It takes a village to make a chocolate layer mudcake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
It takes a village to even say something that long.
I hadn’t made a layer cake or swisse meringue buttercream frosting before, so this took a bit of research.
It took me two goes to get this right. My sister helped on both occasions. But it really took for us to have a dummy-test cake to practice on, and my mum to come around and help us to succeed the second time around.
I don’t have a kitchen aid.
I don’t have a little turnstile people use for icing cakes.
Just some eager helpers and the willingness to have my kitchen walls covered in frosting and batter splatterings.
Here are some pictures of my sister and me hard at work. I think I would of gone quite spare doing this alone:
And here is a photo of a cake that doesn’t usually make it on to blogs.
The ‘test cake’ was the dome top of one of the mudcakes we cut off to make the flat surface you need to layer cakes. We used it to experiment with the icing and various decorations. Yum, no?
The more impressive layer cake pictured was made for my friend’s Megan’s 30th birthday party. I said to her “I’ll organise a cake. I can buy one from a store which will look good and taste good. Or I can make one, but you know full well it may be a little, er, ‘special’, but, full of love!”
She opted for the special version. Bless her heart.
The chocolate covered strawberries were my mum’s idea to help pretty up the platter. Mums are good like that.
Oh, and happy one year bloggiversary to me! Clever muffin has been going strong for one year now. I’m loving it, just wish I had more time to devote to it. I especially enjoy all my fellow bloggers’ witty writing and constant source of inspiration.
If I had the energy, I’d make another cake and mail you all a piece.
250 grams butter, chopped
200 grams dark chocolate
2 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups of strong coffee/espresso
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (use good stuff!)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Note: I made 1.5 the quantity in this recipe to make the cakes in the photo.
- Add first four ingredients into a saucepan and heat on low until melted and sugar is dissolved.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add all flours to the cooled liquid, mixing until incorporated.
- Add eggs and mix until incorporated well.
- Pour mixture into greased cake tins and bake at 180 C for appropriate time! – depending upon pan size. My 6″ tins (filled 2/3 full) took 45 minutes. The original recipe said 30. Every oven is different, so when it begins to crack on top, check it with a toothpick…when it comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs, it’s done!
- Make your icing, or just enjoy the cake as is! The cake is actually better the 3rd day…I think the flavours gel together…so, it’s okay to leave out! – in fact, it’s encouraged.
Chocolate swiss meringue buttercream frosting ingredients
Source: Craving Chronicles
4 large egg whites
1 cups granulated sugar
225 grams (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
225 grams (8 ounces) quality dark chocolate, chopped
You could read my very lengthy instructions below on how to make swiss meringue buttercream frosting, or you could have this lovely American woman called Dyann teach you how:
Please note that I do NOT have a kitchen aid or a thermometer and made mine with a hand held electric mixer. No probs.
The key to Swiss meringue buttercream is not to panic when it reaches the stage where it looks like it’s irrevocably ruined – just keep beating! If at the end your frosting is too soupy, it might be too warm. Pop it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and then beat until smooth.
Note: I make this recipe at 1.5 times the above quantity for a normal cake sliced in half and frosted in the middle layer and outside. I doubled it for the cake in the photo.
- Remove butter from refrigerator and cut into cubes. Set aside. (By starting with this step, your butter should be just about the right softened-but-still-cool temperature by the time you’re ready to add it to your frosting.)
- Set a saucepan with about 2 inches of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer (not boil). Add chopped chocolate to a large, heat safe bowl and set over saucepan with simmering water. Stir gently just until melted. Remove chocolate from heat and set aside. Keep water simmering.
- Add egg whites and sugar to metal bowl of an electric mixer. Set mixer bowl over saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and/or an instant read thermometer reads 140°F.
- Remove bowl from stove. Attach to mixer and using the whisk attachment/or using your beaters, whip egg white mixture at medium speed until it forms a light, glossy white meringue and the bottom of the bowl feels room temperature to the touch (about 10 minutes). It’s important to let it cool to room temperature, this was my mistake first time around.
- Switch to the paddle attachment/just keep mixing with electric beaters. On low speed, add butter one cube at a time, incorporating each completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. (If it curdles, just keep beating!) Add vanilla, salt and melted chocolate, and continue beating until smooth again.
Right. Assembly is tricky.
Yet again, I could explain this in words, but low and behold here is another super helpful American woman on YouTube who will explain it for me. Americans are great like that:
An additional step that I did was place the cake back in the fridge for half an hour, then using an icing spatula dipped in hot water and dried off, ran it over the edge of my cakes to make it smooth.
Decorate as you and your village see fit. I also watched a whole lot of YouTube videos on that, but at the end of the day it’s just about giving it a go. And then calling your mum.
Cake layers can be made ahead, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, placed in a freezer safe bag and frozen. When ready to use, take them out of the freezer and defrost immediately or allow to thaw at room temperature. Frosting frozen cakes can be easier because they are firmer.
I recommend making the frosting the same day you will be icing the cake – preferably at least a day before the occasion the cake is for. Once iced, the cake can be refrigerated. The icing will firm up in the fridge, making it easier to travel with the cake without ruining it.
If refrigerated, remove cake from fridge at least 1 hour before eating to allow frosting time to soften again. Leftovers can be stored however you feel comfortable, refrigerated or covered at room temperature.
Swisse meringue buttercream frosting: http://cravingchronicles.com/2011/07/08/my-favorite-chocolate-cake/
How to make Swisse meringue buttercream frosting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf5KQolKryE
How to frost a cake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf5KQolKryE