Each year I wait in anticipation to see what the Pantone Colour of the Year will be. This year they surprised us and went with two amazing colours … Rose Quartz and Serenity. I love the soft colours and this cake was inspired by these pretty colours. It is very difficult to get the right colours with icing sugar and I would love to go on a course on colouring confectionery icing. Anyone?
The process was as follows: white icing, a toothpick drop of blue, then a toothpick drop of purple and then green and so on. And then there I was with my computer and the cake matching and comparing the colours – along with my spoon full of icing. Eventually I realised I must just go for the colour I love – which is this light blue. I then decided to get some pink candyfloss to dress the cake.
The candyfloss was another story. I could not find big packets of candyfloss at the shop so I bought a small bright pink candyfloss machine and tried making the candy floss myself. Another disaster. My friend suggested I throw the candyfloss contraption into the bin – which I duly did. I then googled every candyfloss maker under the African sun (why did I not do this from the beginning) and found a candyfloss ‘factory’ and asked them for R100’s worth of pink candyfloss. The guy told me bring an empty boot! All this happened while the cake waited patiently in the fridge … for a whole week!
With a boot full of candyfloss on a very rainy day in Cape Town I decided to style and photograph my cake creation. Another mistake. Candyfloss hates wet weather and after a few minutes it starts to weep sugar tears. This of course is complicated when you are in the middle of a delicate photo shoot and one of your clients’ phone and you have to answer the call. Half an hour later the candy floss was dripping all over the cake.
But at the end of everything, I loved the process – and how the final culmination of my effort has come out. I wanted a dark, rich and dense chocolate cake underneath with clouds of pink and blue and baked Donna Hay’s milk chocolate layer cake.
I think it’s dreamy, whimsical and sublime.
Donna Hay’s milk chocolate layer cake
500 g unsalted butter, chopped
400 g milk chocolate, chopped
660 ml milk
880 g caster sugar
10 ml vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
525 g cake flour, sifted
50 ml baking powder, sifted
50g cocoa, sifted
Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter, chocolate, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into in a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into 2 lightly greased 22cm round cake tins lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 1 hour 25 minutes–1 hour 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I used normal butter icing and food colouring. I have no idea how much colouring. Play around and create your own. Have fun!