Today, the blog is turning 2! Yay! And to celebrate this huge event, we are unveiling the new logo along with a brand new design and a lot of new posts and features for 2017! Come back often, we gonna rock that place!
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And what’s better to celebrate than a huge chocolate and cranberries layer cake, with a chocolate birch log decor? (the answer is: nothing!) It’s a long but easy one, with a huge “wow effect” guaranteed.
The cacao cake (4 layers)
9 tbsp butter • 3 full cups flou • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder • 2 full tsp baking soda • 2 full tsp baking powder • 2.5 cup granulated sugar • a pinch of salt • 3 big eggs • 1.5 cup of milk • 1 cup of hot water
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Melt the butter and let it cool
- In a big bowl or in the Kitchenaid bowl, sift all the powdered ingredients.
- Add the liquids and mix until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly in 4 pans or divide it in bowls and bake 1 at the time.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Place the cake in the fridge and use when cold (You can also place it in the freezer and keep it there for a couple of days until you use it.)
The cranberries preparations
2 packs of fresh cranberries • 4 cups water water • 3/4 cup powered sugar • the juice of 2 lemons
- Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat.
- Remove from heat when 3/4 of the water has evaporated (and all the fruits have popped).
- Divide the puree in 2 half:
- Let the first half cool and then place in a piping bag (= the puree)
- Blend the second one until there is not more chunks (=the coulis)
The cranberries swiss meringue buttercream
2 egg whites • 1/3 cup powdered sugar • 1 stick butter at room temperature • the cranberries coulis
- Place the sugar and whites in a large bowl over a bain marie. (I used the Kitchenaid bowl).
- Whisk constantly with the electrical hand mixer until the meringue reaches 131° F.
- Remove the bowl from heat and keep whisking (with the hand mixer or place the bowl back on the Kitchenaid) until cold (at least 10 minutes).
- When the meringue is cold, add the butter in small chunks, and keep mixing on low speed, then add the coulis (you may not want to add all of it, taste it!)
- The mixture will definitely look like it’s “curdling” but it’s completely normal. Keep whisking as it will come together at some point (sometimes after 10-15 minutes of more whisking).
- Place in a pipping bag and keep in the fridge
The chocolate “birch log” decor
4 oz dark chocolate • 16 oz white chocolate • a few rhodoid sheet (You can use the ones you find at Staples for instance!)
First step – dark chocolate
- Lay the rhodoid sheets making sure it’s flat.
- Temper the chocolate*
- Using a little brush, draw the details of the birch log on the rhodoid sheets (knots, grains, …)
- Place in the fridge until hard.
Second step – white chocolate
- Temper the white chocolate*
- When it reaches 82° F, pour on the rhodoid, on top of the details you just drew before.
- Spread the chocolate all over the sheet using a spatula.
- Place in the fridge until hard.
- When it’s time to decorate the cake, take out of the fridge and break large stripes. Use a knife to help break it if needed.
*I will definitely write a more detailed post about how to temper chocolate. However, here are a couple of useful info you may need:
To temper chocolate, you need to melt it over a bain marrie (in a large bowl over simmering water) until it reaches a certain temperature (A), then to let it cool to a median temperature (B) and then, finally, to put it back over the hot water for it to reach its final /usable temperature (C). Tempering the chocolate will make it shiny and crunchy.
- Dark chocolate: (A)= 131° F (B)=82° F (C)= 89° F
- White chocolate: (A)= 113° F (B)=78° F (C)= 82° F
- Milk chocolate: (A)= 119° F (B)= 78° F(C)= 86° F
- Take the cake out of the freezer/ fridge at least a couple of hours before using it.
- Starting with the first piece of cake, and pipe the meringue around it, leaving some space in the middle for the cranberries puree. Pour the puree in the center.
- Place the second piece of cake on top of it and repeat the meringue and puree part. End with the last piece of cake.
- Pipe a thin coat of meringue on top and all over the layer cake and use a spatula to smooth it.
- Place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Pipe a last thin coat around the cake (you should have a little bit too much meringue).
- Break the chocolate into stripes and place it around the cake.
- Decor and enjoy!