So this has been a busy week of baking and not much time to blog post so I am definitely playing catch-up - and we’re only half-way through January! I don’t often blog about my celebration cakes but I had lots of fun with different techniques for this cake so I thought I would share some of the elements that went into making it.
This was made for the husband of a dear friend and I usually make cakes covered in fondant for them. But this time we decided to go for something a bit different and this chocolate ganache drip cake was born. I made a 7 inch Chocolate Truffle Torte, split it into 3 layers and then filled and covered it with Chocolate Ganache Buttercream before adding a Chocolate Ganache drip. This is not for the chocolate faint-hearted as within its celebratory exterior, 725g dark chocolate lurks within – but I’m a firm believer that birthday cake calories definitely don’t count ;-)
Katherine Sabbath is the queen of these drip cakes with an array of fabulous colours. There is a great blog post of Katherine’s tips for styling these drip cakes from Delish here including some mini video footage that I love referring to when making these cakes.
So when you come to decorate the cake, you can use whatever comes to hand. Maracons, chocolate bark, sweeties and chocolates you have in the house, pretzels – the list goes on. As this was a special birthday cake, I wanted to make three decorations that were in keeping with the brown and gold theme. Sugar Glass, Meringue Bark and Honeycomb.
The glass is made from sugar and cocoa nibs. It’s very easy to make with just these two ingredients.
- 200G CASTER SUGAR
- 2 TBSP COCOA NIBS (or any other toppings you think would look good in the glass)
- Melt 200g caster sugar in a saucepan over a low heat
- By the time all this sugar has melted, it should have turned a lovely caramel colour and be time to take it off the stove
- Poured this on a baking tray lined with silpat and spread it out with a spatula - this is the time to create swirly edges that will be really interesting when you come to break it into shards
- Pop it in the fridge and let it set
- Once set, break it into different shaped shards
Note: once set and out of the fridge, it can go a bit sticky in room temperature so break it up straight from the fridge and store it covered and in a cool place.
Crunchies remain one of my favourite chocolate bars - and I was so excited the first time I made honeycomb. I've had my share of misses now with the temperature of honeycomb (making delicious toffee in the process!) so now I always use a thermometer and don't chance getting the state of readiness wrong by the colour alone.
I usually make a block of honeycomb and then break it up and coat it with chocolate. This time I wanted to see if I could made shaped honeycomb sweets by pouring it into molds. Due to the speed of the stage when the bicarb is added and then getting it into the tin, I had time to take 6 teaspoons of the honeycomb and get them into the molds. By the time I got the remaining mix into the bigger tin, it was deflated. It still tasted good when it was set but had lost its volume. I wasn't too concerned about this as I wanted to blitz the honeycomb to make a fine crumb that could be sprinkled across the cake.
- 200G CASTER SUGAR
- 100G GOLDEN SYRUP
- 2 TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- Grease the tin and line it with baking parchment
- Heat the caster sugar and golden syrup over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved (around 10 minutes) - it can be stirred at this stage but no stirring as soon as the sugar has dissolved!
- Pop in a candy thermometer and heat the sugar to 160 degrees celcius
- When the temperature's reached , remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the bicarb until it's fully mixed in
- At this stage, I scooped out 6 teaspoons of the honeycomb and put them into a silicone candy mold (each cavity had 1 teaspoon) - if you're just making one block, then pour it all into the prepared baking tin
- Leave to set at room temperature
- Once set, this can be broken up into pieces
- To cover with chocolate, melt the chocolate in the microwave, removing it when the chocolate is almost but not quite melted and then stir until melted completely
- Dip the honeycomb pieces into the honeycomb or fully immerse them using a fork and then leave to set on a piece of baking parchment
- To make the honeycomb dust to sprinkle on the top of the cake, take some honeycomb (without chocolate) and blitz it in the food processor until you reach your desired level of consistency
from the Meringue Girls Everything Sweet
I love meringue. My very favourite treat is macarons but I love how versatile meringue is in creating edible prettiness. I saw this in the Meringue Girls Everything Sweet and wanted to try Meringue Bark rather than Chocolate Bark. It’s the same recipe as their kisses, just treated a little differently.
- 150G CASTER SUGAR
- 75G EGG WHITES (I use Two Chicks)
- DECORATION (these can be customised to your favourite sweeties and toppings)
- For example, Cocoa Powder, Pearl Balls, Silver Nonpareils, Chocolate Covered Popping Candy, Melted Dark Chocolate
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (fan)
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread out the sugar evening across it
- Bake for 7 minutes in the oven
- In the meantime, whisk the egg whites in a standalone mixer, slowly at first and then increasing the speed – you want the egg whites to reach stiff peak at the same time as the sugar’s 7 minutes in the oven is up
- Put the mixer on full speed and add the hot sugar a spoonful at a time, allowing each spoonful to be fully incorporated and return to stiff peak before adding the next one
- When all the sugar has been added, mix for at least 5 minutes until you can rub a little of the meringue between your thumb and forefinger and it no longer feels grainy
- Turn the oven down to 100 degrees (fan)
- If you’re making meringue kisses, put your mixture into a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a lined baking tray, pulling up at the end to create a little peak
- These should take around 40 minutes in the oven and are ready when the meringue can be removed cleanly from the baking paper
- If you’re making meringue bark, spread the meringue out over a lined baking tray until it’s 0.5cm deep.
- Add any decorations you like right now – I used a sprinkling of cocoa powder, pearl balls, silver nonpareils and chocolate covered popping candy
- Bake for 1 hour until the meringue bark can be lifted cleanly from the baking tray
- When it’s cool, drizzle melted dark chocolate across the bark
- When the chocolate has set, break the meringue into shards of different sizes