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Midnight Galaxy Dream Cake

It’s unlike me to bring out the bling, but I like an element of surprise.  You know, expect the unexpected…

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Two things happened.

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Firstly, I had this magical fantasy sprinkle mix I made a little while ago, and I was waiting in anticipation to bring it out and throw it onto a dark and dreamy chocolate cake.  And two, it was Kyle’s birthday.

The stars had aligned!

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The result, this magical Midnight Galaxy Dream Cake, (with matching cupcakes of course, because if you’re going to go O.T.T then do it properly).

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This cake fitted Kyle well.  He loves the world of make-believe, and he loves chocolate.

This cake is dark, rich dreamy chocolate layers.  It’s paired with a salted caramel filling in the centre of the cupcakes, and I used the salted caramel to layer inbetween the cake layers too.  The frosting is a dark, silky rich, salted chocolate ganache, enriched with butter, sugar and more cocoa powder.  It’s decadent, and perfect for a birthday spoil!

Not to mention the dramatic effect of the black on black, to achieve that midnight sky effect.

You’ll see in my notes below, I do reference the challenges with achieving a perfect black color, which I don’t feel I did, but I got as close as I possibly could without compromising the taste of the cake, and the frosting.

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Before I move onto the recipe, I want to credit one of my greatest inspirations, a baking rock star in my eyes;

Rosie the creator of @Sweetapolita.

She has not only run a beautiful, creative, and hugely successful baking blog for years, but she has also published her own bake book, and she has launched her own sprinkle shop.  If you want to see pure perfection in the art of cake making and decorating, go and check out her work.

I adapted her dark and dreamy double fudge cupcake recipe to make this midnight galaxy dream cake and cupcakes, and I was hugely inspired by her exquisite and exciting sprinkle range.  Whilst Rosie’s sprinkles are a bit too expensive for me to order and have shipped over to South Africa, because the shipping is sadly so expensive, I was able to draw on her idea of mixing sprinkles to achieve a vision of something I had in mind, and fulfill a creative idea.

Thanks Rosie for all the inspiration, and I wish you all the very best!

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Midnight Galaxy Dream Cake / Cupcakes

Makes 3 x 6” round cakes

OR

24 cupcakes

(cake recipe adapted from Sweetapolitas Dark & Dreamy Double Fudge Cupcakes)  

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour or cake flour

1 cup good quality cocoa powder

2t baking soda

1t baking powder

1t salt

1 1/3 cups granulated (caster) sugar

1 cup whole milk

½ cup strong coffee

6T canola or vegetable oil

2T vanilla essence

2 whole eggs

2t black gel food colouring (optional)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C, and line the bottom of your baking tins with parchment paper, and grease the sides. If making cupcakes, line the cupcake tins with paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar, then use a whisk to mix together.
  3. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, slowly beat the eggs until combined. Add the oil, vanilla and milk and combine on a low speed.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two parts, mixing after each addition until combined.
  5. Add the hot coffee to the mixture, and combine. The mixture will be quite “runny”.
  6. Finally add the gel coloring, starting with half a teaspoon at a time until desired colour is achieved.
  7. Pour the batter evenly between the three cake tins. If making cupcakes, only fill the cups halfway.
  8. For the cakes, bake for +- 30 minutes, and then test centres with a toothpick or skewer to see if they come out clean. For cupcakes, bake for 12 to 14 minutes, testing centres with a toothpick or skewer to see if they come out clean.
  9. Remove the cakes/cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes, before carefully transferring out of tins onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Salted Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup cream

200g dark chocolate drops

1 cup salted butter (softened)

1 cup dark, good quality cocoa powder

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

2t vanilla extract

Black gel colouring (approx. 3t)

Pinch of course sea salt

Sprinkles of your choice to decorate

Method:

  1. In a pot over a medium heat, warm the cream until just boiling.
  2. Place the dark chocolate drops into a heat proof bowl. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, and stir continuously until chocolate has melted, and cream and chocolate have combined.  Texture should be smooth and glossy.
  3. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, start on combining your frosting.
  5. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and pale (about 4 minutes).
  6. In a large bowl, sift together cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.
  7. Add the cocoa powder and sugar mix to the butter in three parts, combining after each addition.
  8. Add the cooled ganache to the butter mixture, along with vanilla, and salt, and whip until smooth.
  9. Add the food coloring in small amounts, mixing well, until desired colour is achieved.

