Chocolate and Vanilla Cake

Before we start yes I will be mentioning Valentines day, no it won’t be in a lame way. Although really I don’t get all of the hate for it; I also don’t get the hype, I’m pretty darn neutral. I will however be wearing my new pink lipstick tonight, because you know what, I have a date. Yeah!

This post is mainly about furthering my skills in frosting, which was really my only measurable new years resolution. I like to think I’ve come along way since smearing frosting on with a rubber spatula; seriously what was I thinking?

The above cake was for my mum, her birthday is on valentines day. I would totally hate that, but she gets two lots of presents so I’m sure she doesn’t mind. I would though, because how many year of high school do you go through without getting anything, now imagine that kind of rejection on your birthday! Crazy; can i get away with saying cray cray, I so want to. I’m not American enough. Or you know… at all.

So here are the sites and tools I used:

-I always use a 6″ high sided pan with removable base, I just like smaller cakes and love layers. the high side means you can always get a minimum of three easy layers cut.

-Offset Spatula for frosting, super important.

-Crumb coat – this is just so ridiculous important, otherwise all that time you spent making flawless frosting is lost and your cake looks crumby; literally.

I found Meg Ryan from Miettes tutorial the best.

The best place for frosting recipes is Sweetapolita, this women is a goddess of frosting, her instructions are foolproof and you will not go wrong!

For piping in layers (keeps things clean and even!) I just use a Masterchef macaron piping set, it had the perfect large star nozzle!

Also in my travels I found out that you never put frosting that has touched the bare cake back with the fresh frosting, you’ll get crumbs in it. Scrape it on the edge of the bowl and try to use it in the crumb coat.

And as always, room temperature room temperature, room temperature!


Strawberry Tomboy Cake

You know those weeks that are perfect?

I totally didn’t have one of those weeks, too little sleep will really do that to you. But life happens, and you have to totally roll with it.

Anyway, I mastered the art of Italian frosting, but got too caught up in the frosting that I forgot a lot of the photos, so time to kick start your imagination.

This cake is super chocolatey rich combined with crazy creamy frosting; separately? Okay. Together? Amazing. Fact.

It was partly destroyed by two crazed, hungry and slightly tipsy girls; and a few forks.

Miette’s Tomboy Cake.

Warning, this recipe makes two cakes, I made them both just in case!

Taken from Miette’s Cookbook

1½ cups of plain flour
1¼ cups of unsweetened cocoa (totes important, this cake isn’t a sweet sweet cake)
1½ teaspoons of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder (yes there is a difference!)
¾  teaspoon of kosher salt (I used rock salt, because I have no idea where to get kosher salt/i’m far too lazy)
2 ounces of  70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped (Lindt is good)
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of buttermilk
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temp (this is important, makes such a difference in the outcome, same goes in any recipe, especially with butter)
½ cup of vegetable oil (I used canola, didn’t alter the cake)
2¼ cups of caster sugar


1. Liberally butter two 6-by-3-inch regular and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.

2. Preheat the oven to 170 degree.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

There is honestly flour in there! Somewhere.

4. Melt the coarsely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl by pouring the boiling water over it, stir and mix in the salt and leave to cool for 15 minutes, until it’s at room temperature (that phrase again!)

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until stiff and foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.

7. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (this is super messy if you can’t pour like me). Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.

8. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients in 3 batches and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing just do it. Stop. Seriously.

9. This bit is messy! Pour the mixture through a metal sieve. You will get covered in chocolate cake mix, it will be delish! Divide the mix into two, and bake for about 45/50 minutes until the tops spring back when touched.

10. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle the pans carefully run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen them, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. Let cool for about 20 minutes longer. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure that the interiors are completely cooled before decorating, at least 1 hour or for up to 3 days.

To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer up to 2 months.

The cake has to be totally cool before you start slicing it up! refrigerate for at least 2 hours before you cut into 3 pieces, then layer with frosting, easy!

The frosting!!This is scary, but follow each step and you will be fine! and remember, room temperature is about 17 c

2 cups of sugar
1/3  cup of water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
3 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons of vanilla essence

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook the mixture until it reaches 180 degrees C, 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a constant eye on it.

2. Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy.

3. When the sugar syrup reaches 120 degrees C, immediately pour into a heat-proof measurer. Reduce speed to low and very carefully and slooooooooowly drizzle the syrup into the mixer bowl, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t spatter. Be careful because the syrup is super hot. When you have added all of the syrup, raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is room temperature and looks like this.

4. Only when the meringue is cool enough should you begin adding the butter, butter and meringue should be the same temperature. Reduce the speed to medium. With the mixer running, drop in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. The mixture may deflate and begin to look curdled. Raise the speed to high and continue to add tablespoon-size pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more. Don’t worry if it looks wrong, raise the speed and keep going! Wee can do this! When all of the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick. Stir in the vanilla essence by hand slowly.

5. Use the buttercream immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Store in a zippered plastic bag for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer.

It won’t spread when it’s cold, so put it in the microwave at 2 blasts of 5 seconds, stirring in between, then whisk on a low speed for 5 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and shiny, don’t do what I did and do it in a hurry on high!

I added strawberry syrup, 2 tablespoons and strawberry essence half a teaspoon mid-way through the whisking.