For quite some time I have wanted to bake and decorate a birthday cake. A “proper”, at least two-layers, cake with some frosting. Watching the videos and pictures of what others have been doing, it looks quite easy and fun… Well, as I have just discovered, it definitely requires some practice before your cake starts looking like a piece of art. And trying to achieve ok looking frosting with a simple table knife is quite opposite to fun. If I want to continue in my cake experiments I will have to invest into some proper cake decoration tools, like offset spatula.
Anyway, everybody has to start somewhere. I took my own birthday as a risk free opportunity:) The only disappointed “customer” would be me.
For beginners like me, it would probably be much easier to work with a classic sponge cake. This cake, because it contains raspberries directly in the dough, was really soft and tasty, but more difficult for assembling because of its softness.
I didn’t have several round cake forms, so I used a baking tray. Made one big square piece, cut it in half and thus created the two layers of the cake. That worked quite ok. But I made a mistake by putting the layers onto each other for trimming only to realize I have take to top layer off to apply the frosting on the bottom layer, and then put it on again. The top layer of course started to fall apart during the manipulations.
This might not look like the fanciest cake, but the combination of raspberries and chocolate tastes great!
All at room temperature.
- 405g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 230 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 480 ml buttermilk (or 120 ml milk and 120 ml plain yoghurt)
- 350 g granulated sugar (the cake was very sweet, I will probably use a bit less sugar next time)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- around 150 g raspberries
- around 130 g chocolate chips
Cream cheese frosting:
- 230 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 300 g confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (gives really dark chocolate result)
- 3 – 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: raspberries for decoration
Make the dough
Preheat oven to 180ºC (approx. 350ºF). Butter and flour a cake form(s).
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter and sugar. Add eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Add the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour mix and combine well. Fold in raspberries and chocolate chips. Be careful not to mash the raspberries too much.
Transfer the dough into the cake form(s).
Bake the cake
Bake for about 25 mins. As I baked all the dough in one sheet pan, the layer was quite thick and it needed to stay in the oven for 45 mins. Cover the cake(s) with aluminium foil towards the end of the process to prevent if from getting too brown on top.
Use a skewer to test if the cake is done. If you insert it in the centre of the cake, it should come out clean. If not, leave the cake in the oven for a few more minutes.
Prepare the frosting
In a bowl, beat the softened butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder. Add heavy cream (start with 3 spoons and add more depending on texture) and vanilla extract. Do not refrigerate before use (assuming you are going to use it for frosting shortly after preparing it).
Assemble and frost the cake
Wait until the cake cools down completely! It takes quite a long period of time, you can speed it up by wrapping the cake tightly in a plastic foil and putting it into a freezer. I let the cake cool down on the kitchen desk for 1h and 15 minutes and then put it into the freezer for another 15 minutes. Ideally, the cake and the frosting should be of a similar temperature, mainly to avoid melting of the frosting.
Trim the cake – round cakes typically require trimming the top of each layer while cakes baked in a sheet pan usually require trimming of the sides. Cover the top of the first layer with the frosting. Place the second layer of the cake on the first one and cover the top again. Spread the frosting around the sides. Decorate the top of the cake with raspberries.
Inspired by sallysbakingaddiction.com