Friday, March 6, 2015

TDB's Birthday (Chocolate Chiffon) Cake

Woohoo~ The Dream Baker is One! Happy Birthday (to my blog)! ^_^

I guess words simply can't describe my feelings now. Looking back at the past blog posts of all that I've done (or rather achieved), it's definitely consoling. Every little detail and contents on this blog is a great reflection of the amount of time and efforts that I've put in and built from scratch. Never would I have dreamed of having my own (baking) blog. And I can't help but wonder, "How would I've otherwise spent those time if I wasn't baking and blogging?!" Well, I guess that's life, never without uncertainties...

So to celebrate this notably significant anniversary of the birth of my blog, I've decided to bring my self-taught baking skills to greater heights by making a cut-out cake of my self-created logo! This birthday cake is a combination of my favourites - chocolate chiffon cake, strawberries, dark chocolate and cream frostings.

TDB's Birthday (Chocolate Chiffon) Cake

And my thoughts behind the creation and making of this birthday cake:
I was caught up with this cut-out shaped cake idea after I was inspired by a birthday cake idea which I learned from a friend. In fact this is my second attempt after I made myself a birthday cake last year. I decided to use a chocolate cake base after I posted my Milano® Cookies Chocolate Cake, and I decided to use strawberries to fill in between the layers of the cake since I needed chocolate frosting for the drawing of the outline and strawberries and chocolate are just a heavenly pairing. I personally preferred a lighter cake texture like chiffon cake as compared to the usual chocolate sponge cake, so instead I've decided and wanted to adopt the same recipe I had used for my Mini Chocolate Chiffon Cakes, only to realised that I was out of milk. Hence, I modified the recipe from a Green Tea Chiffon Cake which I came across during my research. Unexpectedly it turned out pretty well! In fact, the cake is deliciously chocolatey to be eaten by itself.

Then some friends asked, "why not use fondant?" To me, fondant is a "pretty-but-not-delicious" form of cake decoration (in my own opinion). Putting aside the skills level required to master fondant cake decorations, I'm very much in favour of presenting an equally pretty and yummy cake, both for admiration and savouring, than just a pretty cake that is better for admiration. Although I'm not a fan of cake frostings either, and often I would be "scrapping" away those thick layer of cream from store-bought cakes, I'm quite happy to be eating those cream frostings of my self-baked cakes since I am in control of the amount and thickness of the cake frostings that goes onto my cake. ^_^

And this feels like a dream (cake) come true...

P.S. Pardon me for my tiredness, I was oblivious to the abbreviations ("TDR") I've written on the cake (which was supposed to be "TDB") until I was going through the pictures. Instead of trying to photoshop those photos as my husband suggested trying, I thought I might as well take the wrong and make the best of it. So in this context, "TDR" (or correctly "TDB") shall stand for The Dream BakeR. Hahaha!

TDB's Birthday (Chocolate Chiffon) Cake
The Dream Baker's Creation

Ingredients Required

Chocolate chiffon cake
Recipe referenced and modified from: Just One Cookbook

Group A
6 large egg yolks
50 grams white granulated sugar
150 grams cake flour
25 grams unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
80 ml vegetable oil
120 ml water

Group B
6 large egg whites
120 grams white granulated sugar

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Recipe referenced and modified from: TDB's Multicolor Checkered Cake coated with Dark Chocolate Frosting

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream frosting
Recipe referenced from: TDB's Strawberry Shortcake

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake filling - a handful of fresh strawberries, halved

Bakeware Used

9-inch round spring-foam pan

Preparation Steps

Chocolate chiffon cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar from Group A until mixture becomes thick and pale yellow in colour. 
  4. Add oil and whisk until well combined.
  5. Add sifted dry ingredients and water alternately in separate additions, beginning and ending with the dry mixture, to the yolk mixture until well incorporated with no lumps. The alternation of dry and wet ingredients helps to keep the batter emulsion in a steady state to yield a lighter, smoother and better textured cake.
  6. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer until foamy and bubbly.
  7. Gradually add the sugar (from Group B) in small increments and continue whisking the egg whites until the egg white meringue reaches stiff peaks form.
  8. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. This helps to loosen the consistency of the yolk batter.
  9. Gently fold the remaining meringue into the yolk batter in two separate additions until batter is well combined.
  10. Pour the batter into the un-greased pan and gently drop the pan on the table top to release any large air bubbles.
  11. Place the pan on the lower rack of the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not open the oven door until after 30 minutes into baking.
  12. Once baked, remove from the oven and invert cake over a wire rack to cool over an elevated level. Once slightly cooled, run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake before removing side of the pan. Invert the cake and run the knife around the bottom of the cake to release the cake from the base. Leave the cake to cool completely over the wire rack.
Dark chocolate frosting
  1. Put heavy cream, chocolate chips and cocoa powder in a bowl and heat bowl over a double-boiler. Stir until 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. Transfer approximately one cup of whipped frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and set aside.
  5. Use the remaining frosting to frost in between cake layers, on top and around the sides of the cake.
Cream frosting
  1. In a large bowl, combine whipping cream with sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.
  2. Place the bowl over a cold water bath and whisk the cream to stiff peaks form.
  3. Transfer the cream frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and set aside in the fridge if not using immediately.
Assemble the cake

1. Place the chiffon cake on a large baking sheet
lined with parchment paper. Using a cake leveller or
serrated knife, slice the cake into half crosswise.
Trim to level the top surface of the cake if required.

