Click here to skip to the recipe. Although I don’t know why you wanna do that, seeing as the highlight of this blog is everything but the food, but you do you.
A month without uploading and she comes back with a cop-out? It’s more likely than you think.
Now that we’ve addressed the elephant in the room, let’s get on with how I spent my month-long exile from this blog. This is a journey that I did not pursue alone, for I had my comrade-in-arms Sabrina accompany me with her oodles of patience for my micromanaging ass.
It started with a friend’s birthday. Great guy, invited us to his hometown for the weekend, the whole shebang.
(I had made it very apparent that a group of weebs on a weekend getaway near a lake sounded too much like a filler episode of a slice-of-life anime – which they obviously agreed to).
Sabrina and I decided to make a cake because frankly, that is all I have to give to this world. Unlike the last time we baked together, the product of our culinary incompetence did not end up with a cake that looked like an extended space-slug, but in fact, a quite colourful, charming dessert with rich, gooey, salmonella-free centers. Here is a photo to prove that I’m not a lying liar who lies:
The Hogwarts part comes from the four house colours being represented in the form of butter-cream frosting swirls: Gryffindorks, Sneks, Silver Birb and Most-Likely-To-Own-A-Foodtruck.
But Birthday Boy couldn’t for the life of him guess it, so I don’t think we were entirely successful in getting them right. Still, what Sabrina and I took from this experience was to a) add the house flags on kebab sticks on the cake to make it more obvious and b) keep me the hell away from food colouring because that has never gone well before.
Okay, rambling aside, as the title suggests, the cake was a chocolate poke cake – which quite literally means poking holes in the cake and pouring a sweet vanilla syrup for the cake to absorb and become incredibly…
One legit useful tip that you, dear reader, can take away from this is that if you too are new to the baking scene and wish to make custom desserts, don’t waste time on making a hand-made cake if your sole focus is on the design. You don’t need that kind of stress if you’re not already used to it, so simply use a cake-mix until you’re confident enough to juggle fancy-schmancy decorations and cakes from scratch.
And should that day come, we shall celebrate in the halls of Valhalla with a feast and some good ol’ Ribena.
(I know that’s not how Valhalla works, shut up).
So we used a cake mix, let it bake for however long the instructions suggested and went on with making our vanilla syrup thing and butter-cream frosting. So without further ado, here is the recipe:
Prep time: 30 minutes minimum without skillz
Baking time: 25-30 minutes. The total time for this whole shindig is at least 1.5 hours, just FYI
Feeds: 10-12 humans
Nutritional value: I laugh in the face of it
- Baking pan: 28 x 18 x 5 cm
- Baking paper
- Piping bags and tips of your choice
- Lotsa bowls
- Whisks, spoons, other cutlery
- Large bins for inevitable disasters
- Chocolate cake mix (400-450g) x 2
- Ingredients for the cake mix that are frankly not my business since the one I used only needed water
- 100-120 ml sweetened condensed milk
- 50 ml heavy cream
- 1 lemon, zested (optional)
- 500 g butter
- 500 g icing/powdered sugar
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 2.5 tsp of vanilla sugar)
- Food colouring: blue, red, green, yellow, or anything you prefer, really.
- Other decorations I guess
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Line the pan with a baking sheet and butter/cooking spray
- Stir the cake mix with whatever ingredients the package asked you to use and pour it in said pan evenly (ensure all air bubbles are gone by using the bang-pan-on-counter-aggressively-until-your-neighbour-tells-you-to-stop method).
- Pop the cake mix in the oven for 25-30 minutes and move on to making the syrup and frosting
- In a medium sized bowl, dump your condensed milk, heavy cream, 1tsp of vanilla sugar and lemon zest and mix thoroughly – or until its not too runny. Squeeze the lemon for some juice into it too, should you prefer more tang. If you want to make a chocolate syrup instead of vanilla, add 100g of cocoa powder instead. Keep aside.
- For the frosting, put the softened, or slightly melted butter in another large bowl and add the powdered sugar into it.
- Then add salt and the remaining vanilla extract/sugar. Whisk as well as you can – we used electric mixers, as usual. This will be used both as a layer over the pot-holed cake and the “Hogwarts”-swirls, so make sure you’ve prepared enough.
- Once the cake has baked (Toothpick Test, Rising Test etc.) – which I assume by now it should have, 30 minutes isn’t all that long – keep it outside to cool.
- Separate the frosting into 5 portions: four for the different houses and one for the layer over the syrup-filled cake.
- While the cake cools, start mixing the food colour into each portion of the frosting (or is it called icing now? What’s the difference even?).
- Pretend you’re in a YouTube video with your friend and are failing spectacularly at everything you do. While you’re distracted, mess up one of your frosting colours and start again, cursing fervently and flailing all over the place as your friend laughs and laughs and laughs…
- Poke holes into the now room-temperature cake with the back of a ladle. It should be deep enough for the filling to get soaked in.
- Pour the vanilla filling and top the cake with a slather of plain butter-cream frosting. Put in fridge while you fill up your piping bags with more frosting.
- With your preferred tips, pipe the frosting onto the cake in whatever pattern you like. We went for basic rows-and-columns for obvious reasons, but you can go wild if you don’t care what your birthday recipient might think of it.
- Add some more decorations and voila! It’s ready.
The cake tastes bomb, and looks rather pleasant even if it’s not completely on point.
Quite literally, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Next post is cheescake ’cause it’s my first time and I haven’t yet tasted it to know whether it’s worth sharing.
UPDATE: Oh it’s good y’all. The cheesecake turned out great and I’m thinking it’s less due to my baking prowess and more because it’s cheesecake.
(also, shout out to the semi-adults from my sister’s school who had to read this during class. I see you, appreciate you and am also very sorry).