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Mini Mudcakes for One

We have just survived one of the worst hail storms I have ever seen. We had had a few hot days and on a recent Saturday it was hotter than I can remember it even being in this little town. Then within the space of about 15 minutes it seemed the sky turned green and we had 20 minutes of the most relentless hail I have every experienced.

 

My beautiful front garden is looking a little worse for wear and most of the fruit on my trees is pitted and gone. But considering my little house survived I am very lucky. I heard the next day that our two local vineyards lost all the grapes for the year, so when you hear things like that it makes you realize how lucky we all are.

 

Today I am still very much on holidays with my two little ones. They start the first day of school in two weeks time and I am not sure we will all cope when we have to return to a normal routine. In their old child-care they were not allowed to take in chocolate products and I rarely made time to make things just for them. So when my little girl asked for something pretty today I decided to spoil them with something super-indulgent!

 

These little cakes would make a perfect gift or be a fantastic dessert for a special dinner party. Very easy and you can dress them up any-old-how!

 

Mudcake Recipe:

220gram unsalted butter

220 gram dark chocolate – roughly chopped – use the good stuff, not homebrand

125 gram self-raising flour

125 gram plain flour

50 gram unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

480 gram Caster sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

7 teaspoon vegetable oil

100ml buttermilk

 

Prepare your cake pans. I have used a 12 cup loose base dessert pan. Each dessert hole is about 3 inches / 7 cm. You could of course use cupcake or muffin pans but I prefer these as they have the very straight lines. People also have much success making a slab cake and cutting out circles. But I find that way too messy, with lots of wasteage and I just find this works for me. It is a Bakers Secret Loose Base 12 cup Dessert pan and I just love it!!

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 Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

 

Put butter and chocolate with 160ml water into saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Then remove from heat.

 

Once cool add the egg, oil and buttermilk into chocolate mixture.

 

Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarb of soda into large bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Add the wet ingredients, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.

 

Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tines and bake for minimum 30 minutes or until a skwer comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the tine until completely cold.

 

 

Chocolate Ganache:

Make sufficient chocolate ganache to cover and fill your cakes.

For ganache calculate 1/3 cream and 2/3 dark cooking chocolate.

So for 200 ml cream use 400 gram of good quality chocolate. I don’t like a lot of ganache so I only made a small amount. You can adjust the recipe accordingly.

 

Finely chop your chocolate or even whiz it up.

Bring cream to just under boiling point in microwave and then add chocolate stirring with a whisk to ensure that all is very smooth.

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Get a little presentation board for your cakes. I only halved my cake and filled with a little ganache and coated very lightly. You might want to have two layers of ganache and a lot thicker outside coating – depending how decadent you want to be.

 

 

Royal Icing:

I am using Royal icing to fix the blossoms to the cake and also to do the blossom centres.

To make Royal icing you will need:

250 gram icing sugar mixture

1 egg white

Pinch of Cream of Tartar

Dash of Liquid glucose

Pinch of Acti-white

 

The method I was taught to make Royal Icing and it still is something I follow is you combine the egg white, the cream of tartar, liquid glucose and Acti-white and whisk with a small whisk, adding one teaspoon of icing sugar at a time and moving to a spatula when this gets too heavy.

It is very important to avoid excess air getting into the mixture and adding too much icing sugar at any one time. If you are looking at fine piping, extension work etc I think this method is a must as you are guaranteed consistency and strength in your work.

 

If, however you are looking at flower fillers, less delicate work then you can use a hand-mixer and basically make a royal icing out of egg white, icing sugar and a pinch of Cream of Tartar. Still add the icing sugar gradually and ensure you beat long enough to work out the consistency you have. For this type of work a medium peak consistency is fine.

 

You only need a small amount in a piping bag and I used a Wilton Number Two tip.

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For the top of the cake, roll out some white fondant and using a matching circle cutter cut out a piece and press it to the top of the cake.

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For the strips I used a strip cutter.

 

Another good piece of advice is to have a wet chux in a sealed plastic bag – use this to rest over cut pieces etc so they do not dry out.

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Cut several strips of different colours and rest them under plastic bag. Then start applying them to the side of cake.

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Then using a blossom cutter cut out several blossoms in your choice of colour, ball them slightly in the centre with your balling tool and stick them to the top of the cake with royal icing and give them a royal icing centre.

 

You can play around with the edges and the blossom to come up with your own designs.

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