Why a chocolate cake with pink icing? I honestly can’t say. There is just something about a chocolate and pink cake that has always appealed to me. There is something so birthday-y about it. On a completely unrelated note, whatever happened to birthday cakes? I haven’t seen a real legit home made birthday cake for the longest time! God I love birthday cakes. The cake, the abundance of icing, the colours, the flavours, the layers – they’re so good. I hereby make a commitment to bring back birthday cakes. Real legit many layer birthday cakes with height and candles. You may all look forward to that. Permission granted.
There have been a couple of things that have cropped up recently leading me to a chocolate cake with pink icing. Firstly the book Miette came out – which I still don’t have a copy of by the way – which features a beautiful looking chocolate cake with pink icing swirled into a perfectly formed spiral atop the cake. In fear of demonstrating my lack of neatness and/or dexterity, I choose the rustic approach. Lots of people prefer that. Ahem.
Secondly, Nigella Lawson posted some witter (this is not a typo, check it out) on her website about a similarly Miette inspired creation that she made. The disappointing number of people detoxing at this time of year was cited by Nigella as part of her inspiration. I can’t boast the same problem, or at least if people are detoxing around me they’re not telling me about it. Or maybe I just edit it out with my diet-related selective hearing.
So there are two things pointing me chocolate cake with pink icing-wards. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this, but in so many cartoons the archetypal cake is a chocolate cake with pink icing. Especially the movie Fern Gully, one of the greatest cartoon movies of all time. The epic cake that the two guys in the tree-destroying trucks eat is a chocolate cake with pink icing and it looked incredible to me as a food loving child. What can I say? The lizard in that movie scared me, the cake enthralled me and the main character kind of annoyed me.
So I baked this cake, and enjoyed it with a trio of peeps always up for a cake sharing experience. There is something so joyous and happy-making to me about a layer cake, especially one featuring luscious creamy icing in abundance in a delightful shade of pink. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can look forward to many more birthday style cakes if I have my way.
The best chocolate cake recipe I have come across so far is a Donna Hay classic. You may remeber it from the cover of the 10th birthday issue, a buttermilk chocolate cake.
½ cup (125ml ) water
60g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda, sifted
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C, and place a medium saucepan on the heat. Add the water, butter and cocoa to the saucepan and melt until combined. Set aside to cool. Add the flour, bicarb and sugar to a large bowl, and add the cocoa mixture, stirring until combined. Combine the egg buttermilk and vanilla in a seperate jug, (I measure the buttermilk in a jug and then add the rest), and then mix into the cocoa flour bowl.
Divide the mixture between two 18cm tins, and bake for around 30 to 40 minutes until they spring back when pressed lightly, and a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Let cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire racks.
4 cups icing sugar
Vanilla bean paste
Natural pink food colouring
Beat the butter in an electric mixer for 2 or 3 minutes until very soft, and almost white in colour, add the icing sugar, a half cup full at a time, mixing to incorporate. Add the vanilla bean paste, and check the consistency. It should be very light, and fluffy. If necesary, add some milk a tablespoon at a time, until light and fluffy. Tint to your desired level of pink, and ice the cake.