Sunday, December 4, 2011

My 30th Birthday/New Year Cake – Part One

No matter how many times you tell yourself that turning 30 is the same as turning 29, it is not. Perhaps it is everyone else’s expectations that make it different. We live in a small apartment, so having a party is not really an option, especially on New Year’s Eve. We normally attend a New Year’s Eve party thrown by our friends. I am very lucky they normally put some candles on a cake and wish me a happy birthday.

This year I have decided to make my own birthday/New Year cake to take to the party. I was in two minds whether to make a chocolate mud cake, or go with something lighter. New Years Eve in Australia is normally a sweaty affair. Temperatures are normally in the high thirty degrees. For this reason, I have decided against a heavy mud cake and chosen a more summery cake. The recipe for the cake was adapted from the ‘lime and coconut’ cake recipe from Mich Turner’s book Fantastic Party Cakes.

Due to ingredient availability, I had to make a few substitutions. Instead of using a block of creamed coconut as per the original recipe, I opted for tinned coconut cream. To be honest, I have never seen a block of creamed coconut. As a work around, I skimmed the congealed coconut cream from an unshaken tin, and substituted it gram for gram for the original ingredient. I also omitted the 2 tablespoons of milk included in the original recipe assuming that the coconut cream would have added enough liquid to the batter.

Another substitution that I needed to make due to ingredient availability was to use white caster sugar instead of golden caster sugar. I see golden caster sugar used in many recipes, however for some reason none of the supermarkets in my area stock it. Is there a great difference between the two?

The final change to the cake recipe was baking the cake in a small round cake tin as opposed to two sandwich tins, which appeared to double the cooking time. My adapted recipe is as follows:

Coconut Cake

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g white caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g coconut cream, skimmed from the to of an unshaken tin

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (fan forced).
2. Measure the cake ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until you have a smooth batter (I used my food processor).
3. Pour the batter into a small lined cake tin (7"/18cm) and cover with a piece of baking paper to stop the top of the cake from browning too quickly.
4. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until risen, light golden and the cake springs back when pressed.

The resulting cake is quite dense, however it is moist and has a very light flavour. To be honest, the flavour is so light, that it is hard to tell what it is. I am not sure how much of the coconut taste I have lost by substituting coconut cream for creamed coconut. Should I have added some coconut essence, or desiccated/shredded coconut?

I am glad I decided to make a test cake, before making my actual birthday cake. Overall, I am quite happy with how the cake turned out. I covered the test cake in a plain buttercream icing. I am planning to use a combination of lemon and lime buttercream on the final cake.

I took the time to practise my decorating skills. I am quite rusty. Covering a cake in buttercream is not as easy as it seems. My edges were far from crisp and the sides far from smooth. I also attempted to pipe some buttercream roses. These were a disaster. Perhaps it was the heat (36 degrees Celsius), or the buttercream itself - I had used a frosting buttercream recipe (100%), rather than a decorator’s buttercream. Either way, I will make the buttercream roses for the cake ahead of schedule. I am sure the resident nom-monster will have no problems eating those that are not of a sufficient standard to make it onto the final cake.

Here are a couple of photos:

Smoothing buttercream is not as easy as it looks!

The petal edges are a bit jagged :(

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely right about the coconut. You either have to use creamed coconut (completely different to coconut cream - it's solid and you can grate it) or be prepared to add essence to boost the coconut flavour.


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