Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Baked my Baby's First Birthday Cake!

I guess I'm the baking kind of mum. I love it :) I baked my baby girl's first Birthday cake. I knew I wanted a cake that would A) taste delicious and moist B) look elegant, girly and cute C) feed about 40 people. So I decided on a layered cake with classic chocolate and moist vanilla, with a light whipped cream filling. The frosting was something that had me thinking for a while. I wasn't sure if the whipped cream would hold in room temperature and since I was planning on making the cake the night before, I wanted something that would still look and taste as good on the morning of the party. I pondered over fondant, but somehow wasn't very keen on it. And then one morning as I woke up, the idea of a white chocolate ganache came to me, just like that :) Maybe because I always knew that I wanted  something white(ish) with a sprinkling of colour on it, or something. And I ended up making a (pretty) tall cake frosted with decadent white chocolate ganache and topped with Smarties in the colours of the party. I was rather happy with the result, although it did look very homemade, which I think is quite endearing :)

Ganache is not something difficult at all! I can say it quite confidently now. When I started looking for recipes on the Internet, I read a lot about how tricky it is, how it can go horribly wrong, etc. But I must admit, I found it actually very simple and foolproof. Either that or I was very lucky :) Here's how I made it -

I used -

  • 1 part heavy whipping cream
  • 3 parts white chocolate chips (roughly chopped so they melt quicker)
Method - 
  • Place chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl (preferably either stainless steel or a microwave safe one)
  • Heat cream in a saucepan on a low flame until you start seeing tiny bubbles around the edge.
  • Pour heated cream over the pulsed chocolate chips and let sit for a minute or so.
  • Using a spatula, gently stir in everything, until the chocolate and cream turn into a smooth paste. It will be quite runny at this stage. If you feel the cream wasn't hot enough to melt all the chocolate, stick the (microwave safe) bowl into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
  • Once you're happy with the mixture and there are no lumps, leave it (preferably uncovered) on the counter to cool down completely.
  • Now you need to wait for this ganache to 'set' to a nice, soft spreadable consistency. If the room is cool enough, you could leave it out on the counter overnight. If not, simply cover with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge.
  • When you're ready to frost your cake next morning, take ganache out of the fridge and reheat in the microwave in short 30-second bursts until the desired spreadable consistency is achieved.
  • Frost away!
This mixture holds well and I did not have any problems with it considering the frosted cake was left on the table all day! You could even store remaining ganache in an airtight container to use later.

If you want to make a dark chocolate ganache, it's 1 part heavy cream to 2 parts dark/semi-dark chocolate. The procedure is the same.

Oh another thing I saw on the Internet, if you're using  heavy whipping cream, like I did, you could even whip the ganache just before frosting for an even lighter and creamier texture. I didn't this time, but maybe will try it the next time.

I'm still very much an amateur when it comes to cake decorating and I had quite a hard time trying to get a smooth finish on my cake and getting the sides 'straight'. I tried for a bit, but then decided I was quite happy with my homemade look :) The cake tasted good and that's all that mattered, well, to me!


Sowjanya said...

Great job Divya. I recently saw a Masterchef final episode where they made dark chocolate ganache and they were saying that it's such a tricky thing to do.. Especially because the cream has to just start boiling before it is poured into the chocolate .. So very well done. I'm sure you were so satisfied with the end result.

Divya Rao said...

Thanks Sowjanya!
Honestly did not find the ganache intimidating at all! I probably shouldn't speak to soon :)

Divya Rao said...

*too soon!


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