Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chocolate cherry birthday cake

Cherries waiting for sugar and booze

I've just had a birthday. Not a *big* birthday, the one before that. I don't usually make too much fuss about my birthday, but this year I decided that I wanted to make myself a cake.

I actually began thinking about this cake about a month ago. I started with the way I wanted to decorate it, and worked my way back. On my first birthday after I moved to the UK, my mother sent me a very pretty card with cherry blossoms on it, and made the point that even though it was autumn where I was, I'd been a spring baby.

So I knew I wanted to decorate it with cherry blossoms. And that pretty much decided me on it being a chocolate and cherry cake (although I had a brief moment of flirting with the idea of a green tea sponge, to make it more Japanese).

We've had a terrible summer for cherries. We sponsor a cherry tree in an orchard in Kent, and the newsletters we were getting through the summer became progressively gloomier as everything that could go wrong for a cherry tree did. In August I did spot some English cherries in the supermarket, and put them down in some sugar and alcool pour fruits, a strong clear spirit.

I made my normal chocolate cake, using a mixture of sour cream and evaporated milk, thinned with a little water, instead of the evap milk and water mixture in the recipe. And butter not marg, of course.

Cherry blossoms

I rolled out about 100g of bought pink fondant quite thinly (could have been thinner though, I think) and cut out cherry blossoms (I have some Japanese cookie/vegetable cutters in cherry blossom, plum blossom and maple leaf shapes). I sandwiched 2 blossoms together, slightly offset, with a dab of edible glue and pressed the end of a chopstick in the middle to give a bit of a divot and splay the petals out into more of a cup shape. Then I put a dab more edible glue and a few gold sugar pearls into the middle of each and dusted them with a sprinkling of decorator glitter.

I made a sourcream buttercream from not-quite-enough butter, sourcream, vanilla and icing sugar. About a third of the frosting I mixed with the drained, boozy cherries, and used it to fill the split cake. The rest of the buttercream I spread over the cake, and allowed to set in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, I used chocolate writing fudge to draw on some branches, and placed the blossoms on the cake. I thought it looked really effective. Tasted very good too!

The finished article

17 comments:

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Well done you, I've never made my own birthday cake, and certainly never one as impressively decorated!

Rachel said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Foodycat! What an elegant cake to mark the celebration.

Suelle said...

The cake flavours sound as good as it looks. Happy birthday!

Foodycat said...

Leafy - thank you!

Rachel - thank you!

Suelle - it really was very good. That Be-ro recipe is a good 'un.

Shu Han said...

aww that is gorgeous and I'm so impressed by all the efforts you've gone to to make this! happy birthday xxx

Barbara said...

Well, Happy Birthday!
I've never worked with fondant, so am impressed with your adorable cherry blossoms!

Caroline said...

It's so pretty - I am in awe of your cake decorating skills - simplicity here is definitely the way to go. I must try that recipe for the cake too. Yum!

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

Oh, it's so beautiful...I just love cherry blossoms! I hope you had an amazing year-before-that-one birthday!! =)

Foodycat said...

Shu-han - thanks! I'd never used either the writing icing or ready-to-roll fondant before.

Barbara - I am sure it is much trickier if you are going from scratch, but this was very easy to work with!

Caroline - It's a good one. Economical and a good store-cupboard one, because it is cocoa not chocolate.

Heather - me too! It was sad this year that we saw so few blossoms!

Mary said...

You did a fabulous job. I love the cherry blossoms. They are the perfect finish for your birthday cake. I hope you had a special day. Blessings...Mary

grace said...

well, that's just lovely, and a fine way to celebrate a birthday! hope it was grand. :)

Hotly Spiced said...

Happy birthday Alicia. How lovely to make your own cake. I'm sorry to hear your cherry season has been so terrible. I've heard you've had a late-arriving and very ordinary summer. Our last summer was a huge disappointment as well. That's a shame about the cherries - what a disappointment. I love your cake. You're so clever. Those cherry blossoms are gorgeous xx

Foodycat said...

Mary - thank you, I did!

Grace - great cake, great birthday!

Charlie - yes, I heard bad things about your summer and weird things about the winter! Hope the summer to come is a good one.

Gemma said...

Happy birthday!

Such a pretty (and delicious sounding) cake! I always say I'm going to make my own birthday cake and next year I think I'll start (after a few too many disappointing bought cakes when I would rather have made myself something...)

Foodycat said...

Gemma - thanks! If it's not homemade (by someone, doesn't have to be me!) I'd rather just have icecream I think!

Choclette said...

Your decorations are really effective. I guess it had to be a cherry cake and cherries do go particularly well with chocolate BUT I so like the idea of using matcha to give it a more Japanese feel. Anyway, it's quite stunning and sounds delicious.

Laura loves cakes said...

This looks really lovely...such cute little blossoms! :-)

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