I am constantly surprised by the things I see day by day. Whether it’s someone surprising me with their amazing talents or genuine kindness. Or being amazed by the beautiful scenery or the cool clouds in the sky.
However, this time, I surprised myself. Through the way in which I’ve grown, not only as a cook, but also as a person. Looking back on it, three years ago, I would have never imagined myself making this cake. I was just a girl in grade 7 who loved to make cupcakes.
I have to admit that starting a blog was the last thing on my mind. People used to tell me that I should start a YouTube channel, or get an Instagram food account, or create a cooking blog. And yes, I wanted to start a YouTube channel – but I said that I will do it after grade 12 and when school finishes.
Then, just a few months ago, something clicked. Why not start a blog now? Why wait? That’s why I’m surprised. That’s why I’ve grown. I believe that everyone has a talent, passion or dream; the hardest part is going the courage to pursue it.
For me, starting Beyond Our Sky took confidence. Confidence I never used to have. I’m not the same person I was a month ago, let alone one week ago. I think the people you talk to and the things you experience have a lot to do with discovering who you are. But this journey that we are on; this journey of finding ourselves – is the biggest journey in life.
It’s good to surprise yourself and other people. It means you have done something unexpected, out of character or taken a risk. This cake turned out better than I thought it would. It’s literally chocolate heaven with a very moist cake and rich frosting. I could have frosted it better and done the drip better. But I don’t really care. I’m happy with it. So what have you done to surprise yourself?
Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 180º C. Prepare 4 x 10cm (or 3 x 13cm, or 2 x 20cm) cake pans by lining greasing and lining with baking paper.
- Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
- Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined.
- Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. 4. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
- Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
- 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 250g butter, softened
- 500g icing sugar
- 3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 3-4 tablespoons of milk
- Melt dark chocolate and milk chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Set aside to cool completely.
- In an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed for five minutes or until light and pale in colour.
- Gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Mix high on high speed for 3 minutes.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat until well combined.
- If the frosting is too thick, add the milk until it reaches the right consistency.
- Beat on high for a final five minutes.
SIMPLE SYRUP (ENSURES THE CAKE REMAINS MOIST):
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
CHOCOLATE GAZE (DRIP):
- 75g dark chocolate
- 45g butter
- Place the chopped dark chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt on low heat (or use the microwave). Set aside until room temperature (but still liquid, not firm!).
- Violas to decorate (or any other edible flowers. Click here for an edible flower chart)
- Trim and level cakes, then soak each layer with cooled simple syrup.
- Add a little bit of buttercream to your cake stand or platter.Then place your first layer of cake on the cake stand.
- Spread buttercream on the first layer and then add the next layer of cake. Repeat until you have used up all the cake layers.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides and all over the cake (this is a crumb coat). Put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes, or until the crumb coat has firmed up.
- Use the remaining buttercream to frost the cake until it is completely smooth.
- Place the frosted cake in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Then pour the chocolate glaze over the cake and quickly spread it over the edges of the cake to make it run down the sides.
- If you have left over buttercream, pipe some blobs on top of the cake. Decorate with left over cake scraps and edible flowers.
- Then slice and enjoy!