On to the plate

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

Live long and prosper – David’s birthday cake


I realise I’ve become quite lazy with taking photos. Don’t get me wrong. I’m taking lots of photos, but from my phone. Setting up shots is really time consuming. And when it gets to the point I don’t want to bake because I want to take photos, then something has to change. So you’ll get the same number of photos (overload), but they’re from my phone, unless it’s something I deem to be quite special, then I’ll take the photos on the dSLR.

Ok, that out the way, not only are these photos from my phone, my Macbook had packed up (I’ve had it just 6 months) and has gone off to Apple to be checked out. It’s no longer charging.  So these photos haven’t seen Lightroom either. I don’t have Lightroom on my work laptop.

Phew, now I’ve come clean, let’s get onto David’s cake.

2014-03-08 16.59.37

Live long and prosper

I had made the Planet Cake Mud cake a few weeks ago and popped them in the freezer in anticipation of David’s birthday. I made two 6” cakes. The recipe is for a 9” cake.  You get two 6” cakes out of one 9” cake. It’s the first time I’ve made the mud cake recipe and I was pretty pleased with how it baked and cooled in the tin. I’d ordered the Planet Cake cookbook, but you can find another blogger who wrote out the recipe here.

I used a frosting recipe I’d spotted, probably over a year ago. I’m not sure why I decided now would be the time, but it was.

2014-03-08 10.23.05

Thick unappetising white sauce to become a silky frosting in another life.

The recipe makes the frosting starting from a white sauce. I know. Sounds disgusting, right? But it was weird and I like weird so I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave it a crack.

2014-03-08 13.31.44

Add that white sauce to the whipped butter and sugar and you end up with something quite unexpected.

Well the frosting turned out pretty good. It really was light in texture. The only thing is that there were a couple of small globs of the white sauce. While it seemed like it had all whipped up together (and it whipped up nicely like Swiss Meringue Buttercream) as I was frosting the cake, I spotted a couple of small globs.

2014-03-08 14.08.32

Texture of the mud cake.

2014-03-08 14.07.21

Oops, we’ve got problem. The ganache kept it all together.

2014-03-08 14.17.55

Crumb coated of sorts and ready for some frosting.

Getting back to the cake, Mr Fussy took the cake out of the freezer Friday morning (I was in Hamilton) and popped it in the fridge. I torted it Saturday when I was ready to frost it. Boy, that is one sticky cake. I got my knife stuck in the first layer (the bottom) on more than one occasion. So much so that in my desperation to extract the knife a bit of the side of the middle layer broke away. I wasn’t happy with that and it was putting me off the cake big time. Thankfully the middle cut and the cut to level the top layer (3 layers) was much easier. The cake really is as Kathrin said, like a brownie. It also had a much stronger taste of coffee than I expected. There was a lot of coffee (25gm of granules) but usually that disappears during baking and acts only to deepen the flavour of the chocolate. I don’t like coffee (and I don’t drink tea), so for me it was a little too much, especially when I hadn’t been expecting it.

2014-03-03 19.35.34

This is what I was aiming for at first, then Dave’s suggestion saw an addition of “Live long and prosper”. Very fitting for a birthday.

2014-03-07 20.09.33

Up to the second trace, now to trace the pencil (2B) outline onto the fondat by tracing over the same markings.

2014-03-07 20.28.08

Looks weird, and takes a bit of looking backward and forward between fondant and original picture to make sure you’re filling in the right sections.

  Backing up a bit, as I mentioned, I was in Hamilton Friday. When I got home the only thing on my mind was to hand paint the top of David’s cake. On the Monday I had cut a 6” circle of fondant and I’d printed out a black and white image of Spock. Dave at work spotted the image on my screen and suggested that I add “live long and prosper”. Good idea. I had to then decide where I’d place that, and what font/size I wanted, then I had to flip the whole thing over (I use Snagit, a screen capture (and more) application we use at work). The reason you flip it over is that you then trace the image onto baking paper and then the baking paper is placed onto the fondant, and you re-trace the image again, over the image you first put onto the baking paper. And when all is said and done, you’ve drawn the image 3 times. Twice on the baking paper (one each side) and then finally the traced image on the fondant.

2014-03-07 21.42.54

A sort of side-by-side comparison. Pretty close.

 I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. The only thing is that I didn’t get a very even coverage of Spock’s hair. I had some thinned out Sugarflair Liquorice which applied nicely to larger areas, but I ran out before I finished the hair, so I used the food gel without thinning it. That’s what did me in. I shouldn’t have been so lazy and I should have made up a little more thinned down black. You live and learn. And while it wasn’t quite as smooth as I’d have liked, over all I was pleased with how the image came out on the fondant, and I enjoyed the process. I must remember that I can take a bit of artistic license and could make some changes. I was thinking of adding some blue into the top but with the image sitting a lot to the bottom right it seemed like it would be trying too hard.

2014-03-08 15.23.25

Ombre sort of affecting lending itself to a sort of planet look. I used Americolor Sky Blue and Navy together and then took some of that colour and mixed it with the buttercream to get a lighter tone.

Instead I coloured the frosting blue. In some ways it reminds me of a planet, and with the theme being Star Wars, that’s kind of fitting. Not that I’d planned it that way.

I didn’t take a photo of a slice of the cake. I had flavoured the cream used to make a milk chocolate ganache with Lime oil. Mr Fussy wasn’t fond of it, but my MIL and I were quite taken with it. It was quite unusual to have such a flavour be quite bold, but not in the cake itself.

Even though we didn’t have the usual Paling family traditional dinner (yes you can laugh, I think it’s crazy – KFC with Christmas Pudding including custard), David was pretty pleased with having a birthday cake.

I put a round of baking paper between the cake and the fondant top so David got to take the top home with him, along with the rest of the cake.

2014-03-07 21.30.17

One last view of the hand painting. I have this on my new PME tilting turntable. Boy it makes it easier on the neck.

Now the frosting recipe says to have the cake the same day the frosting is made, but David managed to stretch the rest of his cake out to Thursday, his actual birthday. I forgot to ask him what it tasted like, and how he stored the cake. I suspect he wouldn’t know to put it in the fridge.

So that’s one cake for March done and dusted. Today is our wedding anniversary and I have made a cake, and we’ve had a slice, so that’ll be next week. Then Mr Fussy has a birthday at the end of the month, but he’s requested the Lemon cheesecake and no cake. Fair enough, and I like that cheesecake too!


3 thoughts on “Live long and prosper – David’s birthday cake

  1. Ohmygod, you’re such a talented hand painter!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s