Velvety Cocoa Cake with Ganache

When in doubt always bake a chocolate cake. I don’t know who said this, but it is one of the most useful pieces of advice I have heard.

This velvety cocoa cake was baked for my dad’s 61st birthday. A soft and delicate cake it comes alive with each bite of ganache melting in your mouth. Its a simple recipe inspired from Martha Stewart.

Velvety cocoa cake

Velvety cocoa cake slice

Velvety Cocoa Cake with Ganache

What you will need:

  • 2 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 170 gram butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk

What to do:

  1. In a bowl, mix together flour + cocoa powder + baking soda. Then sift it with a sieve and keep aside.
  2. In another bigger bowl, whisk the butter with both the sugars until it is smooth and creamy. I generally use an electric mixer, but a whisk will also work.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, while whisking so as to make it a smooth batter.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
  5. Now to this butter mixture, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately. Fold it in with a spatula. Always start and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Prepare two 9 inch round baking pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper and generously butter the sides.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C and bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, till a skewer inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean.
  8. Once the cakes are baked, run a butter knife through the sides of the cake to release it from the pan.
  9. Turn it over to a wire mesh and let it cool completely before frosting with ganache.
  10. For ganache recipe , see here.

TIPS:

  • To make a tiered cake, I bake this recipe in three 9 inch pans, so as to do 3 layers of ganache filling. But two layers also work fine.
  • After adding flour, always gently fold in with a spatula, refrain from using a whisk. It gives softer feel to the cake.

Cocoa Cake with pineapple

Cheers!

Rutvika

Kitkat Chocolate Cake

Kitkat and Gems cake

I have found a perfect no-fail chocolate cake recipe and believe it or not I have made it 8 times in the last one month. One weekend, back to back thrice because we had guests and everyone wanted to take home a part of the cake. It is a wonderfully moist cake and stays that way easily for 2-3 days.

My best friend’s son completed a year two weeks back and I wanted to bake a cake for his party. And hence this beautiful, very easy kit-kat cake was on top of my list. My baker friend Ruby from Cakes my Passion pointed me out to this Hershey’s recipe and I can’t thank her enough. Because when I decided to make the cake, I had no idea what should be the height of these cakes so that it matches the length of the kitkat bars. And how many kitkats would I require, will they stick? What about the frosting? Hope it wont melt in the heat. How to prevent the kitkats from smudging? And so on. But here are some tips which I figured out along the way.

So here it is, recipe and the frosting technique.

Kitkat cake

Kit-kat Chocolate cake

What you will need:

  • 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, I use rice-bran, but any unflavored oil is fine
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting :

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decoration :

  • 20-22 individual sticks of kitkat
  • 30-40 gems or M&Ms

What to do :

  1. Preheat oven to 160C for 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare two 8 inch pans. Line the bottoms with a parchment paper and butter the sides and dust it with some all purpose flour.
  3. Now sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and keep it aside.
  4. Take two eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk it till it turns pale and creamy.
  5. To the egg mixture add the milk, vanilla extract and vegetable oil and whisk a couple of times.
  6. Alternately add the flour mixture and the boiling water to the egg mixture and whisk till it is all incorporated together. Always start and end with dry ingredients i.e the flour mixture.
  7. The batter will be thin, but the boiling water ensures that all the flour is incorporated properly.
  8. Pour it equally into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes. Release the cake from the sides and turn it onto a cooling rack. let it cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting, melt butter and add in all the ingredients and whisk them together till it forms a smooth frosting. It makes about 2 cups of frosting, which is perfect for this cake with a little leftover.
  11. Frost the cake and line it with kitkats. Spreads gems on top.

Notes :

  • Keep the kitkats in the refrigerator for an hour before using them to prevent any smudges.
  • If not eating on the same day, then keep the cake in the fridge once frosted so that it stays for a long time. (The frosting contains milk so it has to be refrigerated)
  • The It is better to use 8 inch cake pans so that the height of the kitkat bars gets evenly matched with the cakes stacked on each other.
  • After sticking the kitkats, tie it with a thin ribbon or plastic thread for a while so that it sets.
  • You can make the base cake a day in advance so that it cools totally before frosting and the crumbs settle down.

How to frost a cake :

Line with paper

bake the cake, cool it and upturn it on a cardboard tray for frosting. Cover the cake board with strips of parchment so that the frosting does not stick to the board.

Frosting with spatula

Start spreading the frosting on the top with an offset spatula.

Stack another layer on top and cover the sides with frosting

Stack another layer on top and cover the sides with frosting

Use cold kitkats

Frost the top, smoothen the sides and start sticking kitkats on the sides

Sticking kitkats

Cover the cake on all sides and then remove the parchment paper lightly

Decorate the top with colorful candies

Decorate the top with colorful candies

Remove parchment

And you are done!

