B requested for a Heatwave Chocolate Cake and I started my research and sourcing of supplies a few months ago. I was still undecided on what cake recipe to use and I was choosing between Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake and another one bowl recipe (for ease of clean up after). In the end, I decided to stick with Hershey’s recipe.

I made it a few times before and the process is very easy and it’s even well recommended by people from cake central. I also couldn’t decide on what frosting to use so I bought ingredients for both chocolate ganache and swiss meringue buttercream.

A last minute reading of forums before making the cake helped me decide. It’s official…my go to recipe for chocolate cake will be this Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake (using Van Houten chocolate powder) and filling and frosting will be Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

I found a very good recipe with detailed instructions by Nasi Lemak Lover for the swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) a few months ago and since my pineapple tarts were a huge success, I wanted to try something from her site again. 

I started doing some of the decorations a week earlier. I was also doing a lot of research because I realized that since I did a dummy cake during my class, I don’t know how to proceed after crumb-coating and icing my cake. Should I cover it immediately with fondant or should I place it first in the fridge? Hmmm…no time to do further research. I just relied on gut feel and immediately covered the cake with fondant after applying a very thin crumb coat of SMBC. 

A lot of research went into the making of decorations and carving the cake too! What worked for me was to make a template for easy carving. I couldn’t find a Heatwave template so I made my own (credit to my Interior Design class in high school).

I searched and read nonstop on how to work with fondant in hot and humid weather and how to dry decorations faster. Some worked and some made me sweat and anxious! 🙂

In conclusion, here are some notes for myself to help me remember for my succeeding projects:

  • use “dam method” when putting filling and stacking cake; it helps prevent air bubbles
  • crumb coat cake as thinly as you can (to avoid fondant drooping and sliding away from the cake) and try to make the cake as smooth as you can
  • immediately cover with fondant after crumb-coating (don’t place in fridge to avoid sweating)
  • work in a cool room as much as possible (I don’t have air-conditioner in our kitchen so I did some of the work in the bedroom like covering of cake and placing decorations for drying; update: work in non-aircon room but close all windows to control humidity)

Tips for faster drying of gumpaste/fondant decorations:

  • place in a box, slightly covered for protection from dust and dirt overnight (can leave uncovered, if possible, for faster drying)
  • once they are mostly dry, put in an air tight container with food desiccant/silica gel and finish drying inside a cabinet in a cool room–try to check once in a while to make sure that everything is still dry and intact and replace desiccant if needed
  • putting bread to absorb moisture doesn’t work (made my decorations softer)
  • placing under lamp doesn’t work too (made my decorations sweat and soft)

 

Some decorations made a few days earlier…trying out the drying method under a lamp. Did not work!!!

It's my first time to make a layer cake and it's a success!:)

It’s my first time to make a layer cake and it’s a success!:)

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake (from Hershey’s Cocoa Powder container)

  • 2 cups sugar (only used 1 1/2 +2 T cups)
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla (omitted)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-in round baking pans.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  6. Pour into prepared pans.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until pick inserted in middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream
from Nasi Lemak Lover

100g egg white (3 large eggs)
135g sugar
227g unsalted butter, soft but still cold, cut into small equal size of cubes

1/3 cup nutella

  1. Remove butter from fridge and cut into small cubes, set aside.
  2. Combine egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl and place over a pot of simmering water (bowl should not touch the water).
  3. Whisk sugar and egg whites till sugar is fully dissolved (rub some with your fingers, if it feels grainy, it hasn’t dissolved yet) takes about 2-3mins.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk until peaks are stiff, thick and glossy.
  5. Mixing bowl should be cool to the touch by now but slightly warm at the bottom.
  6. Place the bowl of meringue on top of a large bowl with few ice cubes and water.
  7. Add the butter one at a time, ensuring that each addition is well incorporated before adding the next one.
  8. Beat until mixture curdles. Use a spatula and continue to fold and stir until mixture becomes creamy and satiny.
  9. Add nutella and continue to stir until creamy and smooth.