To celebrate our birthdays (mine and ZocoDaddy’s) I decided to bake a layer cake for our gaming night. Nothing fancy like the ones Jessica makes but from whom I got the idea of making a meeple themed cake. We are a group of five so I didn’t need a big cake and to make Jessica’s meeple-shaped cake I would have to bake more cakes than we would be able to consume. So I settled for a small round cake: one layer chocolate, two layers yellow, filled with dulce de leche, crumb coated with ganache and covered with a thin layer of white fondant. Mrs. Goldfish helped me with the mould I used to cut the meeple. For the yellow cake I used one of my mum’s recipes and for the chocolate cake I used Rita Lobo’s recipe. Here I must say that I didn’t like the texture of Rita’s cake. It was a bit too compact and dry, quite similar to a shop-bought cake. In my case that wasn’t much of problem because I needed sturdier cakes to bear the weight of the other layers +filling +ganache +fondant +decorations. So it worked out well.
3 tbsp unsalted butter
500g (2 ½ cups) sugar
310g (2 ½ cups) flour
1 tbsp baking soda
180ml (¾ cup) milk
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour a tin (this recipe is originally for a 20x30cm sheet cake).
Cream eggs, sugar and butter together. Add flour and milk and mix. Fold in the baking soda, put in the tin and bake for about 40 minutes.
(source: Rita Lobo)
200g (1 cup) sugar
86g (1 cup) cocoa powder
240ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
240ml (1 cup) water
250g (2 cups) flour
1 tbsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour a round tin (you can use cocoa powder instead of flour).
Sift and mix the sugar and cocoa powder. Beat in eggs and oil until everything is well blended. Beat for a little longer – you can use either a mixer or a whisk.
Add water and flour, but be careful not to overbeat it. Fold in the baking soda and pour the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Level any lumps and divide the cakes horizontally. You can use a knife (a big one, preferably :)), a cake leveler or simply a piece of dental floss (put it around the cake, and pull both ends crossing one over the other).
Put the first layer of cake on your cake stand and sprinkle it with milk. Spread the filling and cover it with the second layer. Repeat the process. Don’t forget to moisten the third layer!
Crumb coat the top and sides of the cake with ganache and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Cover the cake with a thin layer of fondant and decorate it as you wish.
You probably noticed that I have only half of the chocolate cake. As four layers would be too much, before baking the chocolate cake, I divided the batter between the round tin and a loaf tin.
You can simply skip the fondant and add a thicker layer of ganache for a smooth simple finish, or you can whip the ganache after cooling to make it fluffly and make small swirls with the back of a spatula.
I’m not a professional! That was the second time I worked with fondant, so please excuse the flaws.
If you don’t know what a meeple is and are curious, please read here.