Sunday, 15 July 2012

Chocolate M & M Cake

Ooh! Hello!

I'm good, thank you :) I'm assuming you're great too? Well, if you aren't, I'm pretty sure that this cake will make you feel jolly again.

I'm feeling sort of jolly right now. Tomorrow, school goes back, and it will by my last term of school EVER in the history of the world! It's extremely exciting, but also kind of scary and a teensy bit sad. But I think I'm ready for life outside of school. There's a whole big world out there waiting for me, and now I can contribute to it. Yay!

But then there's the HSC exams to think about, which occur before any of this exciting stuff happens. Maybe, if I close my eyes and cover my ears, and hum nice songs for the next three months, it will go away? Here's hoping!

In any case, there's always baking therapy to get me through.

Now that I think of it, keeping this blog, and baking for people, making them happy, has been one of the things that have kept me motivated throughout this rigorous period of school. Baking really does have an impact on your emotions. I think I've dealt really well with all the adversities of my final school year.

I mean, who wouldn't be happy looking at this cake? I definitely had a fun time making it, the rainbow-ness of it all put a smile on my dial :)

The "heART" word on the top of the cake is there because I made this cake for my art class last week, when we had an art workshop for the day. I think it went over rather well, very colourful for the bright, bubbly artists! And I can never resist a pun...

I first saw the M & M technique used on Sprinkle Bakes, but the technique is a well-known and well-loved one! It does take a bit of time, separating all the lollies into their colours, putting them individually on the cake etc. But it's impressive, and if you need some baking therapy, this is it my friends!

You could most definitely use Skittles instead of M & Ms, or some other miniature coloured lolly,  but since I was making a chocolate cake, I thought M & Ms were highly appropriate. The cake itself is gorgeous and soft, and the coffee in it brings out the chocolate flavour even more!

I have a large cake tin, but if yours are quite small or shallow, you could divide the mixture into three pans for a layer cake. You could fill it with some chocolate ganache, or the buttercream used as the icing here - you could even be adventurous and sprinkle some extra M & Ms in there, if you aren't convinced there's enough already!

Happy baking folks!

Chocolate M & M Cake

Makes one glorious, jolly cake (serves about 30)

Recipe adapted from the Sprinkle Bakes Cookbook, by Heather Baird

200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups strong black coffee, fresh and hot
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla Buttercream:
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Milk, if necessary
3 packets M & Ms


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a large (or 3 shallow) 20cm cake tins.

Put the chocolate and hot coffee in a heatproof bowl and stir until fully melted. When smooth, set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoapowder, soda, powder and salt. Stir in sugar until combined.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer until thickened and light. Add the canola oil and cooled coffee-chocolate mixture. Beat again until combined.

Add flour mixture and beat on medium until just combined. Pour batter into cake tins and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely in tins before turning out onto a wire rack. Ice when completely cooled.

For the icing, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and icing sugar. Mix on low speed until mixture is crumbly. Increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and beat for another minute, until light and fluffy. If too stiff, add a little milk until consistency is firm, but spreadable.

Spread evenly over cake with an offset spatula. Separate M & Ms into separate colours, and order M & Ms into colour gradient (eg. red, orange, yellow etc.). Starting at the base, press M & Ms individually into butter cream, making your way around the cake. For the next row, above the bottom, position the M & M of the corresponding colour slightly to the right of the first one, and continue around. Decorate the top however you please!