Tag Archives: birthday cake

Frasier Torte or Happy Birthday Mitchell and Canada

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Frasier Torte
Happy Canada Day, eh!

Like all Canadians I am patriotic but never more than when I am away from Canada which is why  this maple leaf cake is the first   one I ever baked in honour of the national holiday. In our family July 1st is more known as our first born Mitchell’s birthday but today it’s about both. There is a huge party on Trafalgar Square today and my little Canucks can’t wait to go and celebrate with the rest of the ex-pats in London. We hear the Mounties are making an appearance. I hope they are brining their horses!

I couldn’t think of a better cake for the occasion than a classic Frasier Torte- a layer of lemon and vanilla scented sponge topped with a light and silky strawberry mousse. A perfect cake for a perfect summer day for my beautiful boy. I still can’t believe he is 9!!

Mitchell

Ingredients for the sponge:

  • eggs-3 large at room temperature
  • sugar-1/2 cup
  • lemon juice-1/2 lemon
  • finely grated lemon zest- from 1/2 lemon
  • flour-1/2 cup
  • salt-1/4 teaspoon
  • unsalted butter, melted-1 tablespoon
  • vanilla extract-1/2 teaspoon

Ingredients for Strawberry Mousse:

  • Eggs (separated)- 2
  • Superfine sugar-4 tbsp.
  • Strawberries (processed in a food processor to a pulp)- 3/4 cup
  • Gelatine-4 tsp.
  • Water-3 tbsp.
  • Whipping Cream- 1 1/2 cup
  • Strawberries, cut in half (to line the sides of the cake) -2 cups plus extra for decorating the top of the cake

Frasier Torte

Method for the sponge:

Preheat the oven to 325F/ 160C. Line your 9-inch springform cake pan with parchment, don’t grease the sides and set aside. Whip the eggs and sugar on high speed until they are white and more than triple in volume, then add the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon.

Sift the flour and salt together, add both to the egg mixture. In a small bowl melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave and stir vanilla into it.  Spoon a cup of the batter into that bowl and stir everything together, then add this all back to the full batter and stir gently until blended, don’t over mix as it will result in a cake that won’t rise very much.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the centre of the cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool the cake completely in the pan.

While the cake is cooling prepare the mousse.

Method for the mousse:

Beat the egg yolk and sugar until light, then whisk in the processed strawberries. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water in a small bowl and allow to go spongy, then put in the microwave for 30-40 seconds until the gelatine has dissolved. Stir in the mousse.

Whip the cream until holding its shape and fold into the mousse. Whisk the egg whites until standing in soft peaks, then fold in. Let stand in a cool place until starting to set for about 30 minutes.

To assemble the cake:

Run a knife along the side of the pan to loosen the cake and take it out, peel the parchment off. Wash the pan and dry well and put the cake back in the pan. Cut the strawberries in half and arrange closely together alongside the walls of the pan with a cut side touching the pan. Pour the mousse in the pan and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.

Before serving un-mold the cake and decorate with remaining strawberries. I went for the maple leaf design in honour of Canada Day at my son’s request.

Frasier Torte- Vanilla Sponge and Fresh Strawberries set in Strawberry Mousse
This cake is truly beautiful and impressive but if you prefer chocolate over vanilla you can try Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake I baked a few months ago.

Note: The sponge recipe was adapted for Anna Olson’s Frasier Torte

Wild Things Cupcakes or Happy Birthday Vika!

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting I am so excited to finally being able to blog about the cupcakes that made my little girl’s birthday extra special.
Creating something new for my children every year on their birthday is not just fun for them but also an enjoyable challenge for me. Every year when they present me with a request (like a Sonic the Hedgehog or Hello Kitty cake) I am never sure if I can pull it off but after a little bit of research and trial and error I seem to end up with something we all love.

This year was no different except that Vika couldn’t settle on ONE cake  she wanted. I also lacked the inspiration and skill to deliver on her requests until I stumbled upon something very special by Sweetapolita who is my number one stop for anything cake and confection related. Vika is a huge animal lover and has a really soft spot for puppies so when I saw these hand stamped cupcakes by Rosie of Sweetapolita I knew exactly what I needed. Rubber stamps! The great thing about these cupcakes is that depending on a stamp you can create a great variety of cupcakes toppers. You never have to repeat yourself.Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions
I was delighted with how they turned out. All my hard work paid off when I saw the excitement and joy in my daughter’s eyes! These cupcakes were just perfect for a little girl’s birthday party as the cake toppers themselves evoked images of a child’s drawings. Don’t you think? And the tea towel that served as a back drop was made using the “self-portraits” of  the children in Vika’s class! Here is one done by Vika.:-)

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

You can use any cake recipe and any frosting recipe but you do need fondant, never used rubber stamps, paste food colours and a small brush to make these. Here is what I did.

A day (or a week ahead) ahead:

Roll out fondant as thin as you can on an icing sugar dusted surface and cut out medallions to fit the diameter of your cupcakes. Make sure you dust your surface well with icing sugar as fondant tends to be pretty sticky. Lay them out and dry overnight. I live in England where it’s often rainy so I really struggled to get my toppers very dry, and at one point I had a humidifier going for a while to draw all the moisture out!

As soon as your fondant toppers are dry you can stamp them. I used paste food colour (Dusky Pink by Sugarflair) with just a drop of water in it, then I painted each stamp with a small paint brush and stamped the toppers. Rosie of Sweetapolita made a great tutorial on her website if you would like more details. If you have ever used a rubber stamp before you can quickly master this technique.

