My elder boy turns 10 today and I made him a cake based on their current favourite game of minecraft to bring to school.
It was a last minute effort but thanks to this and google search, the design was all thought out. It turned out to be the coolest and the healthiest cake I’ve baked so far. The cake is baked using gluten free flour and the amount of sugar was reduced tremendously, so much so that I worry that it won’t appeal to the American taste bud.
It is unusual but I had his birthday party all thought out more than a month ago. I was so sure that it is going to be a Star Wars birthday party considering his craze for the movie then.
But 2 months in, he had finished the Lord of the Ring book series, dreamt of being Gandalf for his birthday party and moved on to dreaming of a beach birthday holiday on the Florida coast and just bringing in a cake to school like everyone else. (We should be bumping at the beach by the time you read this post)
Between a birthday party and a cake, the latter definitely requires less effort, I thought. But I was so swarmed by last Saturday’s cookout that I hadn’t been thinking much about his birthday cake until 2 days before the day itself.
I could have grabbed a sugar laden cake from Walmart but it didn’t seem right to feed his friends something I wouldn’t eat myself. So 2 days before the deadline, I posted online asking for a favourite chocolate cake recipe.
I had no time for trial and error. I needed something simple, fail proof and tastes great. Sounds like quite an impossible feat, huh ? I got a slew of replies from some wonderful ladies and I went with the most popular choice, the recipe looks too simple to be true. No beating, no whipping, just mix!
I had everything mixed in a jiffy substituting normal flour with gluten free flour, free range eggs, organic chocolate powder and organic cane sugar. It was like making the healthiest decadent cake. Kind of like self deluding. But the final mix turned out so runny and I thought I screwed it up again. According to the recipe, I was supposed to blend the ingredients before adding the boiling water, but I did it the other way round.
Oh, well. I still popped the cake in the oven and 30 minutes later, I was surprised with the most perfect chocolate cake. Moist, rich and beautiful tasting.
It was close to noon time and I needed to fetch my preschooler from school. I rushed off while letting the cake cool. By the time we finished lunch, the cake was ready for trimming and frosting. I trimmed the edges of the 13 inch cake and had it halved. Frosted one layer with chocolate frosting and stacked the other layer on top. The cake was quite levelled so I didn’t have to trim much and I frosted the edges with the remaining frosting.
It was about 2 pm. Everything went on smoother than I expected. I was ahead of time and I decided to work on the fondant which usually would take a couple of days to make.
This was the first time I used Wilson ready made fondant. I bought the white one and I was so happy I did because it was so easy to work with. There wasn’t any sticky mess and icing sugar was not required to ‘flour’ the work surface like the time I made my own marshmallow fondant.
I had the fondant rolled out to the desired size and laid it over the cake. No tearing or breaking. It was effortless.
I also bought this gum paste tool set which made creating those minecraft pixels such a breeze. phew !
By then it was about 3 plus in the afternoon and Malcolm had came back from school and was delighted to see what I had made.
I started working on painting the fondant which was the most tedious part. Luckily it was’t a very big cake and there were only about 200 squares!
I used blue and yellow food colouring to get a palette of different shades of green. It took me about an hour to hand paint every squares and by 5 pm the cake was done and I was in time to pack up everything and cook dinner.
Seeing how the fondant pieces had dried up when I left them outside, I decided to go ahead and leave the cake outside instead of in the fridge. To my horror, I woke up to find that the fondant at the side of the cake had melted and were falling off ! I started to panic, it was 6 in the morning and I didn’t have time to redo the fondant, even if it was just fixing the edges!
Desperate, I grabbed some chocolate cookies from the pantry, mashed them up with my grinder, took a handful of the crumbs and rubbed them all around the edges where the fondant had fallen and sprinkled the rest all around the cake.
Thankfully the damage wasn’t great and it was salvageable. In fact, I thought the cake looked pretty good and was a hit with his friends. A show of hands revealed that EVERYONE knows and plays the game, even the teacher herself who is a grandmother plays it !
Here’s a slice which I managed to save and bring home for his little brother.
It took me a day, which is a considerably short time for a fondant cake. The recipe is definitely a keeper. It tasted great even with gluten free flour. I am quite sure I will make this again. My preschooler is already asking to have the same cake for his next birthday party !
P/s: Jasmine, Sharon, Angeline, Dorothea and SuFern
Thank you ladies for sharing your favourite chocolate cake recipe !
- 1 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 3/4 cups gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 cup organic cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the base of 13 x 9 baking tin with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure all the ingredients are well-distributed.
- Add eggs, milk, and oil. Whisk for 2 minutes.
- Stir in boiling water. (batter will be thin)
- Pour batter into prepared baking tin.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely before frosting.
- I used a 13 x 9 x 2 baking tin, alternatively you can use a 8 inch round baking tin
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup organic cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- Stir in cocoa powder.
- Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
- Add small amount additional milk, if needed.
- Let it cool and start frosting !