It's so typical of me, whenever there is an occasion to celebrate, I will usually volunteer to bake something for it. Even if I wasn't asked, I'd usually like to whip something up for it. A bunch of us were spending the new years weekend up in the Blue Mountains. There was an email going around that there was to be a suprise birthday cake for 2 people who were celebrating their birthdays around that time so I put my hand up to bake a cake. Why spend money on a cake when I can bake one? No charge! Just a whole lot of love and pride =).
As always, there is the decision of what kind of cake to make. I was told chocolate mud was always a winner, BORING I thought to myself. Then I remembered that there was a caramel mud cake recipe on taste that I wanted to have a go at. It was an easy recipe execution wise which was perfect for me as I was busy organising and cooking for family coming over on new year's eve before I headed to the mountains on new year's day.
I baked this while Di was over for dinner. Talk about multi-tasking, I made her one of my brioche bun burgers (without the parmesan fries), and then while she ate I was baking the cake and prepping all the food for the family dinner, and baking creme caramel for the family too. (Did I mention Mum and Dad had gone away to Vietnam? I was cooking for 15-20 people all by myself!) I also had her helping me peel garlic, talk about making the girl pay for her dinner! =D
Recipe for Caramel Mud Cake (as is from taste.com.au)
• Melted butter, to grease• 200g butter, cubed
• 200g white chocolate (Nestle brand), chopped
• 200g (1 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
• 180ml (3/4 cup) hot water
• 1 tbs golden syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla essence
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 150g (1 cup) plain flour
• 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter. Line base and side with non-stick baking paper.
2. Place butter, chocolate, sugar, water, golden syrup and vanilla essence in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat with a wooden spoon for 5 mins or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside for 20 mins to cool.
3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift combined flours over chocolate mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Pour mixture into pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-60 mins or until a skewer comes out almost clean. Stand cake for 20 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
I had to restrain from buying any more things for my already overstocked pantry and start actually using the stuff in there to decorate my cake with. I had these wild figs which were close to expiry date so they needed to be used quickly and I thought that they would look quite pretty as cake decorations. A few also had to be eaten in the process, yummy!
I decided to make a dark chocolate ganache to glaze the cake with. It was pretty much one part thickened cream to one part dark chocolate melts, microwaved in bursts of 30 seconds and stirred until melted. I was originally thinking a caramel frosting but thought a dark chocolate ganache would be a good contrast to the sweet dense caramel mud cake. And using the ganache in a glazing manner meant the cracks in the top of my cake would be disguised nicely. Di did mention the cake looked a little small, I assured here that because it was a mud cake it would go a long way, and it sure did!For the writing I just melted some white chocolate in a small plastic sleeve in a bowl of boiling hot water, cut the corner tip off and then piped the wording. After 'Birthday' I made a bit of a booboo and had no way of rectifying it so I improvised and turned it into the strange flower and wavey thingy. Before leaving the house I grabbed a tube of black writing gel and wrote some extra stuff on the cake board 'Happy New Year' and 'Happy Engagement' to the newly engaged couple.
The new year's weekend was a very hot one. I was worried that the cake would not be able to survive the long car ride from my house, via Di's house, via Ryan's house to the Blue Mountains. But thankfully the cake arrived unscathed and intact. The ganache actually held really well too. After some subtle pleading from Di we managed to score some vanilla ice cream to serve with the cake for dessert that night. It was more like a midnight snack by the time we ate it due to a late and heavy dinner of spaghetti bolognese. But it was well worth the extra calories! =D