Ingredients for the cupcakes {Makes 24}:

  • Cake Flour- 2 1/2 cups/275 gr
  • Baking powder- 1tbsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • Kefir or Buttermilk (I used Kefir)- 1 cup
  • Eggs-1 large at room temperature
  • Egg whites- 2 large at rooms temperature
  • Vanilla Bean (seeds scraped out)- 1
  • Sugar- 1 1/2 cups
  • Butter- 8 tbsp/115 gr at room temperature

Note: Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

The wild things cupcakesThe Wild Things Cupcakes

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 F/160 C. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, in a separate bowl mix together the egg, egg whites, kefir or buttermilk and vanilla seeds.

In a large bowl whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. To the bowl with butter mixture add flour mixture and egg mixture in 2 or 3 additions alternating them, starting with the flour mixture and finishing with the flour mixture.

Fill your 2 lined muffin tins with cupcake batter about 2/3 full and bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • Mascarpone (chilled)- 8 oz/250 gr
  • Cream Cheese(chilled)- 8 oz/250 gr
  • Butter(at room temperature)- 1/2 cup/125 gr
  • Icing sugar- 1 1/2 cups
  • Vanilla- 2 tsp.
  • Paste food colour (Dusky Pink by Sugarflair)

Method: 

Combine mascarpone, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, sugar and food colouring if using in a food processor and pulse just until smooth and creamy. Do not overprocess. It’s important that your mascarpone and cream cheese are cold from the fridge and butter is at room temperature, this way you will have nice and stiff frosting that is easy to pipe. (This frosting could also be made using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.)

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes using a star tip and place your stamped medallions on top.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

Chocolate Stout Cake And An Early New Year Resolution

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Chocolate Guinness CakeMy husband Brad turned…ahem…let’s just say he had his birthday this past week and there are only a few things I love more than celebrating birthdays. Quite possibly this is because my own birthday is on Christmas Day and I always feel deprived of the love poured directly on me on the day that is everyone’s holiday, I try to get as much celebratin’ from my loved ones’ b-days as I can! For weeks I agonised over his present and his birthday cake until I found the perfect cake from, where else but Pinterest! Chocolate Stout Cake looked down on me from the pages of My Baking Addiction blog and I was instantly in love. Brad is a well-known chocoholic, in fact he once confessed that he doesn’t even feel like he’s had dessert unless it contained chocolate. What could make this decadently chocolatey cake even more palatable to Brad? Why, I am glad you asked! Stout! Beer +Chocolate=One Happy Man. That was my thought process. The flavour combo intrigued me and I was set out to bring the cake to life.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out the cake was quite easy to make. The recipe doesn’t require any special skills or pastry chef credentials, and as you can see I didn’t even use any fancy piping to decorate it, just a pile of chocolate curls on top makes it a show stopper. I enjoyed the process thoroughly but nothing prepared me for an absolutely outstanding result-the best cake I ever made which spurred on, what seems to be, an untimely New Year’s Resolution. Here it goes. From now forward I will ALWAYS bake with butter. No margarine, no oil. Pure, unadulterated butter. I’ve baked many, many cakes in my life and no matter the recipe I always seemed not quite satisfied with the sponge itself. The oil based ones especially, seem to have a tinge of an after taste. Not this beauty. Its clean, rich and spontaneously addictive taste comes from butter. Well, enough of this. Let’s bake the darn thing!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups Guinness
½ cup strong black coffee
2 cups/ 454 gr unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups all purpose flourcake top2
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups creme fraiche/sour cream (I always replace sour cream with creme fraiche as it tastes more Russian to me)

Chocolate Ganache

2 cups whipping cream/double cream
1 pound good quality dark chocolate, chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and butter 3 8″ cake pans and dust them with some flour to prevent the cakes from sticking.

In a large saucepan heat stout, coffee and butter together until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer, add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps until smooth. Set aside to cool. (I quite often take things like that and put them in front of an open window for 15 min. to cool it down quickly because my English fridge aka “beer fridge” is tiny!)

Blend flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a different bowl. Mix eggs, vanilla and creme fraiche with an electric mixer in bowl no 3.

Now check on your chocolate mixture and make sure it’s cool enough to continue the process.

Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and creme fraiche mixture and blend them together. Add flour mixture a little bit a time and beat on low speed until combined. Divide batter equally among the pans. I used to always have uneven cakes until I purchased a digital scale and started weighing them. Problem solved! Bake cakes together or separately depending on the size of your oven. Once again, just like my fridge, my European oven is tiny and I baked mine one at a time for 25-30 min. Always test your cakes for doneness with a toothpick or a cake taster if you have one. Transfer your cakes on the cooling racks and get on with the ganache making!

I absolutely adore ganache and I don’t even care how pretentious it sounds! It’s crazy how little effort you put into that frosting for it to taste THAT insanely delicious! All we have to do is to bring heavy cream to a boil and take it off the heat immediately, then add your chopped chocolate into it and stir until melted! Cool it and whip it with an electric mixer until paler in colour and fluffy! Voila! The most decadent French delicacy is ready!

Assemble the cake filling with 1/3 of the ganache between the layers like so…

Cake pre-frosted

Finish off by covering the entire cake with the remaining ganache and top with chocolate curls. You can make chocolate curls by scraping the blade of your knife along the flat surface of the chocolate bar. I have to admit my curls were a bit weak and I have to practice more to achieve perfection.

However, there was nothing weak about the taste and the cake was pure delight. It’s flavourful but somehow light in texture and very hard to stop eating!

PS. I am not sure why but the recipe I followed left me with extra batter which allowed me to bake a dozen of cupcakes as well! In my world it’s NOT a problem.

Chocolate Guinness Cake