Although experimenting with curries is my hobby, I do love baking a lot. I admit that I am not a regular baker, but whenever I bake something good, it warms the cockles of my heart to see appreciation in my loved ones’ eyes! I have been making this cake for years now and it has never let me down till date. I have worked slightly on a very old recipe passed on to my mum by a very dear friend. This nostalgic cake had been a part of many get-togethers, right from my college days till now, and touchwood, every time I was happy with the outcome.
Soon after I started blogging, did I realize that just baking a soft and fluffy cake is not the end of the story. The fun part is in making it more beautiful and scrumptious. I used buttercream icing during many occasions and loved the taste. The only thing which concerned me was that I didn’t like the use of loads of sugar. This is the reason that I generally prefer using whipped cream (which needs comparatively very less sugar) rather than the buttercream, marshmallow fondant or sugarpaste. All these techniques are unique in themselves, but using whipped cream is just my own preference. Somehow, whipped cream appeals to my cravings more than buttercream and fondant.
So I started working with whipped cream a few months back. The first time was a disaster: I used an electric mixer to whip the cream. The second time, I used a manual whisk, but soon I got very tired of whisking over and again. AN was silently noticing all these for quite a long time. Then one day, he gifted me an electric hand blender (how sweet of him!).
No, still the days of struggle were not over. One day, I whisked the cream so much that it became big lumps of butter (which I used generously on toast for the next seven days!). But experience teaches you many things. The next time onwards, I used to beat the cream only till the point I get soft peaks which stay up. But the whipped cream would soon become very soggy to work with, although I always made sure that my whisk, bowl and cream were all chilled before the process.
Now I know that for whipped cream to be stable (non-soggy), one has to add stabilizers, such as “Whip-it”. But I have not seen this product here in Hong Kong. So I used the alternate way, which was to add a little gelatin while whipping the cream. I also read somewhere that some bakers add cornstarch. I used both in my recipe and the result was fantastic! The cream didn’t become soggy and was very fluffy and comfortable to work with.
Chocolate-Coffee Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
- All-purpose flour: 90 g
- Cake flour: 10 g
- Granulated sugar: 150 g
- Hershey’s cocoa powder: 30 g
- Baking powder: 1 tsp
- Baking soda: ¾ tsp
- Cornstarch: 1 tsp
- Cold milk: 1/3 cup
- Freshly brewed coffee: 1 tbsp powder in ¼ cup warm water
- Melted butter at room temperature: 1 tbsp
- Vegetable oil: 3 tbsp
- Eggs: 3
- Pure vanilla extract: 2 tsp
- Kahlua: 1 tsp
- Salt: ¼ tsp
Mix all the dry ingredients and sift together. Mix this again using an electric mixer. Set aside.
Beat the eggs until frothy (in an electric mixer) and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Beat the mixture only until the mixture looks homogeneous.
Line a circular (medium-sized) cake tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven at 180˚C for 15 min.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and pour this mixture into the cake tin. Bake at 180˚C for 35 min. The time may vary slightly from oven to oven. At the end of 35 min, insert a skewer into the cake to check the doneness. The skewer should come out clean.
Leave the cake on the wire rack to cool. The cake should come out moist and fluffy.
When the cake is cool, divide it horizontally into two equal parts. Chop off the top of the cake if it has a “dome”, so that you get a flat surface to work with. Let’s make the whipped cream now.
Whipped cream frosting
[The cake has an orange layer first as the crumb coat, followed by a thick pink layer. The decoration is done with off-white whipped cream.]
Ingredients for each batch of orange, pink and off-white:
- Whipping cream: 1 cup
- Granulated sugar: 2 tbsp
- Cornflour: 1 tsp
- Wilton’s edible colour gel
- Gelatin: 1 tsp
- Warm water: 4 tbsp
Mix gelatin with water till it dissolves completely. If not, you can warm the mixture slightly to dissolve the gelatin. Keep aside at room temperature to cool down.
Whip the first four ingredients using a hand blender with whisk attachment (first slowly and then fast). Do not overwhip at this stage. Whip only till you get very soft peaks. Add 4 tsp of gelatin mixture very slowly, whisking constantly, till you get peaks which stand upright. Make three batches of orange, pink and off-white whipped creams in this way.
Note: Please don’t make these three batches of coloured cream together, but only when one batch is complete. This means that, proceed with whipping the pink batch only when you are done with the orange layering and have already kept the cake in the fridge. Similarly, make the off-white batch only after you have covered the cake with the pink frosting and already kept this in the refrigerator.
Use a generous amount of the orange-coloured whipped cream to crumb-coat the cake evenly and to stick together the two pieces of cake.
Refrigerate for 20 min. Since this has gelatin, the whipped cream would set very fast. Now cover the cake with the pink whipped cream and level evenly with a cake scraper.
Refrigerate again for 10 min. Take out the cake from the fridge and decorate it with off-white circles, using tip #106.
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