Entry 8: The Father’s Day Cake

Hello again, Koala fans!

Following the somewhat exhausting to make quiche last week, I decided to go with a more straightforward recipe this week. However, straightforward doesn’t necessarily mean “flawless”.

 

This weekend was Father’s Day in the UK and although I love my dad to bits, Father’s Day has always been something of a niggle for me. It’s the usual conundrum that I never know what to get him and he doesn’t know what he wants. Usually, we go to our local pub restaurant as a compromise (and also because the food there is *fantastic*) but this year, the family’s wallets were feeling a little more stretched than usual, so we had to give it a miss. Also, I don’t think they allow koalas inside. >.>

 

So, if you can’t buy a gift for them and you can’t take them out somewhere, you make something for them instead. My mum used to make these absolutely divine chocolate cakes when I was younger but sadly doesn’t have much time to bake these days. This week, I’m attempting something that approaches on blasphemy and making the same style of cake she used to. First off, we need a recipe for a good chocolate sponge and after a little casting around, I found this one on Allrecipes.co.uk:

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/17558/chocolate-victoria-sponge.aspx

However, I did not follow the recipe completely – I had my own plans for the filling and topping – so I just used the ingredients on the left hand side. As usual, here’s the ingredients photo:

It's amazing how affectionate the Koala can be at the mention of the words "chocolate cake".

It’s amazing how affectionate the Koala can be at the mention of the words “chocolate cake”.

The first step was mixing the butter and caster sugar together in a method called creaming. There’s a rather good video of the process here, which helps to give you a rough idea of which mixing speeds to use and when:

"Ummm, shouldn't there be more than this...?"

“Ummm, shouldn’t there be more than this…?”

I was starting to get a horrible feeling of deja vu from last week, except instead of having too much, there was too little this time. After pouring the mixture in and baking it, my suspicions were correct:

Two tins, one cake. Not to be confused with an infamous Youtube video.

Two tins, one cake. Not to be confused with an infamous Youtube video.

The sponge had turned out well, with a fantastic smell and a firm, yet spongy texture. However, the end result was very much on the small side:

"Think Koala."

“Think Koala.”

I had two tins, a hefty amount of remaining flour, butter and sugar. With another six eggs, I could attempt to surpass my mum’s original recipe and make a triple layer chocolate cake. The idea was sheer madness. However, given that the only person that could talk me out of the idea was a plush toy koala with a insatiable lust for cake, we set to work:

"Now *that's* a proper quantity of cake mix!"

“Now *that’s* a proper quantity of cake mix!”

So basically I repeated the recipe for the sponge mix, using double of each ingredient (6 eggs, 300g of sugar, 300g of butter, 220g of flour and 80g of cocoa):

With a little Koala magic, these will become sponge cakes.

With a little Koala magic, these will become sponge cakes.

"Koala Magic" in this case consisted of 190°C of fire for 20 minutes.

“Koala Magic” in this case consisted of 190°C of fire for 20 minutes.

And this is where I made a fatal mistake, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Both cakes were firm to the touch and smelled fine and I tipped them onto the rack to cool:

"Do a couple more layers and it'll be the same height as me!"

“Do a couple more layers and it’ll be the same height as me!”

While the cake was cooling, I phoned my mum to discover the ancient secret of making cake filling:

* 1 oz of butter

* 4 oz of icing sugar

* 2 heaped teaspoons of cocoa, with a few drops of hot water poured on both

I may have overdone the water slightly as I had to use an awful lot more icing sugar to get the icing to bind together. However, when I taste tested it, it was *exactly* the same as the icing my mum used to make.

It was either this or forcibly remove him from the icing bowl.

It was either this or forcibly remove him from the icing bowl.

Then it was time to spread the icing. If you recall from earlier, I mentioned I made a fatal mistake with the sponges. In this instance, it turned out that the centre one was undercooked and when I lifted it off to spread the icing…:

"It's a disaster! A delicious spongy chocolatey disaster!"

“It’s a disaster! A delicious spongy chocolatey disaster!”

If I had remembered to test the centre with a fork or knife, just I did with the first cake I made for this blog, I would have popped it back in the oven. Fortunately, the other two layers were absolutely fine. I finished off the cake with a little melted chocolate on the top while my assistant finished off the remains of the middle layer:

The finished sponge cake.

The finished sponge cake.

I’m pleased to say the cake was a big hit with my dad and the rest of the family, along with the small box of whiskey truffles I bought for him. Definitely a big success!

Not pictured: the missing quarter of cake or the missing Koala.

Not pictured: the missing quarter of cake or the missing Koala.

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