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Hello 2017!

Thanks to everyone who supported my (second) Christmas cupcake shoppe and believed in me enough to buy my cupcakes and feed them to your friends and families!

I am super excited for 2017 but I will miss all the baking adventures I had in 2016! Here are a few baking related things I learned in 2016:

  • A stand mixer is my life saver, I love you so.
  • A kitchen scale saves you dishes.
  • Chocolate cupcakes without sugar tastes nasty and bitter AF.
  • Always use natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed~) when with chocolate cakes/cupcakes recipes just say “cocoa powder”
  • Eggless cupcakes tastes normal but sticks to your mouth with a weird texture.
  • Prepping all the ingredients and do all the recipe calculations before hand will help you become a more efficient and organized baker – this is something I still need to improve on.

New year means new goals. I’ve already made my goals list. On top of my baking goals list are make layer/naked cakes and learn to pipe buttercream flowers. As you can see I am already working on my baking goal. I did some mid-week baking and made this cake for a friend’s fiance’s birthday last weekend, which was also our ski trip!

The first thing I learned about layer cake making is you gotta split it up into two days! The cake layers must be completely cooled or even frozen before you decorate it. Freezing/chilling the cake will firm up the cake so it will be easier to slather it with buttercream. Because I needed the cake the next day, I wrapped it up with saran wrap and refrigerated it overnight to firm it up.

For the cake, I doubled up my trusty chocolate cupcake recipe to make four 6-inch cakes, I used the extra batter to make 6 more cupcakes. I decided to do a Nutella buttercream because I am in a hazelnut/Ferrero phase. I did a few sketches for how I wanted to decorate the cake but once I got to decorating I kinda just went with my creative intuition and ended up with this!

The mess I made while decorating this cake was not pleasant though. It was like a tornado went through my kitchen and living room O_O.  I am still working on being a more organized baker.

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I apologize I don’t have any photos of a cake slice. But here is a photo of the happy and lovely couple with the cake!

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The cake got a bit messed up during our two hours car ride to our Airbnb :(. The top three layers slide off from the bottom layer. I didn’t know that could happen to a cake!  I need to research into how to transport cake safely. I manage to slide it back into place once we got to the Airbnb but the cake still looked a little squished at the bottom. Despite its rough transport history, the cake was a hit. Everyone and especially the birthday boy loved it – turned out Ferrero is his fav! The cake was not overly sweet, moist, and full of chocolate flavour. The toasted almonds went really well with the chocolate cake and Nutella buttercream. Nothing makes me happier when people enjoy my baked goodies! Yay!

Chocolate Nutella Ferrero Layer Cake

Things needed:

  • Four 6-inch chocolate cakes
  • Nutella buttercream
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Nutella glaze (I omitted the confectioners sugar)
  • Toasted almond slices, chopped (can also be toasted hazelnuts or any nuts of your choice)
  • 8 Ferrero Rochers
  • Cake decorating turntable
  • 8-inch cake circle
  • Angled icing spatula
  • Ateco decorating comb and icing smoother

For the chocolate cake
Ingredients:
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup milk (2% or 3.25% room temperature)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare four 6-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. 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.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined (Very important to use a hand mixer or stand mixer here or cupcake won’t rise as nice). Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  4. Evenly distribute cake batter into four 6-inch cake pans (I used about 5 scoops of batter into each cake pan using a large cookie scoop)
  5. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 10 mins then take cake out of the pan and cool it on a wire rack.
  6. Once it is completely cooled, wrap with seran wrap and cool it in the fridge to help firm up.

For the Nutella buttercream

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Nutella
5 tsp unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butters on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy, about 5 – 6 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl.
  2. Add in Nutella and cocoa powder and whip 2 minutes longer. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined, then add in cream and whip on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes longer.

Cake assembly and decoration

  1. Place the cake board on the cake decorating turntable. Place a dollop of frosting on a cake board and then place the first cake layer on to the cake board.
  2. Spread some frosting over the cake with the angled spatula. Repeat the process with the other three layers and cover the cake with frosting.
  3. Use Ateco decorating comb and icing smoother to wipe off excess icing to give the “naked” cake effect.
  4. Sprinkle some roasted almonds around the bottom quarter of the cake.
  5. Use a large french tip to pipe a circle of buttercream on top of the cake and place a Ferrero on top, spacing them out evenly.
  6. Drizzle some salted caramel and Nutella glaze along the top edge of the cake. I also drizzled some Nutella glaze on top of the Ferrero!

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