*Optional – Salted Caramel Centre:

Ingredients:

1 cup cream

1 cup granulated (caster) sugar

6T salted butter

Pinch of course sea salt

Method:

  1. In a pot over a medium heat, place the sugar and stir continuously. It will begin to form chunky crystals, and melt.  Keep stirring until it has melted completely and turned a copper colour.
  2. Remove from heat, and add butter in tablespoons, stirring in back over the heat after each addition (watch out for splattering).
  3. Once butter is incorporated, add the cream slowly (again watch for splattering), and then stir continuously over heat for one minute.
  4. Remove from heat, and transfer into a small jug immediately.
  5. Stir in salt, and allow to cool to room temperature, and thicken.

Assembly of Cake:

  1. Begin by placing your first cake layer onto a cake board, or cake stand.
  2. If you have made the salted caramel: Add a layer of salted caramel and spread evenly.
  3. Add a thick layer of chocolate ganache frosting over the salted caramel.
  4. Place the second cake layer on top, and repeat same.
  5. Place the final cake layer on top, and then frost the top and outside of the cake with chocolate ganache.
  6. Cool the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes to set the frosting a little, then repeat frosting the outside and the top with another layer of chocolate ganache frosting to achieve a smooth finish.
  7. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sprinkles.
  8. Using a large, round tip nozzle, pipe remaining frosting around the top, outside layer of the cake.
  9. To sprinkle the bottom and sides of the cake, place the cake carefully into a large baking tray. Gently press the sprinkles into the bottom of the cake (the tray will catch excess sprinkles).  To get to other areas, I simply take small amounts in my hand, and throw them at the sides of the cake (a little messy but worth it for the effect).

Assembly of Cupcakes:

  1. Using a knife, poke an X shape into the centre of each cupcake.
  2. If you have made the salted caramel: Fill a piping bag (nozzle optional) with salted caramel.  Place the nose of the bag into the centre of each cupcake, squeezing salted caramel into the centre of each.
  3. Using a piping bag with round nozzle attachment, pipe the chocolate ganache frosting onto cupcakes, then using the back of a teaspoon, smooth out the top with a small, swirl motion.
  4. Sprinkle as desired.

**Notes:

  1. Coloring frosting black is not as easy as I expected. I thought one teaspoon of gel paste would add an intense black darkness, but alas it did not, and I ended up using three teaspoons and still not achieving what I had hoped for.  I didn’t want to add anymore as it would alter the taste.  The cocoa powder available to me in store is dark, but it’s not black, so unless you have access to black cocoa powder, and you get the dark brown cocoa powder like I do, then you need to either opt for using black fondant icing as an alternative, or accept you may not achieve true black, but rather an “almost black” colour using my method.
  2. Be warned, when any dark coloring is used in cakes, you’re likely to have a scary looking mouth after eating the cake. It only lasts for a short while and a good swish of water will do the trick.  This simply adds to the fun and joy of cake eating anyway.
  3. I use a palette knife to frost my cake, which allows me to achieve a smoother finish, so it’s a good idea to get one if you enjoy making layer cakes.
  4. I gathered a few different sprinkles, and then combined them to achieve this sprinkle mix, as there isn’t a mix that exists like this in stores nearby to where I live.

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Until next time…

Home-Made Chocolate Chip Cookies

Question:  What’s better than a big, crispy AND chewy, chocolate chip cookie, paired with a glass of milk?

Answer:  A Home-Made one.

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A while back, I made these vanilla shortbread sugar cookies.  I loved the taste of them so much, and how easy they were to make, so I used the same recipe, but I made them a little differently this time, in that I chunked them up thicker in slicing them, and I studded them with little, delicious pellets of dark chocolate chips.  Oh and I stamped them of course, just so you know they are the real deal.

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I bought this cute little irresistible stamp recently, and this is now the second batch of cookies I’ve made with it.

