Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake Recipe

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake
I used to bake 8 inch cakes. I then baked 6 inch cakes because we didn’t need so much cake. I took it a step further and decided to bake a 4 inch cake because let’s face it – two girls experiencing the sad slowdown of metabolism in their late 20s do not need to eat any more than what’s absolutely necessary.

Broke out my trusty chocolate cake recipe and decided to go with a coffee flavoured buttercream. I was extremely pleased with how the flavours turned out – a nice balance of chocolate and coffee with just the right amount of moistness.

Then came the decoration dilemma.

I tried to pipe swags and failed miserably – I’m still not quite talented enough for that sort of thing. I then tried to pipe cornelli lace and failed miserably on that front too!

Things were getting desperate. After more brainstorming I decided on a walnut border at the bottom. And then it hit me – I’ll have a squirrel holding a walnut as the cake topper!

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake 3

Squirrel walnut silhouette 

Once again, I apologise for my extremely non step-by-step series of photographs of this cake. I just can’t remember to stop at every step to take a photograph!

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake Recipe

 

Squirrel Coffee Walnut Cake 2

Chocolate Cake

The recipe used in this cake has been outlined in my previous post, Caramel Spiral Cupcakes. It makes 2 rounds of 6 inch cakes, enough to complete a layered 6 inch cake.

Coffee Buttercream

Ingredients

250g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1 packet instant coffee

Method

  1. Dissolve instant coffee in 3 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to come to room temperature.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale in colour and increased in volume. Add instant coffee solution into batter slowly, mixing until well incorporated.

Chocolate Squirrel

Materials

Squirrel template (click link to download)
25g chocolate
Plastic piping bag
Walnuts

Method

  1. Melt chocolate (my favourite technique explained here).
  2. Placed melted chocolate into piping bag and snip a very small hole at the top.
  3. Place squirrel template under waxed paper. Pipe squirrel outline and then flood entire area.
  4. Press a piece of walnut into the squirrel’s hands before the chocolate sets and leave until fully hardened. Peel off wax paper carefully and leave to set.

Assembly

  1. Fill cake with buttercream and cover completely.
  2. Press walnuts into the bottom of the cake to form a border.
  3. Place squirrel on top of cake – squirrel should be able to stand on its own. If not, prop up with a walnut.
    photo

I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did making it. I thought the cake turned out quite well and it’s a simple technique that can be applied by anyone.

P/S: I’m obsessed with Instagram at the moment, admittedly a little late to the bandwagon but better late than never, apparently! If you’re interested in random photos from my daily life as well as my projects click here.

 
 
 
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Chocolate Cage Cake

Chocolate Cage Cake 2

I had been lamenting that I would love to make more cakes but there would be nobody to eat them so there was no point in me doing it. As a result, one of my friends offered to purchase a cake from me for her sister’s birthday to help keep me occupied. After much thought, I decided that I would try my hand at chocolate cages. I loved the idea of a lattice sitting around the cake – it would be intricate and delicate at the same time.  Well, in my mind it was intricate and delicate.

I decided on a 8 inch chocolate cake and covered it with chocolate buttercream. The design for the top of the cake was done with the now in vogue petal buttercream technique, which I have since made a video tutorial of on a different cake:

Recipes for the cake and buttercream available on my Caramel Spiral Cupcake post. I think from now they are going to be my go-to recipes – they work really well together. Rich flavours and soft crumb with moist texture with a very workable buttercream texture.

Then it was time to decide on how the cage was going to be. I wanted a lattice that was intricate, strong and at the same time easy to pipe. After much indecision I came up with this design. I have since made it into a PDF, available here – for download. Much neater and clearer, even if I do say so myself.

Lattice Template for Chocolate Cage

Chocolate is quite runny for piping, much more challenging than royal icing I feel – it would be near impossible to pipe it properly vertically. I decided to wrap my template and waxed paper around the only thing in the house that was 9 inch round – a pot – and hung it off the leg of one of the chairs in my house and rotate it as I went around the cake. I have tips on how to melt chocolate quickly and easily if you are interested.

Let me tell you it was no easy task – the pot would rock a little every time more chocolate was added on due to the weight. I guess my career as a dentist came in handy – I’m quite used to working on moving patients so was similar to working on a patient that was fidgeting in the chair.

PhotoGrid_10_08_2013 8:36 PM

Once it was all done I slid it off the pot and peeled the waxed paper away. The chocolate cage broke in a couple of spots in the process but that was okay. I carefully placed it around the cake, lined up the seams and piped more chocolate to make it whole again and voila – my project was complete.

Chocolate Cage Cake 3
If I could redo it again I’d probably make a 4 or 6 inch cake and make the cage 2 inches larger than the cake. I probably only had half a centimetre of gap in between the cake and the cage and I feel a little more would have been more elegant. I would make the cake slightly shorter too – I was caught off guard by how tall the tiers stacked up!

Overall, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps the next time I’ll try a different pattern and do it in white chocolate instead.