Hello eat sweeters! I can’t believe that it is 2016, and I have been posting on and off on this little blog baby now for nearly four years. I must admit, my posts aren’t as frequent as I would like them to be, but whenever I have free time – also known as school holidays – I find myself wandering back, itching to write a post and re-enter the blogosphere.
I have always enjoyed looking through various baking blogs, then along came Pinterest, and over the last year or so I have found that Instagram can be as good a place as any to find another cupcake, cookie or dessert to lust after. It was on Instagram early last year that I first came across my baking crush – dubbed the cake queen of Australia – Katherine Sabbath. Reading that she is a trained teacher, and a cake maker extraordinaire, I was instantly drawn to her. It was her out of this world, gorgeous, insane, beautiful creations that completely won me over.
If you are unaware of her overall fantasticness, I present to you the following…
PC: Katherine Sabbath via Instagram
I don’t think I need to say anymore. I was instantly obsessed.
Fast forward a few months, it was mid last year, and I visited my cousin (and good friend!) in Adelaide for a week. We have so much in common – it makes us pretty good companions. The two of us are teachers, crafters and also love to bake. (Actually, she has a blog too – you should pop on over for a visit by clicking here!) So, it was decided that during my visit, we would embark upon an extensive baking adventure.
I have always been scared of big cakes. If you look through my recipes on here, you won’t find a big cake. Cupcakes, I love. If you stuff one up, you generally have a dozen or so more to correct your mistake. But with a big cake, you only have the one chance.
Baking with my cousin, all of a sudden big cakes didn’t seem so scary. With a plan in place, we chose a trusted Sweetapolita recipe (another baker favourite of mine!), and set to creating our very own Katherine Sabbath inspired cake. We even had our own soundtrack! (trying baking along to Fantasia – you won’t regret it).
We were pretty happy with how it turned out. And on top of that, it was delicious.
With my new found big cake knowledge, a gain in confidence, and a piece of cake in an IKEA container, I travelled back home.
Not too much longer down the track, I was ‘volunteered’ to make some cupcakes for a special event at school. They all know that I love to bake, and would happily take on the job. I began racking my brain to think of a cupcake design, and then it hit me. I wasn’t afraid of big cakes anymore. I was brave. I was going to make a BIG cake. All by myself.
Using the same recipe, and Katherine Sabbath as my inspiration once again, I made my big cake.
Chocolate and Buttercream Party Cake
Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita
For the cake
2 1/4 C plain flour
2 1/4 C caster sugar
1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk, room temperature
1 C hot coffee
3/4 C vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla abstract
3 eggs, room temperature
For the icing
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C copha
Pinch of salt
5 C icing sugar
2/3 C thickened cream
1 Tb warm water
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Violet gel food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans, set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a medium bowl combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
5. Divide batter equally between the two pans.
6. Bake both cakes until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, about 30 minutes.
7. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 1o minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely.
8. When cool, carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, to create four even layers of cake.
9. Wrap the layers in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours, or preferably overnight.
10. When you are ready to assemble the cake, in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed and until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
11. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the icing sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, violet gel food colouring (tint according to preference) and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
12. Transfer about 3 cups of icing to a separate bowl – this will be used for your cake filling.
13. Put a smudge of frosting in the centre of an 8-inch round cake board or plate. Put your first cake layer on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 1/4 cups of the frosting evenly across the layer.
14. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Repeat again and then place the final cake layer on top.
15. Using a turntable, if possible, apply a very thin layer of icing around the entire outside of the cake to seal in the crumbs. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to firm the crumb coat.
16. Remove the cake from the fridge, and using a medium straight palette knife, cover the cake with the remaining frosting.
17. Decorate the top of your cake as desired! For this particular cake, I chose to use rainbow fondant spears, meringue kisses, chocolate sixlets, large silver nonpareils, and rainbow sprinkles.
This was a delicious cake. And I can say that, because it is not in the making of it, but completely in the recipe itself. It is soft, rich, it melts in your mouth, the frosting is the perfect accompaniment. And it was oh so much fun to decorate it Katherine Sabbath-like. Now I can understand why she is smiling all the time.
Until next time, stay sweet!