2. Place the cut-out picture on top surface of the
cake. Using a small serrated knife, cut out the cake
by tracing the outline of the picture. Ensure that
the knife is held at 90 degrees while trace-cutting
the cake so that you will not end up with a
slope-sided cake.

3. Carefully remove the excess cake that has been
cut out. Be careful not to tear the shape of the cake.
4. Remove the printout and trim the cut-off shape
of the cake, if necessary.

5. Place the bottom cake layer on a cake board and
coat the surface of the cake with an even layer of chocolate frosting.
6. Lay the halved strawberries on top of the
chocolate frosting.

7. Coat the strawberries with more chocolate frosting (this will act as "glue" to help stick the other layer
of the cake when placed over).
8. Place the other cake layer over and coat the top
and sides of the cake with a thin layer of
chocolate frosting.

9. I tried to cover the chocolate frosting with a layer
of cream frosting so that the holes between my
piping would not be seen, if any. But realised I
made a mess. This step is not necessary though.
10. Using a toothpick, gently draw out the outline
of the picture without tearing the cake. Pipe the
outline of the picture with the chocolate frosting
from the piping bag fitted with a small star tip.

11. Fill the inside of the outline and around the sides
of the cake by piping the cream frosting from the
piping bag fitted with a small star tip.
12. Decorate the cake as desired. Chill the cake
in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving
to allow the frostings to set.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used approximately 95 grams of egg yolks and 200 grams of egg whites in my above recipe.
  2. I took approximately 1/4 cup of the (white) whipped cream frosting and mix with a few drops of red gel colouring for the wordings on the cake.
  3. I used up the whipped cream frosting and have approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chocolate frostings in excess for the above cake design. 
  4. I baked my cake in the lower rack of the preheated oven for approximately 37 minutes before removing from the oven. Be careful not to over-bake if not the cake texture will become dry.
  5. The above cake recipe yields an approximately 9-inch by 2.5-inch whole cake. Alternatively this amount of batter may also be baked in a 10-inch chiffon cake pan at the same temperature for approximately the same duration.

This cake took me almost the entire day to complete before I could sink my teeth into it.  And it's all worth it! *_* Glad that I managed to pull off this birthday cake. Verdict: I personally like the blend of (slight) bitterness from the richness of the dark chocolate frosting and the sweetness from the cream frosting surrounding the fluffy chocolatey cake and the slightly sourish strawberries. And I would definitely slice the cake into three layers next time so that I can fill the cake with more strawberries. *_* For those who don't prefer the taste of bitterness from the dark chocolate, simply substitute with milk chocolate.

Wondering what to do with the leftover cake (that were cut out)? 

I made a deconstructed birthday cake (in a glass) or whatever you call it with the excess dark chocolate frosting, chiffon cake and strawberries dust with powdered sugar. No wastage at all! ^_^

And I'm proudly sharing this TDB's Birthday (Chocolate Chiffon) Cake with the following blog events:

Bake of the Week organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello;

CookBlogShare hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes;

Foodie Friday organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello and Otilia of Romanian Mum;

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily of A Mummy Too;

And for the first time, I am linking up with monthly link up party, Our Growing Edge (March 2015) hosted by Cynthia of Eat Munch Love. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things.

I hope everyone will have their dream cake come true! ^_^

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. Very cute! Is the character My Melody? I haven't seen My Melody in years!

    1. Hi Genie, yes you're right! That's a My Melody inspired design improvised with a chef hat which happens to be my blog logo too. You are certainly obsessed with anything bunny-related to be able to tell it from a look. :) I like the design and information on your website. Thanks for the lovely note! :)

  2. Great recipe and congratulations on the anniversary I found you through #FoodieFridays

    1. Hi Richard, thank you thank you! Like other meaningful blog events, #FoodieFridays does connect people of similar interests around the globe. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a lovely note. :)

  3. Beautiful cake! Love a chiffon cake - Thanks so much for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek and #FoodieFridays Huge congratulations on your first year of Dream Baker - I've just celebrated 7 years! Feel old ;-)

    1. Hi Helen, thank you thank you! It's definitely a lot of effort behind those 7 years! Keep going ya! :)

  4. The cake looks delicious and cute!

    1. Hi there, thank you for your lovely note! ^_^ Just went over to your website and your bentos are really amazing!! Thanks for dropping by mine. :)