On to the plate

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

The naked

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It’s ok, you can look. I promise the photos don’t come with an R rating. We’re talking cake here, naked cake.

Bare cake

Really really naked, not even scantily cladded with ganache.

This cake is one I never thought I’d make. A friend from Dunedin had once suggested I make a chocolate and zucchini cake and I said there was no way Mr Fussy would entertain the idea. And that was the end of that suggestion.

Imagine my complete surprise (shock) when Mr Fussy came home the other day with a  couple of zucchini. A lady from his work was giving them away and since I’d bought a few with the weekend fruit/veg (meaning to make corn fritters – which by the way Mr Fussy will turn his nose up) he thought he’d grab a couple more.

I’d been sneakily looking at Chocolate Zucchini cakes, there’s a couple I pinned on Pinterest, and this cake is a combination of those two recipes. I mostly used the cake from this recipe, and the frosting from this one.

Topped with chocolate ganache

Ganache and defrosted blackcurrents

I’ve made a couple of changes to the cake and frosting. I’m in one of those phases where I hate seeing food go to waste, well it’s never my goal to be flippant about food going off, but right now I’m doing my best to use ingredients that appear to be forgotten in the fridge.

And in actual fact, the zucchini I bought from the fruit/veg market had (one) started to go mouldy. It’s ok, don’t freak out. I cut that nasty bit off.

For the cake

  • I swapped the white sugar for raw sugar (I use raw sugar for Carrot cake, I figured it would add a bit of depth to the cake – but I would suggest you ground it up in the food processor – I can just see some granules in the top of the cake, but none in the cake).
  • I used Dutch-processed cocoa – my Valhrona cocoa has a best by date of October 2014. I don’t know how I managed to let that slip past the BB date.
  • I weighed the flour using 140gm/cup, so 350gm total.
  • I didn’t add the walnuts, it was probably bad enough that I kept the cinnamon in there, I’m sure Mr Fussy will tell me he can taste it (I draw comparisons to his ability to detect cinnamon to the Fairy Tale, The Princess and the Pea).
  • I replaced the milk for an equal amount of buttermilk.
  • I Googled 4/5 confectioners sugar to be 100gm.
  • I used Fresh As freeze dried blackcurrent powder – I used 1 tbs and 1 tsp.
  • I replaced cream fraiche with sour cream because I had sour cream and not cream fraiche. Because I was traveling on Friday (our shopping day) I missed out adding a few things to the shopping list.
  • If you do the same and make a 6″ and 5″ cake, expect the 5″ to take around 27min and the 6″ 30min, though all ovens vary so begin to check 2-3 minutes before hand.

For the frosting

  • Rather than baking 1 two-layer 8” cake I made a 6” and a 5” cake, both are two layers. A 6” cake is 60% of an 8” cake and a 5” cake is 40% of an 8” cake.
  • To assemble I torted all of the cakes and then measured out equal proportions (using the 60/40 split for the 6” and 5” cakes) of the frosting to go between the layers only. This cake is what is termed a Naked Cake i.e. it’s not covered in frosting.
  • For a naked cake I felt it was especially important to have equal quantity of frosting between the layers, it was going to be obvious if one layer had more or less than another. My 6” cakes had an allowance of 180gm per layer, but I found with the 5” cake the amount of frosting was a bit too generous and I was already puzzled how I would cut the cake without the frosting spewing out as soon as any pressure was applied.
  • So the 6” cakes had 150gm of frosting between each layer. The 5” cake I assembled first and it had 120gm of frosting between each layer.
2014-02-02 12.04.49

Nicely domed, which is great in a cupcake.

The cakes baked and domed quite a bit really. I used an old tupperware container to gently press the tops until they flattened out. It worked out well, and the cakes are none the worse for wear. And against better judgement I torted the cakes while they were still fresh-fresh. I didn’t even put them in the fridge first. And I didn’t measure the height. I was being reckless with a capital R. It all worked out.

2014-02-02 13.11.20

Look what’s hiding out here – a large piece of zucchini

What I did spot in one of the torted cakes was a big piece of zucchini that hadn’t grated. It looked, well, I think you can see what it looked like. When I took the 6″ cakes around to Natalie and Logan’s (to assemble there, it would have collapsed during the drive) I asked Logan if he’d like me to remove it. He said no. I’m not sure if anyone will taste the zucchini in their household. It’s pretty much smack in the middle so there’s potential for each of them to get a little bit.

And as I write this, I’m about to get the cake out of the fridge – it’s been nestled away for a bit over 4 hours – and try to cut it and then let it come to room temperature. I’m hoping this sort of well-thought out cheat will be my best chance of slicing the cake without a total mess.

Ok, success. The cake cut really well. No dramas at all, well other than the ganache that I used. This was an attempt at ganache using 40% full fat cream, the other weekend. It didn’t work out and so I used all the cream and made a very rich sauce. However it seems to have split a tiny bit, which I think is clear in the photos. The chocolate didn’t drip as nicely as you’ll see in other photos. And since I had the cake in the fridge, the oily bits have set up and there’s little bits of white fat showing.

A slice of cake

Easy to slice straight from the fridge

But, it tastes good and none of us could taste zucchini, and Mr Fussy said he would eat it again, “though I’m not really a cake-y person”.

He was telling my brother-in-law that his resolution this year is to eat less cake. I’m not going to let that influence me though, and certainly as I rattled off all the events and occasions up until ANZAC day there’s a lot of opportunities for cake.

Topped with blackcurrents

Eat up, there’s more where that came from

First thing’s first. Finish this one off. There’s enough for dessert tomorrow night too.

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4 thoughts on “The naked

  1. Mmm definitely love a naked cake! Looks brilliant!

    • Thanks Charisma. So much easier and quicker to get ready for serving. And despite the lack of attention, I really love the simplicity of its good looks.

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