Monday, August 31, 2015
Happy birthday to me! and a chocolate-orange celebration cake
Actually that should read happy birthday to us as my husband and I are lucky enough to share the same birthday! Being Sunday we had to get up early to get the kids to swimming for 8am and also do some more packing and cleaning in preparation for our move. But after lunch we got to relax a little and we had family over for birthday cake for afternoon tea and Indian takeaway for dinner (I refuse to cook dinner on my birthday!).
Now some people might think it's a bit sad having to make your own birthday cake but as a baker I really enjoy it and bonus, I know exactly what's in it and can tweak the recipe to suit our needs.
Chocolate and orange is one of my all time favourite combinations and after much (much, much) thought I decided to make a chocolate cake, sweet orange curd, orange jelly and a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. Wow it sounds decadent when you write it out like that!
We are mostly sugar-free (fructose-free) in this house and while I wanted this cake to be special I didn't want to go overboard on the sugar. My sweeteners of choice these days are rice malt syrup (which although processed is fructose-free and a great alternative to honey and golden syrup) and coconut sugar (which does contain fructose but is unrefined). I also wanted to use spelt rather than wheat flour and no dairy other than the grassfed butter we use everyday.
I made a few small changes to the recipes I found and was really happy with the result. Everyone loved the cake and it was certainly impressively tall! It had all the flavour I was hoping for and it wasn't too sweet.
I popped the cake in the fridge for an hour or so which was a mistake as it seemed to dry the cake out a little (I know it was really moist before that as I got to eat the trimmings - cook's privilege!). It would be much better to simply assemble the cake as close as possible to serving and leave it at room temperature until ready.
I especially loved this cake and it will become my go-to spelt chocolate cake from now on!
Spelt Chocolate Cake
Slightly adapted from Bake with Spelt
makes 2 x 8 inch cakes
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 ts vanilla extract
300g white spelt flour
40g raw cacao
1 tbs aluminium free baking powder
80ml (1/3 cup) rice milk
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius fan-forced. Grease and line the bases of 2 x 8 inch round baking pans.
Using a stand mixer, thermomix or electric beaters, beat together the butter and coconut sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.
Sift together the flour, cacao and baking powder then add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 25-35 minutes. The cakes will have pulled away from the sides a little, spring back in the middle and a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean (mine took 31 minutes).
Leave in the pans to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Sweet Orange Curd
Adapted from Tenina
200g rice malt syrup
zest of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
200g fresh orange juice
240g cold butter, cut in cubes
1 ts corn flour
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Place butter into the thermomix bowl and chop 5 seconds / SP 5.
Add all remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes / 80 degrees / SP 5.
Cook for a further 3 minutes / 90 degrees / SP 6.
Pour into sterilised glass jars. Place in the fridge once cooled.
Fresh Orange Jelly
500ml fresh orange juice, strained to remove the pulp
1 1/2 tbs gelatin powder (I use Great Lakes)
Grease and line the base of an 8 inch round cake pan.
Place the orange juice into a small pot over low heat. Once the juice is just warm to touch, turn off the heat and sprinkle over the gelatin, whisking continuously until it is completely dissolved and there are no lumps.
Pour immediately into the prepared pan and refrigerate until needed.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Slightly adapted from Thermomix Recipe Community
85g egg whites, at room temperature
170g coconut sugar
pinch of salt
340g unsalted butter, very cold and cut into cubes
100g 85% dark chocolate, melted and cooled
Make sure the thermomix bowl is completely clean, dry and free of grease.
Weigh in the coconut sugar and mill for 1 minute / SP 9.
Weigh in the egg whites and salt and mix for 3 minutes / 60 degrees / SP 3.
Check that the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a small amount of the mixture between your thumb and finger. It should be completely smooth. If not, repeat for another minute or so.
Insert the butterfly and whip for 10 minutes / SP 4 until the bowl is only slightly warm and the mixture is glossy and has double in volume.
With the machine running on SP 3 for 6-8 minutes, add the butter a few pieces at a time. Once it is all incorporated, pour in the melted and cooled chocolate and whip until light and fluffy.
Use immediately or keep in the fridge until required (bring back to room temperature and re-whip with the butterfly on SP 4.
To assemble the cake
Choose your favourite large cake plate or stand and place a small dollop of the buttercream in the middle to secure the cake.
Trim the tops from each cake if they have domed and then slice each cake evenly in half horizontally so you have 4 layers.
Place one half down on the plate and top with 1/3 of the orange curd. Spread evenly to the edges. Top with another cake half and press down lightly. Smooth over a tablespoon of curd and then carefully place on the prepared jelly. Top with another tablespoon of curd and another layer of cake. Repeat with another cake layer and 1/3 orange curd.
Top with final layer of cake.
Cover top and sides of cake with buttercream icing.
Best assembled close to serving and kept at room temperature until ready.
Serves 12 (at least)
So there you go!! A marathon recipe but none of the components are too tricky and best of all, I was able to keep it free of wheat and refined sugar!