The Very Complicated Cake

About a year ago now, maybe more, my dad's work had a bake-off competition. I baked a red velvet cake and so did another colleague of dad's and unfortunately my cake was a bit dry so he won. Last week, a woman from dad's work was leaving, so we decided to have another bake-off between us to see if I could out bake him this time. I did a trial bake, like any good baker before a competition, and after a rather expensive trip to Moore Wilson's I came out with a good cake but unfortunately not so good icing... We bought Country Goodness cream cheese which turned out to be really awful for cream cheese icing. So don't use it! The only one the works in New Zealand is Philadelphia. So after leaving the icing part a little close to when I had to leave (I wanted to take my trial to an AFS meeting as my potluck dinner item) I had to resort to desperate measure. Thank you Betty Crocker! It still tasted amazing, but extremely hard to finish because the icing was very, very sweet. This is what the failed icing looked like:

See how it's really runny and yellow-y? Gross...
And this is the first cake:

So it all turned out okay in the end. Except, even though you can't see it in the photo, I also had trouble keeping cake crumbs out of the icing. But again, I was in a hurry so I was a bit lazy and just tried to ice the cake as best as I could. The second time, we got Philly cream cheese and I did a bit of research. There's a thing called a crumb coat that you glaze the cake with first, let it dry and then put your own icing on over the top. I'm including directions for how to do a crumb coat in this post. So the second cake turned out really well, it was a little too rounded for my liking... I would suggest cutting the top completely flat and not leaving it a little rounded. But I still won the competition, so it was all okay in the end. :) Here's what the finished product looked like:

And this was my cake with my competition:

This recipe comes from Donna Hay's 10th Birthday Edition and looks very impressive if you google it! It's also very, incredibly expensive, so definitely one only for a very special occasion!

Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake

3/4 cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sour cream
350g butter, softened
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
1T vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups plain flour, sifted
1t baking soda

270g butter, softened
1.5kg cream cheese, softened (I know. I'm serious. It's ridiculous but AMAZING!)
3 cups icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line 2 x 20cm-round cake tins. Place the cocoa and hot water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 4 minutes or until pale and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well to combine. Set the mixer to low speed, add the cocoa mixture, flour and baking soda and beat until well combined. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow cakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Slice each cake evenly into 3 horizontal slices. (My dad did this part, and I've included instructions on how you cut even layers) Spread 1 cake layer with cream cheese icing and top with another cake layer. Repeat with remaining layers and more icing, reserving enough icing for the sides and top of the cake. Crumb coat the cake and leave to set for a half hour. Then spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining icing.

Cream cheese icing:Place half the butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer and beat for 6-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add half the icing sugar and beat for a further 6-10 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Repeat with the remaining butter, cream cheese and icing sugar. The reason that you do it in two parts is because it's such a ridiculously huge amount of icing that it won't all fit in the mixer!

Cutting cake layers:To make sure your cake layers are even, it's a good idea to use a ruler to measure the size of each layer. Hold the ruler in place and use a long, serrated knife to make a shallow cut in the side of the cake. Continue to cut around the cake, rotating the cake and moving the ruler along as you go. You can then make the full slice, using the cut as a guide.

Crumb coat:To do a crumb coat you need icing sugar and boiling water to make a thin glaze. For this cake I used 3/4 cup icing sugar and then just added tablespoons of boiling water to make it a glaze consistency. Then you basically ice the cake all over. I did this after putting all the layers together, because I didn't think it mattered as much between the layers. So drop spoonfuls of the glaze on the top, spread it until it covers the whole top and then spread it down the sides. Then to do the sides, what I do it just drop glaze down the sides and spread it with a palette knife until you've completely covered the whole cake. It looks something like this:

Have fun making it and here's one last picture!

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