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About two weeks ago, I hosted a high tea at our house.  I made all the desserts, and admittedly I bought some of the savories given time constraints.  But for sweet temptations I made little salted chocolate tartlets in the cutest cups, topped with edible flowers.  I made my baked cheesecake with ginger biscuit base and a hint of lemon zest.  I also baked fresh a batch of vanilla cupcakes, topped with strawberry jam, fresh whipped cream and berries.  And finally I made these take home cookies.  I can’t say there was a favorite because everything went down so well, happy me!

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When it comes to these cookies, one of the positives, aside from complete and utter satisfaction in taste, is, they require a mere 6 ingredients to make to completion.  And you can prepare the dough in advance because it requires at least 2 hours in the fridge before baking.  They are crispy on the outside, a little chewy in the centre, loaded with chocolate drops, and have this warm, comforting, homey taste to them.  Perfect for both adults, and kids alike.

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Home-Made Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes approx 16 large cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup salted butter (softened)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup caster sugar

2t vanilla paste

2T vanilla essence

1 ½ cups chocolate drops or chips

¼ cup powdered sugar (for stamping)

Method:

  1. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes, then slowly add the caster sugar, and beat for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla to the butter mixture and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, then slowly add it to the butter mixture, whilst keeping the mixer on a low speed. Continue to mix until a dough forms.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix on a low speed to incorporate.
  5. Flour your hands, then remove the mixture from the bowl, and place on a floured surface.
  6. Divide the dough into three parts. Roll the individual parts into a ball, then using your hands, mould them into log shapes.
  7. Wrap the logs individually in cling film (tightly), then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  8. Once the dough is ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  9. Unwrap the logs, and using a sharp knife, slice 2cm thick cookies.
  10. Allow the dough to come to room temperature for around 10 minutes. Once the dough is slightly softer, use your palm of your hand to press the dough down and spread just slightly.  Dip the cookie stamp into the powdered sugar, and stamp into the centre of the cookies.
  11. Place the cookies onto the trays, and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. If you like your cookies more crispy in the centre, then bake for slightly longer.
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Until next time…

Funfetti Sprinkled Cupcakes

Spring has officially sprung – let’s have some colourful cupcakes!!

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Two things happened in the first week of Spring.

Happiness bloomed everywhere!

And Roxy moved into her own house!

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So I thought, let me bake some cupcakes filled with specks of colorful funfetti, and decorate them with sprinkles and flowers and hearts, and take them over to Rox and her house mate Clari to enjoy with their friends as they settle into Spring, and their new humble abode – which by the way is just delightful!

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Speaking of delightful, how cute are these?

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And then there is the cake…

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And the taste…

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The vanilla fluffy texture, combined with the smooth and sweet cream cheese frosting is just so exciting.  Perfect for any celebration, party, or just because we can!  Happy Spring to us, and happy home Rox and Clari!!

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Funfetti Sprinkled Cupcakes

(makes 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose or cake flour

½ t salt

1 ¼ cups salted butter (softened)

1 ½ cups granulated (caster) sugar

5 egg whites

1t vanilla extract

1t vanilla essence

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

1t baking soda

1T lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line cupcake trays with paper cups.
  2. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Then add the sugar in small amounts, mixing after each addition.
  3. Once all the sugar is added, whip on a high speed for five minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  4. In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour and salt, and whisk to mix.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites and vanilla by hand until foamy.
  6. Add the egg white mixture to the butter mixture, and mix on a medium speed until it comes together. Ensure you scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  7. Add the flour mix, and the buttermilk to the butter mixture in three parts, mixing on a low speed after each addition. Again scrape down the sides, and give a final mix so all ingredients are incorporated.
  8. In a small cup, mix the baking soda and lemon juice with a teaspoon, then pour into the batter and combine on a slow speed for a few seconds until incorporated.
  9. Scoop the batter into the cups 2/3 of the way full.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients:

500g salted butter

500g good quality cream cheese

3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

1t vanilla paste

Method:

  1. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth and pale.
  2. Add the soft cream cheese to the butter mixture and mix until no lumps are present.
  3. Add small amounts of the sifted sugar, mixing after each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla and combine.
  5. Refrigerate the frosting for 20 minutes before frosting the completely cooled cupcakes.
  6. Frost and decorate as desired.

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Until next time…

Hi, I’m Genevieve



This is where I create.

Learn more about me here

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