Whether it’s the 1st birthday or a surprise 30th birthday or a 100 year celebration, birthday cakes are as special as the birthdays themselves. Ain’t they? Birthdays for me are sheer nostalgia of home made fruit cakes specially baked by Maa with lots of love.I would wait year round for this special day to smell and taste the richness and goodness of home baked cakes.There were not many bakery shops back then in Kolkata and not many catering custom made cakes ,so Maa was the only one who I would look up-to on my birthdays for cakes.I would be her little assistant helping her making the cake batter or keeping an eye on the cake from outside the glass door of the cake oven.Helping her doing the cake was so much fun.Little did I know one day this cake apprenticeship with mom will inspire me to bake birthday cakes myself.
It was my husband’s birthday,been 4 year into the marriage I have been doing the baking ritual every year on his birthdays or shall I say growing with my baking abilities on the occasion of his birthdays?!! I have planned an impromptu surprise party; there was so much to do like inviting guests,arranging things, doing the groceries ,baking a cake -all that secretly! Quite a tough task at hand with only 5 days to his birthday.So I decided to ease out on the cake.The plan was to make a simple chocolate cake with a fudge ganache and easy but interesting decoration to go with.I chalked out the idea and look of the cake that I would like to make, and made a quick list of ingredients to buy.Once the ingredients were at my disposal making the birthday cake was a cakewalk,literally !
And here comes the confession : I am no pro at this,just learning my way through lots of trial and error- the art of baking.But honestly I feel baking can be therapeutic.It’s like a magic to see a batter of cocoa powder,sugar,plain flour to transform slowly into a moist fluffy chocolate cake.It’s like the caterpillar to butterfly transformation story for me.
Recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake with Strawberry and Twix
For the Cake
225 g plain flour/self raising flour
350 g caster sugar
85 g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 free range eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml vegetable oil/sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla essence
250 ml boiling water
For the chocolate fudge icing
400 g blocks of milk chocolate,chopped
2/3 cup thickened cream/double cream
1/2 cup caster sugar or to taste
3-4 tbsp milk (if required)
For decoration of the cake
200 g strawberries, halved
A few packet of Twix or KitKat
A ribbon of your choice
Preparation of the Chocolate Cake
1.Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F
2.Grease a cake tin of 20 cm/8 inch
3.Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder ,sugar in a large bowl ensuring that there is no lump in the batter.
4.Add the baking powder and salt to the mix.Give a dry whisk with the hand blender to mix all the dry ingredients.
5.Start adding all the wet ingredients (except boiling water) one by one: eggs,milk,oil and vanilla essence or extract.
6.Using an electric beater or a hand blender mix the batter well so that the ingredients are well combined.
7.Add the boiling water a little at a time,blending well so that the batter is smooth and liquidly.
8.Pour the mixture in the greased cake tin.
9.Bake at 180C for about 40 mins or until the top is firm to touch or skewer inserted to the centre of the cake comes out clean.
10.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 mins.
11.Use a spatula or a blunt knife to loosen the cake from the side and base.
12.Cool the cake in the wire wrack completely at least for 2-3 hour before applying the fudge icing.
Preparation of the fudge icing
1.Add 1″ of water in a medium saucepan or pot and bring to gentle simmer(you can speed up the process by adding 1 tsp of salt to the water)
2.Place heat proof bowl with an handle attached on top the pot when the water has reached the boiling point.Make sure that the bottom of the pot is not touching the boiling water.The steam of the water will gradually heat up the pot.
3.Add the chopped chocolate pieces to the pot and stir occassionaly until smooth and melted.Add the cream at this point mixing throughly.Finally add the sugar to the mix and let it melt.
4.Keep little milk handy,in case if the fudge icing becomes very thick,adding milk will make it smoother and easier to apply on the cake.
Decorating the Chocolate Cake
1.You can keep the fudge icing in the fridge for half an hour or so to thicken it a bit.It should be thick enough to hold the Twix or Kit-kat sticks when placed against the cake wall.
2.Spread the fudge icing or ganache with the back of a flat spatula generously on top and all around the cake so that it forms a thick coating.
3.Then stick the Twix or Kit-Kat sticks,one by one against the fudge coating.
4. Top the cake with halved strawberries.
5.Drizzle some of the leftover fudge icing on the strawberries if you wish to.
6.Don’t forget to tie a ribbon round the cake to make it look like the perfect gift ever 🙂
When serving individual portions warm the cake pieces with a Twix or KitKat stick for about 30 seconds in the microwave and serve with a scoop of your favourite vanilla icecream.