On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Double trouble and welcome to the neighbourhood


It’s been a long time coming, making a recipe from Deb’s blog Smitten Kitchen. But I got there. This is the Double Chocolate Layer Cake.

Here’s the first double. Cake and cupcakes

Welcome neighbours

Chocolate or Berry

And while we’re at it, Chocolate or Berry?

The recipe is for 2, 10” cakes. I really wanted to make Mr Fussy some Raspberry filled cupcakes, and I thought it would be nice to bake a cake for the new neighbours that moved in last Friday. However we didn’t have enough Raspberries, but we had heaps of bags of frozen mixed berries. So mixed berries it was.

Anyway, after reading over 200 comments on this one post on Deb’s blog I was settled on making a 6” layered cake and using the rest of the batter to make cupcakes. So cupcakes for us, cake for them.

There were a lot of people commenting on making the cakes in 9” pans and having the batter pouring over the top. Deb (and another blogger who made the recipe) said that there’s very little rise when baking. So here’s my 6” cakes, in a 3” deep pan. The batter uncooked measured 3cm, and here’s the cupcakes before and after.

3cm to this

Rising to the occassion

With all due respect, this recipe does have more than adequate rise to it. So be warned if you’re making this recipe and trying to cram the mixture from a 10” cake into a 9” cake pan.

The original plan was to bake a two layered cake for Darren and Teresa (I think I have the names right), but when the cakes came out I knew it was going to be rediculous making a layered cake with these two. Change of plan. Split each cake and make two layered cakes. There’s the second double.

Once the cakes had cooled I wrapped them in Gladwarp and put them in the freezer while I got cracking with the Berry filling, and then moved onto the Swiss Meringue Butter Cream.

The details

Funny thing making the SMBC. Or not. After last week’s 2nd ever time making this and finding the bowl was so hot that it took an extraordinary amount of time to cool the mixer bowl before beginning to add the butter, I used a different bowl to heat the egg whites and sugar thinking this might alleviate some of the heat by then transferring the mixture to the KitchenAid bowl when it was time.

Nope, as soon as I transferred the mixture it immediately heated the KA bowl and I was again grabbing a towel and dousing it in cold water and wrapping it around the KA bowl. In the end it still took a really long time so I did as Carol mentioned on the Facebook page, and I put the bowl into a sink filled with cold water. I did this when the meringue was really thick and glossy and I was ready to swap from the whipping attachment to the usual mixing paddle. And this was about 20 minutes into mixing the meringue.

French tip

I thought it was time for a slightly different view of the cake to keep you from nodding off while I blabber on about the SMBC experience.

Anyway after the bowl was cooled off I began to add the butter which was cool but not cold out of the fridge. First I didn’t have unsalted butter. I didn’t think it would make a huge difference. I just wouldn’t add the salt with the vanilla to the recipe. Hah! It’s amazing just how much salt there is in normal butter because it was really obvious. But not a nasty “oh I’ve ruined it” surprise. I actually liked it. Even though SMBC isn’t as sweet as normal frosting it’s still sweet. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of sugar still in the recipe, it’s just white sugar, not icing sugar.

I had the wet towel draped over the top of the KA because the motor was till hot and my head very close to the bowl looking to see that each chunk of butter had been fully mixed in before adding the next few cubes. While I was watching, and anticipating adding another two batches of butter (85gm left I might add) I noticed the mixture changing. I actually thought it was about to curdle.

Double everything

By the way, these photos are all of the cake I gave the neighbours, but I promise I made two. You’ll see.

The SMBC wasn’t curdling at all, it was just at the right stage for turning glossy and velvety. Which meant there was no need to add anymore butter. Right? Well I stopped anyway.

The SMBC weighed 1353gm, I made the same quantities as last weekend. 10 cups of SMBC. That’s 9 egg whites. That’s a lot of yolks that I’m still trying to decide what to do with. I’m looking to buy Egg Albumen. I’ve found a couple of options on TradeMe. They’re for weightlifters, but it’s just dried egg whites. What do you think? I hate wasting all those egg yolks. And I can use the dried egg whites for Royal Icing too. I’m not fond of the Wilton Meringue Powder. The CK brand was nicer.

I measured the 353gm into a bowl and added a few dessert spoons of the mixed berry filling to it, and a little bit of Electric Pink Americolor gel to it. I probably didn’t need it. I actually didn’t see any change in the colour. So pretty much all the colour is from the berries.

