And because we really struggle to finish full sized cakes between our family of four, I find birthdays a great excuse to bake cake without having to worry about how I'm going to finish it off!
2016 was a bit of an exciting year for me, in that I think I've finally started to get the hang of decorating cakes. Not to a professional level by any means, but for the first time in my life, I achieved straight and slightly smooth sides on a cake and I could almost get away with saying that these cakes were purchased and not homemade. Almost.
These were originally going to be a separate post each, but it's 2017 now and it'll probably be 2018 by the time I get around to writing about each individually, so here's a little bit of indulgence in one post!
My coconut lemon cake was the first of attempts and far from perfect. The butter cream curdled multiple times on me and I had to use chocolate everywhere to cover the cracks but it was definitely a good learning experience. The combination of the coconut poke cake layers and lemon curd filling were deliciously good match, although much too sweet.
I thought I'd try something similar, this time with chocolate cake (which tends to have less of a failure rate for me) along with a chocolate drip not because it's popular these days, but because it covers all the boo-boos. That, and everyone likes chocolate cake right?
I used my current favourite chocolate cake recipe, filled it with chocolate crémeux, and iced with coffee swiss meringue buttercream to make a decadent mocha drip cake. We only got through half the cake because it was much larger than I thought it'd be, but it was definitely a winner.
Because we struggled to finish a 20cm cake between 12 people, I thought I'd start downsizing to 14cm for my white chocolate vanilla cake, which I made with my trusty sour cream pound cake recipe for the cake layers and iced with whipped white chocolate ganache, which I found much more difficult to work with than my usually dark choc ganache. I really liked the watercolour effect for the icing, it really gives it the 'wow' factor, although the drip wasn't as thick as I had hoped.
And lucky last, and quite a different cake for me, a vegan chocolate cake, using a recipe I had bookmarked about 7 years ago. It was rather challenging because of the limitations for the ingredients I could use. I had considered playing around with aquafaba but wasn't sure if that would turn into a complete disaster, so I played it safe and covered the cake in Nuttelex buttercream and a dark chocolate drip. The chocolate cake turned out surprisingly well, although not quite as nice as my usual recipe. I probably won't be turning to vegan baking any time soon but it was definitely a fun experience!
And that's a wrap for 2016- here's to more exciting and delectable cakes for 2017!