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Saturday, July 19, 2014

brown sugar berries chocolate cake with vertical ombre frosting.

Helloo! It's cake again today! In fact I think it's cake 80% of the time around here. This time it's because I wanted to try the ombre frosting technique.

Usually, cakes frosted a la ombre would look something like this, with complementary colours spiraling up the cake in decreasing lightness, and I fully intended to do something like that until I realised that my cake was way to short to create a gradient of more than one colour. I then abandoned this idea (but not after first mentally berating myself for not using a smaller pan which I was close to doing (!)) and thought of maybe practicing piping some flowers but if I was going to pipe flowers then I would prefer to have different colours of them, and the problem was that I had only a piping tip of each kind. Which means that I would have to wash the piping tip and get out another pastry bag everytime I finish with a colour. Um, no thank you.

So I went back to my ombre idea and racked my brains for a way to make it work and it hit me suddenly that I could frost the cake in a vertical sort of way. Look at a cake from the top and mentally divide it into thirds, each in various shades - that's what I mean. I was a little hesitant when I started frosting, but then again it could be because this was only the second time I've tried ombre-ing, because the colours weren't quite like what I pictured them to be (not in a bad way, just different) and it was a little difficult proportioning the frosting equally. But after melding the borders of two colours into one and smoothing all the messy edges out, the cake actually looked pretty good. I think ombre frosting is definitely for me - I'm not the most meticulous and exacting person so sometimes I do a sloppy job of frosting (I don't have a turntable too so cut me some slack), so techniques like this that gives me a bit of room for messiness but still turn out quite amazing is just perfect. Just like how I love that the way to care for my permed hair is to mess it up~~

I didn't manage to frost the middle portion so well - a bit of the cake was showing through because the frosting was thin in certain parts - so I decided to use some cookie flowers that I'd frozen beforehand for emergencies such as this. The cake looks gorgeous if I do say so myself, so much so that I'm even slightly thankful for my lousy frosting abilities! But seriously, I need to get myself 50 cakes and 10 barrels of frosting and do something about this weakness of mine. Oh and get a turntable too.

So that's enough about the frosting and now moving on to the cake. Like I said, the main reason for baking this cake wasn't about trying out a new recipe but just frosting it so I wasn't fussed about the cake. I just picked out a recipe that I'd tried before and found it to be pretty decent. As I was getting the butter and egg out of the fridge though I spied a small tub of mixed berries yoghurt, and me being unable to follow recipes as they are written as usual I decided to grab that and replace the buttermilk called for in the original with it. I imagined that the finished cake would have just a faint hint of berries since chocolate is a very strong flavour but I was wrong. The whole kitchen was filled with the sweet smell of berries mixed with a bit of chocolate when the cake was baking. And it's pretty noticeable in the cake too, although chocolate dominates taste-wise. I quite like it, it keeps the predictable chocolate cake interesting.

Wow this cake feels like quite the adventure. I think I should stop here. I bet most of you have gotten tired of reading halfway - even I'm slightly tired of typing out all my self-instigated worries, but if you've followed my story to the very end, thank you! Please have some (pictures of) cake.

Brown Sugar Berries Chocolate Cake
makes a 6 inch cake

For the cake:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp + 2 tsp cake flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, cubed and softened
1 egg
1/2 cup mixed berries yoghurt (or any other kind of berry yoghurt)
2/3 tsp vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting:
recipe here (make 2/3 of the recipe)

cookies, recipe here

Bake the cake: Prepare a 6 inch cake tin.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Stir in the butter and mix until the mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add in the egg, yoghurt and vanilla and stir until well-combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting.

Frost the cake: Prepare the frosting according to the recipe. Divide the frosting into three portions and tint them in your desired colours. Take the darkest shade and frost one third of the cake with it. Take the second darkest shade and frost the middle portion. Don't worry about overlapping the first colour; in fact, you should! Finally cover up the last third of the cake with your lightest colour. Again, try to frost such that this and the second colour blend seamlessly at their borders. Refer to the pictures and the third paragraph if you're unsure of what I mean by a third. Chill the cake to allow the frosting to firm up.

If you're decorating the cake with the flower cookies as well, after they are baked they should be cooled completely before studding them into the frosting.

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