Not every day in the Hotly Spiced kitchen is a happy one. In the lead-up to Arabella’s birthday party I set about making the cake she had requested, a dachshund. What could go wrong!
Pretty much everything.
But not the baking-the-cakes part; that went very well except for being too heavy-handed with the tint. I made two strawberry cakes and there were no issues. I put them into the freezer overnight and woke the next day to the task of decorating them.
I cut the cakes in half and sandwiched the four layers together with strawberry cream frosting. I then covered the entire cake in ganache but didn’t make enough and so the ganache was at best, patchy. Then I tinted some royal icing pink and once it had been rolled out, draped it over the cake. When I’d finished smoothing over the icing, I took a step back and looked at the cake.
It was out of proportion. Far too tall for the width of the cake. Furious with myself, I removed all the icing and as much of the ganache as I could, then walked up to the shops to buy more chocolate, cream and royal icing.
I came back and removed the top layer of the cake so now the height was in better proportion to the width of the cake. I made more ganache but added too much cream and so it wasn’t firm enough in consistency. I gave it time to cool down then started covering the cake with it. Because I’d removed a layer of the cake, there was now remaining butter cream on top of the cake and this was swirling with the ganache. The cake was now completely thawed out and so the ganache wouldn’t harden.
I used too much tint when I dyed the royal icing and it turned out to be a brighter pink than I was hoping for. Pressing on I rolled it out and draped it over the cake but because the ganache hadn’t hardened, when I tried to smooth the icing, it moved and swirled and slid around. Meanwhile the ganache was pooling towards the bottom of the cake causing the bottom of the cake to be more broad than the top.
Then I tinted the remaining icing brown and used my new cookie cutter to make some dachshunds to decorate the sides of the cake (cover over the giant flaws). The dachshunds wouldn’t stick and started sliding down the cake leaving brown streaky stains. I usually use pins to stop this but where were they?
By now I was using all my inner strength to not hurl the ugly cake at the nearest wall. I restrained myself, just, and cut out a dachshund for the top of the cake. The ‘masterpiece’ was now finished and I hated it. But then Arabella came in and her face lit up and she said, ‘Is that my cake? It’s so cute. Thanks so much, mum, I love it’.
I felt a little better.
Then I posted an image of the cake on my Instagram page saying it was too awful to blog about but so many of you told me to go ahead anyway. I’m now living by the motto that’s it’s okay to not just post successes. Who’s with me?
I certainly was disappointed with the end result however, when it came to taste, there was nothing wrong with it.
- For the cake:
- 370g (130zs) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 packet strawberry jelly
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbspn vanilla extract
- 3½ cups plain flour
- 1 tbspn baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- For the Strawberry Frosting:
- 125gms unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 30mls pouring cream
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
- splash of strawberry essence
- pink food colouring (optional)
- For the Ganache:
- 600gms (21ozs) dark cooking chocolate
- ¾ cup pouring cream
- For the Icing:
- 3 packets ready-rolled royal icing (1.5kgs total)
- pink food dye
- brown food dye
- edible glue
- paint brush
- black edible marker
- Begin recipe a day ahead.
- For the cakes:
- Pre-heat oven to 160C (350F)
- Grease and line 2 x 22cm (9inch) round cake tins.
- Cream butter, sugar and jelly crystals until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients alternating with milk. Beat until well combined.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for 50mins or until cake springs back when lightly touched in the centre.
- Allow cakes to cool then remove from cake tins, cover in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
- For the Strawberry Frosting:
- Beat butter until as white as possible.
- Gradually add sugar.
- Beat in cream, vanilla and strawberry essence and tint (if using).
- Continue beating until smooth.
- For the Ganache:
- Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, being sure to not let the water touch the bowl.
- Stir with a metal spoon until smooth.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool and harden until spreading consistency.
- For the Rolled Icing:
- Take two packets of icing and knead until smooth. Add pink tint and knead until the colour is fully incorporated.
- Tint remaining icing brown and knead until smooth and the colour is well blended.
- To Assemble the Cake:
- Remove cakes from the freezer and divide each cake in two to make four cakes. Set one cake aside as you will only need three cakes for this recipe.
- Place a small dollop of strawberry frosting on the bottom of the cake board and place a cake on top and apply pressure to adhere the cake to the cake board.
- Cover top of cake in frosting.
- Add next cake and cover in frosting.
- Place third cake on top.
- Cover cake in ganache.
- Roll out pink icing until about 4mms thick. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift icing and cover the cake. Use hands dusted in icing sugar to smooth the icing.
- Take some of the brown icing and roll into lengths of rope. Take two lengths of rope and twist.
- Use paint brush dipped in edible glue and paint bottom of cake with glue.
- Affix rope to the bottom of the cake.
- Roll out brown icing and use a dachshund cookie cutter to press out five shapes.
- Use the paint brush to brush the back of each dachshund with edible glue and carefully stick dachshunds onto the sides of the cake. Hold the dachshunds in place with pins to stop them sliding down the cake.
- Using remaining brown icing, roll until 4mms thick.
- Cut out a dachshund shape. Use paint brush to cover back of dachshund with glue and fix onto cake.
- Use black edible marker to give some definition to the dachshund, eg: eyes.
- Stand back and admire your efforts.