Surprising Birthday Cake

I dearly love my friends, each of them are people who in some way have unequivocally altered my life for the better. So for them I make cake.

This cake is for one of my dearest friends, so she gets a super special cake. I would blather on about her but in terms of privacy and selfishness I want to keep her and the rest of my friends all to myself. I feel the same way about ice cream. The whole internet privacy thing is a biggy; being Gen Y it is hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t connected to the internet. And I totally understand the faults of that and the bonuses.
Fault: Time keeping has gone out of the window and eye contact is becoming a thing of the past.
Bonus: Internet Shopping! Also I tend to give out more thanks because it’s just easier now.

Mia Freedman wrote an excellent article on this actually –  I love it because I read so many blogs that are pretty much parents parading their children around. As a gal in my twenties I find the situation a bit annoying, you’ve got all these rad people doing awesome stuff and then boom a baby. Cue pictures of baby clothes and ice cream smeared faces. I’m not the maternal type – the whole thing just puts me right off.

I could go on forever about the annoyance of mum blogs, but I feel it is instead more appropriate for me to continue just not being a mum and blogging about that. Ergo one blog that is not a mum blog. Hurrah!

This cake on the other hand is fabulous, inappropriate for children and wildly fun. When I say cake I of course mean a tart.

Adapted from Heston Blumenthals Recipe

For the base

150g all butter shortbread biscuits
30g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp white caster sugar
25g neutral popping candy

For the chocolate ganache

175g whipping cream
Pinch of salt
A big handful of frozen Raspberries + extra for topping
50g fresh custard
110g dark chocolate (minimum of 60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

For the flocking

500g dark chocolate
200g vegetable oil Or Cocoa Powder


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Place the shortbread biscuits on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Place the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter and sugar. Blitz until the mixture resembles fine sand in texture.

Gently stir in the popping candy. Place the mixture inside a 15cm cake ring placed on a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten using the back of a spoon then put to one side to set.

Add the cream, salt and raspberries to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it almost comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the fresh custard.

Put the dark and milk chocolate in a bowl. Place over a bain marie (a pan of gently simmering water) and allow to melt completely. Remove from the heat.

Strain the infused cream and add to the bowl of melted chocolate a third at a time, making sure to incorporate the cream thoroughly after each addition. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.

Once the tart base has set, use a pastry brush to spread some of the ganache on top of the base and around the edges then place in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will ensure that the ganache will not seep through.

After 5 minutes, pour the remaining ganache into the ring and place the tart in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Place the tart in the freezer at least 4 hours before flocking.

After the gateau is fully frozen, sit the gateau on a wide upturning glass or pot. Remove the metal ring by lightly warming with a blow torch. Remove by carefully sliding the ring downwards. Place back in the freezer.

For the flocking, break the chocolate into chunks and place in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate by placing the bowl over a bain marie. Leave to cool slightly before stirring in the vegetable oil.

Fill the base of a paint gun with the melted chocolate mixture and attach the nozzle. To avoid redecorating the kitchen in chocolate brown, set a large cardboard box on its side to provide a protective roof and walls to work in.

Remove the gateau from the freezer and carefully lift it onto a plate. Place the gateau in the cardboard box then spray it with the chocolate, turning carefully as you go. Return it to the freezer until 20 minutes before serving.