The inspiration behind this project comes from all of the YouTube baking videos that I have been watching lately. I wanted to try and up my baking game and use some of the techniques that I have seen. I have to say that despite the fact that the finished cake looks ok, things didn’t not go to plan whatsoever.
Firstly, I am in love with Diablo Cookies. If you aren’t familiar with those, they are chocolate cookies that are made with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. They are heavenly and spicy. I wanted to replicate those flavours in cake form and found a recipe that I thought would work well.
Secondly, I’m allergic to eggs. I had come across an egg substitute at the grocery store recently in the specialty dairy section. I was intrigued by the fact that you could make scrambled eggs with it. You can also bake with it so I bought it to give it a go.
You can find all kinds of recipes online for any kind of cake you’d like to make, I’m not going to share the ones that I used because the hard time I had with this cake wasn’t caused by the recipe. I want to share what I learned, because it was an experience.
I started the night before by melting some chocolate. Yes, in a bowl in the sink again because I still don’t have a double boiler, but I’ve now got my sink technique down. I used half a bar of 70% Cacao chocolate and poured it into heart shaped candy moulds once it had melted. It made 11 hearts which was more than I ended up using. The leftovers were quite tasty, I love dark chocolate.
After getting all the ingredients, bowls, measuring cups and spoons out, I got to down to business. The recipe was easy to follow and really didn’t take much time at all. The egg substitute was an interesting product. It smelled exactly like cooked eggs which threw me off. I also modified the measurements they gave to replicate one egg, which was two tablespoons of substitute to 1/2 cup of ice cold water. I reduced the water slightly because after making one, the volume seemed much more than one normal large egg. That being said, not using real eggs didn’t effect the outcome of the cake in the slightest.
The recipe produced enough batter to fill two 8″ inch cake rounds, but I wanted to use heart shaped and I’ve been looking for a reason to use the silicone heart shaped cake “pan” I’ve had in the cupboard for a while.
However, I only have one of these so I was going to divide the batter and bake each one separately. Which in theory sounds great, but once I got the batter in the “pan” the second time I realized I didn’t do a very good job diving the batter equally. This led to the second cake needing to bake longer because it was thicker and the longer baking time really dried out the edges of the cake. I put the silicone heart “pan” on a baking tray in the oven just to give it some more stability, I was really glad that I did. It was much easier to get the cake in and out of the oven without feeling like I was going to break it by jostling it around too much. The cakes were easy to remove from the bakeware as well.
While the cake was cooling I worked on making the icing for the cake. Once the heart cakes had both cooled it was time to level the tops with the new cake leveller I bought. For all of the “firsts” while baking this cake this step actually went well, but it was not to last.
I had moved the cakes from the cooling racks to parchment paper during the levelling phase to help contain the mess, at this point I moved the bottom layer onto a cake board. The next phase was to ice the top of the bottom layer to create the filling. This cake was moist and fluffy inside, which is great until I tired to ice it. Up until this point I had had plans of crumb coating and then final coating this cake with icing, it was not to be I would have needed a denser cake for that. I ended up using some more milk to thin out the icing a little and it seemed to help me at least get the filling on without pulling up to much cake.
I had no trouble getting the top layer on, or trimming off the over baked edges. At that point I put the cake in the fridge for an hour to cool and harden a bit while I assessed the situation and tried to figure out my next moves
It was then that I decided to pipe the icing on. I used the biggest piping tip I had and I made another batch of icing so I wouldn’t run out. I cut strips of parchment paper to go around the cake just under the edges so I wouldn’t get icing all over the cake board. From there it was just a matter of using no technique at all to ice the cake except from doing the sides in rows moving from the bottom up and the top moving from the outer edge inward. Once all that was done I popped out the chocolate hearts from the mould and stood them up in the icing, then the cake went back in the fridge for about two hours. (I also have no pictures of this part of the process because I need to work on my piping so I had icing all over.)
After the icing had chilled it was much easier to get a cake lifter under cake in order to lift it up just a bit so I could slide out the strips of parchment paper. The icing did come away in a couple places, but luckily it was easy to just pop it back into place since the icing had harden.
All in all even though it felt like the cake was going to turn out to be a disaster it sure was delicious. You didn’t need a very large piece since the icing was rich. The smooth and creamy chocolate icing was a great compliment to the spiciness of the cake.
What baking lessons have you learned from experience?
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