This past weekend was hubby’s birthday, so I decided to bake him a surprise birthday cake. Planning a surprise for someone you live with can be a bit difficult. The biggest challenge was where to hide the cake.
I recall earlier this year, on the eve of my birthday, hubby had prohibited me from opening the fridge. Well it was sorta obvious he had hidden something sweet, well it turned out to be a tasty white forest cake (my favourite) 🙂
Back to the surprise, I schemed to have the cake hidden at my friends place, they are also our good neighbours. Next challenge was to bake the cake in record time, frost it and eliminate all evidences of cake bearing in mind the way the house smells when one has baked.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter/margarine (I used margarine)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ripe bananas mashed
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons of water
300ml double cream
300gm chocolate chips/chunks
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
As usual start by pre heating your oven at 350 degrees.
Grease and flour your baking tin. This time round I also lined the bottom of the tin with some parchment paper.
Using a wooden spoon/spatula/electric mixer cream the sugar and the margarine.
Once the mixture is creamy and fluffy mix in the eggs one at a time. The mixture will look a bit curdled but it’s ok. Add the vanilla essence.
Mix in the mashed bananas.
Once well incorporated add the flour,cocoa,baking powder and salt into the wet mixture.
Fold in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. I found out recently that the cake batter should have a dropping consistency, that it when you scoop it with a spatula it should be able to drop. Don’t confuse this to mean that it should free flow. Even if it drops some huge dollops that’s ok. Well since mine what not at the right consistency I added some 3 tablespoons of water.
Pour out the batter into the prepared tin then put it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/spaghetti inserted in the middle comes out clean.
AS the cake was baking I prepared the ganache and lemon icing.
In a bowl pour the lemon juice.
Add the icing sugar, small quantities at a time. We want the icing to be a bit viscous.
Patience is key while making this. I used about 3/4 cup of icing sugar. Add the vanilla essence then continue mixing till you get the desired results. Then set it aside.
Thirty minutes or so later, my cake was evenly cooked and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean.
Place the cake tin on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the tin and let it cool further since, we’ll be frosting the cake.
I was really working in a rush and to be honest the kitchen counter was a bit messy. Since I was trying to eliminate all evidences, as the cake was baking, I also washed all the used equipment.
To be honest, I didn’t wait for the cake to cool completely, time was against me.
Since I had prepared the ganache earlier that morning, it hadn’t completely set, I wished I’d put it in the freezer, oh well.
Pour the ganache on the cake and spread it out.
The counter was full of chocolate. After putting the first layer of ganache, I squeezed the cake into the freezer for like 10 minutes to see whether it would at least set, well that amount to more mess O-o.
Add the final layer of the ganache. The dripping result.
Now for the lemon icing, I don’t have a pipping bag so I had to be inventive, so just using a polythene bag, pour the icing into the bag, push it to one edge of the bag then make a small hole. Then ice as desired. (sorry no pics, handy were messy).
Now for the end result.
I forgot to mention, just as I was beginning the second layer of frosting the cake,hubby called saying that he had just alighted from the bus and that he was on his way home O-o (the horror). Trying to buy time I requested him to go buy fruits, I even recommended some vendors that were a bit far, sneaky I know.
Safe to say, the cake was hidden at my neighbours, all the utensils washed, wiped dry and tucked away in their respective cabinets. One big problem remained, the cake smell… Well I’d earlier lit an aromatic candle so when he got home and got to sniffing (pun intended) I just said it was the candle.
Tip: Please prepare the ganache the night before to avoid the mess I made.
For those who might be wondering the surprise worked out great and hubby loved the cake.
PS. Sorry for the longest post ever. Also, I apologise for the lack of step by step pics, I was really in a hurry and took what I could.