Thursday, September 10, 2015

Birthday Cake

Whenever there is a birthday in the family, I try to bake the cake myself if I can.

I had mine last week and I really wanted to use the vanilla beans I brought back from a recent trip to Sri Lanka in some way.

So I decided on a classic chocolate cake and a luscious vanilla bean frosting, with a cheeky Nutella cheesecake filling to sandwich the cake layers together.

I might add that it disappeared very quickly.

Chocolate Birthday Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Chocolate Cake
6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
3 eggs
plain flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2½ teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
¾ cup milk
1½ teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water

Vanilla Bean Frosting
4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean

Nutella Cheesecake Filling
150g cream cheese
⅓ cup Nutella

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Grease and line three 7-inch round baking tins, and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar and beat with an electric beater for about 3 minutes, until the mixture light and creamy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add a third of the flour mixture, and mix with the electric beater on low speed. Add half the milk and the coffee, and mix well. Add another third of the flour mixture, and the remaining milk, and mix well. Add the remaining flour.
  7. Use a spatula to stir the batter and make sure you get right to the bottom of the bowl.
  8. Divide the batter equally between the three prepared baking tins, and bake for 15 to 20 mins.
  9. Remove the cakes from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. To make the frosting: Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is light and creamy. Add the icing sugar slowly, a tablespoon at a time, and mix with the beater on low. When all the icing sugar has been added, spilt the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the frosting mixture and beat on high for 3 to 5 minutes, until you have a light smooth frosting. (If it is too thick, add milk half a teaspoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency.)
  11. To make the filling: Add the cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the Nutella and beat until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.
  12. To assemble: Trim the tops of the cakes so that they are level. Place the first layer on a cake stand or serving plate and spread half the Nutella cheesecake mixture on it. Place the second layer on top of that, and spread the remaining filling mixture on it. Place the third cake layer on top, and cover the cake with the vanilla bean frosting.