November already and it feels as though we are hurtling towards the end of the year now. Hearing Christmas jingles on the radio, seeing mince pies on the shelves and receiving school newsletters reminding us that there are only five weeks (what?!?) left of this term do nothing to help quell the hysteria!
In October we celebrated two very special family birthdays, and you can be sure that there was plenty of cake to go around. First up was my Dad's birthday and I was in charge of the birthday cake. I wanted to make something super chocolatey and indulgent, and the result went down a treat. Layers of chocolate cake and caramel smothered in chocolate icing, topped with an amazing chocolate ganache (recipe from Bibby's Kitchen at Thirty 36) and finished off with everyone's favourite chocolate malt balls and a sprinkling of glitter. I have included more details on how I put it all together at the bottom of the post.
Later in the month we celebrated my Little Mister's first birthday. This year has flown, and while I feel a little sad that my baby is growing up so quickly I am excited to see how he is learning and growing every day. We decided to keep things simple this year (in other words: with minimal input from Pinterest!) and had a small star themed tea with a few of his playgroup pals and a teddy bear themed party for the family.
I used this recipe to make the chocolate cupcakes for the tea, and topped them off with vanilla bean butter icing and blue fondant stars, yummy. When it came to the birthday cake I took inspiration from the Australian Women's Weekly Kid's Birthday Cakes book and made a number one cake. I decided I try my hand at making a fondant teddy to go on the side and after watching various tutorials gave it a bash. It was not too difficult and while my creation was far from perfect it was absolutely fine for the day.
Needless to say I have unofficially declared November "salad month" to allow the waistline to recover a little after the celebrations! Until Christmas that is.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE ULTIMATE
Chocolate buttercream icing:
350g butter, softened
650g icing sugar
approximately 1/2 cup milk
To assemble the cake:
3 x 20cm round chocolate cakes
1 x 360g tin caramel topping
1 quantity chocolate buttercream icing
1 quantity dark chocolate ganache
chocolate malt balls to decorate
edible glitter to decorate
Step 1.) To make the chocolate icing: use an electric beater / freestanding mixer to soften the butter. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa. Mix until the butter and icing sugar are combined (the mixture will be very stiff.) Warm the milk in the microwave, then add gradually until you have a smooth, spreadable icing.
Step 2.) Place one of the chocolate cakes on a plate. Spread half a tin of caramel over the top. Place the second chocolate cake on top of that, then spread the remaining caramel on top of it. Place the third chocolate cake on the top.
Step 3.) Carefully spread the chocolate icing over the top and sides of the cake. I prefer a slightly rough finish but you can choose how smooth or rough you would like it. Set the cake aside to allow the icing to set. (I did this part the day before.)
Step 4.) Prepare the chocolate ganache as per the recipe. Pour the ganache in the centre of the cake, gently coaxing it over the sides to make gorgeous chocolatey drips.
Step 5.) Drop chocolate malt balls over the top with reckless abandon, the more the better! Pop a few in your mouth too, you have earned it! I finished the cake off with a sprinkling of edible glitter, this is completely optional though.