I am a bad blogger. I haven't blogged properly in two months now and that makes me sad. I have really missed it but a combination of my commute, working hours and moving house left me exhausted and with little time to bake outside of work - let alone blog about it. I am not a natural writer (as you can probably tell!) so sitting down to blog takes me a while .
The last cake made in my small South London kitchen was rather a stressful affair. For some reason I agreed to make a birthday cake for someone the day before we moved so once again I worked away into the early hours of the morning this time in a kitchen that had been packed away into cardboard boxes! I was clearly suffering from sleep deprivation as I even managed to forget about one of the layers of cake but I think I got away with it being a two rather than three layer cake!
The cake was for a horse riding party so, perhaps inadvisable, I attempted to model a horse from sugarpaste. As I think I have mentioned before, modelling and cake decorating in general are not really my 'thing' and what I ended up with was a rather stocky creature! The brown sugarpaste I used was actually chocolate flavoured and it didn't seem to dry out as well as normal sugarpaste so I think I might avoid it in future.
I was relatively happy with how it turned out although in my sleepy state I forgot to take any decent photos of it. However there are a few things I would do differently if I was to make the cake again..... At first I thought I would cover the board in white and then the cake in green but as I was covering a 12" board I decided to cover the cake and board together to save sugarpaste. And as I could buy white sugarpaste in larger quantities (and therefore cheaper) I decided to opt for covering the whole thing in white. In retrospect I wish I had gone for green. I also would have made a jump and piped grass with royal icing (I actually tried this but I was without a stand mixer and had broken my decent hand whisk so was using a cheap and frankly useless replacement which would not do the job and ended up in the bin!)
Inside the cake was this simple and moist chocolate cake. I use this so often now that I now the recipe off by heart and the addition of melted chocolate in the buttercream really makes the difference.
500g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
700g caster sugar
7.5 tsp baking powder
600ml whole milk
Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and margarine. If using a stand mixer, make sure it is mixed well through to the bottom - it may even be worth getting stuck in with your hands! Whisk together the eggs and milk and add very gradually to the flour mixture whilst mixing constantly. Once it is all well mixed pour into a lined tin (I used a 10" round but actually think that 8" would be ideal) and bake at 150C. Check the cake after an hour but it may need a bit longer...
Once it is cooked, leave to cool and then cut in half and fill with this buttercream:
625g icing sugar
80g cocoa powder
200g softened butter
80ml whole milk
100g plain chocolate
Heat up the milk and melt the chocolate in it. Whisk it together with the rest of the ingredients for about 5 minutes until well mixed and fluffy. Fill and cover the cake and enjoy :)
So that was my 'so long for now' bake to the little corner of South London which I have come to love - Brixton, I will be back. But for now I have a pretty new kitchen complete with digital scales, a stand mixer, lots more baking tins and an live-in baking buddy so 2013 promises to be a pretty good year!