The remaining 1kg of SMBC I added Whittaker’s Ghana chocolate (70%), I can’t remember how much because I had some that I’d melted last weekend and didn’t use, and then a further 6 pieces. It wasn’t as dark as I was going for but I was too lazy to melt and cool some more before mixing it in.

double trouble

Told you I made two Smile

I got a little distracted when I was torting the cake and while trimming the top I didn’t see that some of the side had broken off. That made the top of the cake the bottom layer to ensure the two little bits that broke off weren’t going to collapse from the side and give me all manner of grief when covering it with SMBC.

At least I didn’t have to make a decision about which cake was being given away. If you want to make a good first impression, give away the best. I guess the fact I turned up there still rubbing meringue off my face and with my yellow croc gardening shoes didn’t really help with a good first impression. Perhaps they overlooked that for the cake.

Anyway, what’s left to talk about?  Ahh yes, the photo up above with the cupcakes and the double coloured frosting.

I decided that if it was good enough to use Gladwrap for RI to then make it easier to put into a piping bag, then it was probably good enough for SMBC, but I went one step further and decided to bundle the Chocolate and Berry into the same bag. It mostly worked out well. Except the house was so hot that the frosting was softening to the point it was becoming difficult to pipe with.

And if you’re wondering about how to make a hole in a cupcake for filling, the apple corer works nicely. Except these cupcakes (and cake) are super moist and squishy that you’ll end up clogging up the end of the corer making it a little untidy. But you can always put the cupcakes in the fridge for 30 minutes. I’m sure that would help, in the same way putting the cakes into the freezer before torting helps.

Mum had wondered if the Strawberry huller would work. It does. But it doesn’t make quite as neat a job as the apple corer. I suspect more homes have an apple corer than a strawberry huller anyway. Though I wouldn’t be without my strawberry huller.

Mixing it up

I’m utterly hopeless with the French tip. I can manage this piping but I can’t not pipe a uniformed round. I tried. I scraped the SMBC off and re-piped it. The fact the SMBC was too soft didn’t do me any favours either. I popped that back in the fridge and waited (impatiently) until it had cooled some before having another go at piping.

Chocolate berry layered cake

Lord knows what we’re going to do with another 5 slices of cake and 18 cupcakes. I have to confess that when I make cakes or cupcakes I tend to snack a little as I work. That’s another reason I’m enjoying making cookies. There’s nothing to nibble on. The trimmings from the top of the cakes, the centres I extracted for the berry filling, all gone, as well as sharing one undecorated cupcake with Mr Fussy to “test” the texture to confirm it was just as Deb and most of her 200+ commenters said.

To recap: the recipe I made as written by Deb with the following changes. Instead of 1 1/2 cups of coffee I had 20ml of Bushells Coffee and Chicory Essence and added boiling water to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid. I used  85gm of Whittaker’s Ghana chocolate (70% cocoa). I used mixed berries instead of Raspberries for the filling. The batter weighed 2247gm. I put 600gm into each of the x 6” baking tins and got 19 cupcakes. The cakes still took 60 minutes to bake. The cupcakes 21 minutes.

The recipe from Rosie made 1353gm of SMBC. It was sufficient to crumb coat and frost both 6” layered cakes and frost 18 cupcakes. I have quite a bit of the chocolate left and enough of the mixed berry to frost a couple more cupcakes. All left over frosting is in the freezer.

Double delight

I quite like only having the berry filling between the layers. It didn’t ooze out and it’s difficult to detect , but it’s there. It’s quite subtle but served with the left over berry filling it ramps up all those lovely fresh berry flavours.


6 thoughts on “Double trouble and welcome to the neighbourhood

  1. I buy frozen egg whites from the supermarket, they are in the section where the frozen pastry/berries/desserts are, the brand is from NZ but I can’t remember what it is. Your cake looks wonderful. I think your piping is fantastic, I wish I could pipe like that.

  2. Another marvellous looking creation! It bet the neighbours are super glad they moved into your street 🙂

  3. Nice looking cakes 🙂 yummmm! How do you do the icing in lines like you have for that? Especially on the top? 🙂

    • Hi Bec, thanks. I have a cake turntable and use a small spatula. I start at the bottom of the cake and move the turntable round and round at the same time moving the spatula up the cake. I find for the top it’s easier to start from the outside and work your way into the middle. You don’t need a lot of pressure to do this, and if you do want more defined lines then you might need more frosting on the cake. Hope that helps.

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