Hey Koala fans….
I apologise for not uploading anything new over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been having some problems with depression lately and it’s really sapped my enthusiasm for doing anything at all. I’m starting to get back to my old self though, although it might take a little more time. Just bear with me a little.
Now, to get back into the swing of things, last week I made a birthday cake for a friend at work (and a big hello to Marie-Claire if she’s reading this). She made a request for marble cake and I said I’d give it a go. Marble cake is one of those things that looks rather impressive with all the random swirls of colour but is actually not much harder to do than any other sponge. My usual haunt yielded a reliable recipe to work from:
To top it off, I settled on some chocolate buttercream icing, which I’ll talk about in a little while.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before on here but my kitchen lacks a food processor, so all my mixing is usually done by hand (or occasionally paw if I’m not keeping an eye on him). The first step was creaming together all of the butter and caster sugar, similar to the way we’ve done before:
After this, the eggs were added one at a time, along with a little vanilla extract. Without the flour, the result looked a little like runny custard, or the “food” that is served on the hovercraft in The Matrix:
Either way, it didn’t look particularly appetising, so I made an effort to get the flour in as quickly as possible. The mixture thickened up nicely, looking more like the sponge mixes I’ve made on here previously.
It was at this point my phone’s battery decided to pass out, which was something of a problem as it’s camera is the one I use for photographing on here. However, given this place is called “WordPress” rather than “Low Quality Photopress”, a description will have to do. The mixture was split in half and two (fairly largish) tablespoons of cocoa powder were added to half of the mixture. (Random note – why is tablespoon called a tablespoon? Most spoons tend to be used on tables. Unless, of course, many years ago people ate tables with this type of spoon…answers below, please.)
Then came the rather fun bit of adding alternate spoonfuls of chocolate mix and vanilla mix. It was really cool – the bottom of the tin looked like a chessboard at the end. Then I repeated it the other way around for the next layer, until all the cake mix was used up. To get the marbling effect, I swished a knife through the mix a few times – the key bit is not to overdo it though, otherwise it’ll just become one rather dull generic colour:
I put the sponge in the oven for about 50 minutes on 170*C and made sure to test the centre with a skewer. It was just as well I did so, as the bottom inch of the skewer was sticky at the end. Another 15 minutes and the sponge was fine. Next time I’ll try a slightly higher temperature.
So the sponge was in fairly good shape – that just left the icing. Eagle eyed readers will have noticed that I haven’t listed any ingredient quantities for the icing and this is because I have absolutely no idea how much icing sugar I used. The box for the sugar suggested 75g of butter to 175g of icing sugar. When I tried this, I found it wasn’t mixing too well, so I added about a tablespoon of hot water and then I just topped it up with icing sugar until it was the right thickness. I think icing, especially buttercream, is one of those things that you kind of need to play by ear. If it looks about right and it’s clinging onto the spoon the right way, then you’re probably good. I also chucked in a heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder as well:
So it certainly looks good, especially after the chocolate curls were added on top. Unfortunately, I am now aware of the cake decorating section of my local supermarket and all the fun things that can be done in future.
My friend was kind enough to offer me a slice of the cake as well:
Cringe inducing pun out of the way, the cake was fairly good, I thought. The texture was moist and light, the buttercream icing was a definite success. If I had to complain, I’d probably say the chocolate flavour of the sponge wasn’t particularly strong – maybe some chocolate curls would have given it a better taste. Not bad overall.
I’m still not quite 100% yet but I will try to get another entry up next weekend, even if it’s just something simple like a salad. Hopefully the Koala and I will see you soon. ❤