I secretly love birthdays; it doesn't even have to be my birthday, it can be anyones and I still love it. I love celebrating, I love giving presents (and of course receiving them) but most of all, I love birthday cake. For years, I've vowed to bake everyone a birthday cake for their birthday but so far I've managed in two instances, the first was for my best friend's 18th birthday and the second instance was just the other Friday where I had the day off work and baked dad his birthday cake. I'm promising myself once again that I'll make more of an effort; it really is worth it in the end.
This recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook; the very place which I'd love to visit!
Start by making a coffee essence. Put 2 tbsp instant coffee granules and 170mL water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil until reduced by half, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Set aside a tablespoon of the essence to use in the frosting.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 450g softened unsalted butter, 450g caster sugar and cold coffee essencewith a hand held electric mixer. Add 8 eggs one at a time, mixing well until incorporated. Beat in 450g plain flour, 2 tbsp baking powder and 2 tsp cocoa powder and mix well.
Line a ring mould as per below.
Pour the mixture into the prepared ring mould and smooth over with a knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the sponge feels firm to the touch.
In the meantime, prepare the coffee vanilla frosting by beating 250g sifted icing sugar and 80g softened unsalted butter with a mixer. Combine 25mL milk and a couple of drops of vanilla extract in a separate bowl and then gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture. Once all the milk has been incorporated, add in the reserved tablespoon of coffee essence and turn the mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). Prepare the shaved chocolate shaving by grating 60g dark chocolate with a cheese grater.
Here's the cake after 40 minutes!
Place the cake on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cold, put on a serving plate and cover the top with the frosting.
Decorate with chocolate shavings.
As I was making the cake a day in advance (and with it being extremely hot!), here's the contraption I made to store the cake in the fridge. Had both the mum and boy laugh at me which wasn't particularly nice - especially cause I had to keep cutting away at the skewers until it managed to fit in the fridge!
We had a big extended family dinner the next day and everyone came back home to eat the cake. Despite taking it out of the fridge for a good hour, it hadn't quite defrosted so the texture of the cake was a little hard but smelt absolutely divine. On my second piece, I actually microwaved the slice which returned the cake to its soft and spongy texture, but unfortunately the icing did melt a little. So yes, had I more time that morning of the birthday, it probably would've been better to make it then but otherwise a very lovely cake which ended up being gigantically big (nothing like the pic in the book!)
Happy birthday dad! Hope you had an awesome birthday!