I was tasked with making a birthday cake for my office colleague and friend Neal this weekend. Now Neal is not fussy when it comes to cakes, doughnuts, pastries etc - simply put he eats anything. Despite this I thought quite hard about what I was going to bake because I wanted to be a very manly cake, fondant wasn't coming near this project!
A couple of years back my bestie Laura made our gang a cake from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook - Brooklyn Blackout cake. The history behind this cake is that is was originally made by a local bakery in Brooklyn during the war years when they regularly practised blackouts. I remember when Laura made this cake i was hesitant as heavy chocolate cake really is not my kind of cake but it was light and absolutely delicious. The cake was perfect for Neal as the dark frosting and crumbled cake topping make it look very blokey.
The secret behind this cake is that it actually does not contain any chocolate! I know, hard to believe but the flavour and colour comes from cocoa powder. The incredibly shiny filling and frosting is eggless chocolate custard. This is made from a combination of boiled sugar, cornflour and cocoa powder with a splash of vanilla and some butter mixed in. I had never made it so was slightly nervous of the process but it came out perfect with a super high gloss shine.
The recipe did not give the cake quite the height I was after, but the quantities of mixture in the recipe were never going to produce a 4 inch high cake. Next time I would add half the quantities again to produce a taller cake. Conversely the eggless chocolate custard element of the recipe gave me double what I required so I had way too much leftover!
Neal was very pleased with his bloke cake and general feedback from the office was overwhelmingly positive. Alison even had a second slice... Happy birthday Neal!