL was really pleased with the end result and quite flattered since she hadn’t asked to make her anything at all. As generous as it may seem it gave me the excuse I wanted to practice all these techniques and I enjoyed every second of making it. I’m not sure what the next family occasion I bake for will be but I’m sure I will make something just as elaborate. in the mean time I shall just keep practicing the individual elements.