Black Forest Cake and Bed (Ar)rested!

Two months back at the bake sale, one of my friends was narrating her pregnancy experiences to me. She’d been told to take bed rest from her 8th month onwards. I listened politely, but stuff like this never happens to me. Right? Right?

And exactly 10 days later, my baby was in a hurry to come out too and I was put on total bed rest for 6 long weeks, at the least. There you go. I was thinking to myself “How did this happen to me? TO ME??”

My pregnancy was relatively easy till then and I had just bought some lovely maternity dresses and wanted to wear them and go out with my adoring husband, while lapping up all the attention. And there I was, stuck to the bed. Albeit I knew it was for a fixed time, and the alternate was a preterm baby and all complications, still, the first 3-4 days were the worst. It was as if a full speed car got stuck in the middle of a highway. Stopped. Midway.

But then, acceptance slowly seeped in. It became less difficult with each passing day. I got time to read. To pause when reading and to think. About the book or an article and about what it said. For the last several years I had been reading, but never pausing. Never taking it in. Gobbling it up, and filing it away in the reserves of the brain. Now was the time to ruminate.

To look out of the window on crisp winter mornings. To look and to stare. Think about the swaying leaves, and notice how that purple-rumped sunbird came for honey on the same flower, everyday at the same time. To listen to the various sounds omnipresent in the air. The vehicle horns, the chug-chug of a long distance train, a bus coming to a halt, children laughing, furniture being moved in the adjacent apartment, two birds chirping on the potted plant outside, a distant dog barking, first loudly and then fading away. May be it was chasing a car. Just like my mind was chasing a thought, first in a single solid story, connecting to something else, and then something next while the first stream of thought vanished.

It also gave me time to think about parenting. Analyze people around me and their parenting styles. Pick up different situations from people’s lives and imagine what I would have done in that scenario. Is it wise to read a lot of parenting books and go by the milestones prescribed? Or go by my gut, intuition and be a parent accordingly. One thing I decided for sure is that the first six months, the baby should be fully connected to me. I will have the exclusive right to feed the baby. Even after I resume work 3 months post delivery, I will hop back home as my office is close-by. I owe it to my baby to give it a healthy start. And come on, it’s a kickass feeling to be the sole provider for the baby. My best friend just accomplished this feat, so I know it is tough, but doable.

Sometimes it is essential to slow down. To take a break and let your mind wander. Let your body recuperate. Let the baby making take centre-stage while work and baking and blogging takes a back seat. I took this 6 week break for the first time since I ever remember. And may be bed rest is meant for those of us who won’t voluntarily slow down. Slow down. Pause. And get back to activity like never before. I am sure this was the calm before the storm. Before a screaming baby comes into this world and captures our attention. All of our attention.

I cant wait 🙂

Rutvika

P.S : From yesterday my bed rest has been relaxed and I can flutter around waiting for the baby to show up.

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And while baking has been suspended for the last few weeks, I had a black forest cake ready to be shared. I tweaked the original recipe and substituted it with a favourite dark chocolate cake and whipped cream and cherries on top. The whipped cream absorbs the depth of the dark chocolate and there is a medley of flavors in your mouth with some cherries. Its beautiful! And fancy, great for a celebration.

Black forest cake

Black forest Cake

What you will need :

  • 180 gm dark chocolate cut into pieces
  • 200 gm butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 75 ml milk
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, I use Tropolite
  • 4 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can of maraschino cherries
  • Chocolate shaving for decoration

What to do :

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160C. Gease two 8 inch baking pans, and line the base with parchment paper.
  2. Mix lemon juice and milk and keep it aside.
  3. Mix instant coffee in water and let it dissolve.
  4. Melt butter and chopped chocolate in pan and remove from heat once it is melted. Keep aside to let it cool.
  5. Whisk the dry ingredients together, namely all purpose flour + Cocoa powder + baking soda + baking powder + corn flour.
  6. Then add granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix well.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and add milk and lemon mixture. Then add chocolate mixture and mix till thoroughly combined.
  8. Fold in the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.
  10. Meanwhile, whip the cold cream till it forms soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract whip till it forms stiff peaks.
  11. Chop 3/4th of the maraschino cherries and reserve 1/4 cherries for decoration.
  12. For assembly of the cake, take one cake layer and spread it generously with the whipped cream on all sides. Spread it with a layer of chopped cherries. Then place the second cake layer on top. Cover it with the remaining whipped cream.
  13. Spread chocolate shavings on the cake and all sides and decorate with cream and whole cherries on top.
  14. Black forest cake is ready!

Note :

  1. You can use the cherry juice from the can as imbibing syrup to moisten the cake.
  2. This chocolate cake recipe can also be used with other buttercream icing.

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