Thursday, March 13, 2014

MultiColour Checkered Cake coated with Dark Chocolate Frosting

I have been overwhelmed with lots of baking ideas lately. These ideas have been keeping me busy as I just can't wait to execute all of them. During one of those days when my energy level hit the max, I even attempted two baking experiments in one day. I was occupied for the whole day and by the time I was done, I ended up fixing microwave food for dinner and realised I had forgotten about laundry altogether. @_@

That particular day was quite an achievement albeit exhausting. But that was only possible when the ingredients and the preparation involved were much simpler. Certainly not for this recipe which I am going to share because it took me almost the whole day before I could sink my teeth into it. I shall share the other two baking experiments which I had accomplished within a day in my upcoming baking posts as I simply can't wait to reveal the surprise in this cake.

MultiColour Checkered Cake coated with Dark Chocolate Frosting

"Ta-da"! How pretty, isn't it? Although I wouldn't say this is perfect, but this is definitely good considered my very first whole cake baking attempt. I am so delighted!

MultiColour Checkered Cake coated with Dark Chocolate Frosting
Recipe referenced and modified from: Wilton® Recipes

Ingredients Required

Makes three 9-inch cakes
2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, softened
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
Edible food colourings, as desired.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Recipe referenced and modified from:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Alternatively, use any cake frosting as desired.

Bakeware Used

Three 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pans and one dividing ring
(Wilton® Checkerboard Cake Set)

Preparation Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or around 177 degrees C).
  2. Grease cake pans with butter/margarine.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter/margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine and sift flour, baking powder and salt. 
  6. Add half portion of flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternately with half portion of milk. Mix well after each addition. Repeat until all flour mixture and milk has been added.
  7. Once well combined, continue beating batter for one minute.
  8. Divide batter equally in thirds into three separate bowls, one batter portion for each cake pan.
  9. Further divide each batter portion into a ratio of approximately 0.5 : 1 : 1.5. Add desired food colouring to each divided batter. Fold to combine.
  10. Place dividing ring into one greased cake pan.
  11. Fill coloured batter into each ring sections accordingly; least ratio batter in the innermost ring section and largest ratio batter in the outermost ring section. (For convenient filling, pour batter for middle and outermost ring sections into a disposable piping bag. Use a small spatula to level the batter around the ring.)
  12. Gently tap cake pan to remove large bubbles.
  13. Carefully remove ring from pan by lifting straight up on handles of dividing ring.
  14. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre of cake comes out clean.
  15. Once baked, remove from oven and cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes. After which, remove cake from pan and cool on wire rack completely.
  16. Repeat steps 9 to 15 for each of the remaining two batter portions. Rinse and dry dividing ring completely each time after use before placing on greased cake pan. Do not put the dividing ring in oven.
  17. When all three layers of cake has been cooled completely, position bottom layer of cake onto a serving plate. Spread top of cake with dark chocolate frosting, stack the second layer of cake and repeat. Assemble cake layers in desired order, alternating in colours for prettier results. 
  18. Finally, coat outer cake entirely with dark chocolate frosting and decorate. Refrigerate cake till ready to serve.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
  1. Put heavy cream, chocolate chips and cocoa powder in a bowl and heat bowl over a double-boiler. Stir till chocolate chips and cocoa powder melt completely. 
  2. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool. Refrigerate to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Once cooled, add vanilla extract and beat mixture with an electric mixer until light and airy.
  4. Frost cake in between layers, on top and around the sides.
  5. For leftover frosting, store and refrigerate in airtight container. (For freshness, I would not recommending storing the frosting for more than three days. Re-whip refrigerated frosting with electric mixer to spreadable consistency before use.)

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I divided the recipes into thirds and prepare each cake layer one at a time. I prepared the batter for my second layer of cake while my first layer of cake is baking.
  2. I reduced the sugar quantity by using only 2/3 cup of granulated sugar for each cake portion as I find the cake a little too sweet. (How did I know? Well, I baked four layers of cake actually. I had to eliminate my very bake so as not to affect the whole cake because I realised that I forgot to add baking powder and the cake was pretty dense. >,<  Hence, I had a "spare" layer of cake which I could sample.)
  3. I used large eggs, each measuring between 67 and 68 grams (with shell).
  4. Instead of all-purpose flour, I used cake flour which is suppose to give a softer and lighter cake texture.
  5. I used a 2% reduced fat milk.
  6. The colour of the batter tends to get darker after baked. I used only one, maximum two drops for each of my coloured batter. For the brown cake colour, I melted a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips and mixed with the batter. For the neutral (off-white) cake colour, I simply retain the original colour of the batter without adding any food colouring. The artificial food colouring can also be substituted with flavoured colourings or natural food colourings infused from edible flower petals or fruits. 
  7. I used a 1/3 cup scoop to divide my batter portion for each ring section. The innermost ring section was about one scoop full of batter, while the middle ring section was twice the batter amount of the innermost ring section (i.e. approximately two scoops full). The rest of the batter goes to the outermost ring section. I suppose mathematical calculations may help in achieving a more precise amount of batter for each ring sections. Nonetheless, my rough estimates proved to work out for me. 
  8. I placed the cake pan in the middle rack of the oven and took only 20 minutes to bake each cake. The length of the baking time really varies across different ovens. It is always good to check the cake when it has been baked for more than half way through the recommended baking time so as not to over-bake the cake. If not, you will end up having a dry cake or worst, a burnt cake. Then again, try not to open the oven door every other minute because this could "disturb" the baking process. Gauge the baking time depending on the wetness of the cake. On the other hand, never try to open the door of the oven less than half way through the baking time, especially when baking cake because this would result in the cake not being able to rise properly.
  9. I noticed the sides of the cake pulled away slightly from the pan when it has been cooled for 10 minutes. I ran the sides of the cake with an icing spatula and inverted the cake pan over a plate size which is bigger than the cake pan. I knocked the bottom of the cake pan slightly and the cake fell off the cake pan quite easily.
  10. For the two bottom layers of cake, I trimmed the rounded top of the cake with a cake leveller (alternatively use a serrated knife) so that the cake surface is levelled when stacked together. 
  11. I had approximately one cup of frosting leftover after my cake decoration. (This really depends on the thickness of your coating.)

A simple yet elegant cake design. ^_^
I ran the spatula in a "S" sweeping fashion to create the pattern on top of my cake. 
For the bottom rim of the cake, I filled a piping bag with a star decorating tip and pipe frosting very close to the edge of the cake. Take note to apply an almost equal pressure to release close to an equal amount of frosting to achieve stars of similar size.

Filling the coloured batter with the dividing ring.

The respective coloured batter remains in position after the dividing ring has been removed. 
How amazing, isn't it?!

The tri-sectional baked cake. How pretty!

I realised I shouldn't have cut out such a big slice of cake as the narrower angle could mirror both inner sides of the cake better. 
But well, the colours are still prettily visible.

I am submitting this MultiColour Checkered Cake coated with Dark Chocolate Frosting to the Aspiring Bakers #40: Rainbow and Ombre Party! (March 2014) hosted by Cynthia of The Baking Biatch.

My Third Baking Post Afterthoughts

I am giving myself two thumbs up! One for putting my new pan set into use and achieving what I consider pretty remarkable for my very first whole cake baking and decorating attempt - all from scratch. Second thumbs up for getting this baking post up within less than a day, considering this baking experiment is no way simpler than my two previous posts. ^_^

Today is another happy day~

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker

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