Wednesday, 13 April 2011

about a cake, some birds and green pigs

It was my husband's birthday yesterday...but since he is 15 hours behind us, I am still not too late ;)

In fact we celebrated his birthday one week ahead when he came home for the weekend. We tend to forget our wedding anniversary...either we got the dates wrong or totally forget about it. Somehow, we will remember each others birthday...maybe we have celebrated our past 26 birthdays together and so we must have written the dates in permanent our heads?

I made him a simple chocolate cake despite him hovering over a black forest cake when we walked past a bakery. I wasn't keen to make one as I doubt I am able to shop for good quality canned cherries due to the time constraint. As I was on a banana sponge cake baking craze, I tweaked the recipe, and turn it into a chocolate banana cake. I didn't put too much effort into frosting the cake either. I just covered it with a simple 'pour it over' chocolate ganache and topped the cake with some chocolate hazelnuts. Naturally, with my half-hearted effort, the cake didn't look nice at all. But, at least it is edible!

I 'decorated' (too strong a word to describe my effort) the cake with an impromptu birthday cake tag...made with paper and toothpicks.

Last Christmas, Jessie of Hearty Bakes, sent me a wilton cake leveler...together with many other goodies and tools. I am now able to slice my sponge cake into very even layers :)

Thanks Jessie!!!

A nice slice of cake...deliciously moist and very chocolaty...and I don't think it is that fattening, at least compared to most chocolate cakes that usually call for a whole block of butter and lots of sugar.

I can't remember when was the last time I gave my better half a birthday present! Whatever he likes, either I can't afford or I won't know which is the right one to know, those electronic gadgets or whatnots that most men like. I don't even want to bother myself to shop for yet another shirt, tie or wallet.

This year, my kids and I decided to make him a little gift. After working hard for a few consecutive nights, we came up with a 'set' of angry birds figurines for him. I am sure many of you are familiar with this very popular angry birds app game. It is really a fun game, and I guess, it is great for killing time if you are stuck in traffic or waiting to board another flight.

My younger son is getting quite good at making figurines with jumping clay. As I am very stingy, I only allowed them to use a small amount of clay. He made that tiny pig...which uses a frying-pan to take is only 1 cm in size. My elder son is not as good with art work (he prefers music)...and so I had to help him along the way...his greatest contributions to our little project was none other than the nest of eggs, the giant pig's crown and those lumber logs ;)

The whole jing gang!

My younger kid made the slingshot or what we call catapult...I was quite impressed with it as he didn't have to refer to any illustrations. For me, I don't even know the 'power' of the various birds, and it was only after making the entire set that I got to know the 'story' behind why the birds are so angry and why they have to engage in such a suicidal mission...hauling themselves wholesale at those smirking green pigs.

Even though it was meant to be a birthday gift to my husband, but I think it was more like a gift for me and my two children. It was a wonderful time making those little figurines with them...we got to joke, tease, laugh at each other...and we were never stingy in giving praises when one of us made something that looked really impressive. I even had the chance to proof to my elder son that he should never use excuses such as "I am not good at it" can he be good at something if he doesn't want to try? At least those eggs he made do look like eggs :)

(afternote: I didn't post up the recipe earlier since I thought no one will be interested. Upon request by one or two of readers, here's the recipe...but be warned, this recipe doesn't come with any guarantee of success!)

Chocolate Banana Cake
(makes one 8" cake)

to make Sponge Cake Layer:
Refer to banana sponge cake recipe here. Instead of 150g cake flour, change it to 120g cake flour and 30g cocoa powder.

Note 1: Sieve the cocoa powder with cake flour, baking powder, baking soda at least 3 times before using. When ready to use, sieve it over the batter again. Don't skip this step as cocoa powder tends to clump up.

Note 2: It is kind of difficult to fold in cocoa powder as it tends to form lumps so do it slowly and gently, try not to deflate the batter too much. Remember to fold in the cocoa powder and flour mixture in 3 separate additions.

When cake is cooled off completely, slice it horizontally into two layers.

to make Chocolate Ganache:
150g non-dairy whipping cream (or use heavy cream)
150g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
25g unsalted butter

- Place chopped chocolates in a bowl.
- Heat cream over Low heat in a saucepan. Once the edges of the cream starts to bubble, remove from heat immediately.
- Pour the cream over the chocolates. Let stand for 1 minute.
- Stir the mixture gently with a spoon till smooth.
- Add the butter and stir till smooth. Use immediately

to assemble:
Place a layer of sponge cake on a cake board. Pour about half of the chocolate ganache on to the surface. Spread evenly with a spatula. Place the second layer of sponge cake over. Pour the rest of the ganache over the top and spread it over to the sides with a spatula. Leave cake to chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins or until the ganache is set.

to make Chocolate Glaze:
150g non-dairy whipping cream (or use heavy cream)
150g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
50g unsalted butter

- Preparation is same as Chocolate Ganache. Use immediately

Remove chilled cake from fridge. Place a rack on a baking tray (to catch any excess glaze). Place cake on the rack. Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, make sure to pour the glaze over the edges to let it flow down to the sides. If necessary, spread the top and sides evenly with a spatula. Leave to chill (together with the rack and baking tray) in fridge to let the glaze set. If necessary, trim off any jagged edges at the bottom. Transfer to serving plate. Store any leftover cake in fridge for up to 3 days.


Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

HHB, this chocolate cake looks seriously GOOD! Not too fancy but all deliciousness!

Alina---Explora Cuisine said...

I think you did an amazing job with the cake :) So moist and all the chocolate on top makes it spectacular! The figurines are so cute, you have very talented kids, well, like their mother :) Happy Birthday to your husband!

Anonymous said...

hi hi

the cake looks so moist and yummy! can share the recipe? i am attracted by the fact that it is low in fat! and the figurines look really cute..i am never good at such things so this is v impressive to me! and your boys are indeed talented in this, including your older one. i think mine will be worse than his :)

stay-at-home mum said...

Love those angry birds and smirking pigs. At first I thot they were made of sugar, and you had them on another cake you baked :P But I must say, they were very well made. Looks like your children have your creative genes!!

Can you please share with me your "pour on" choc ganache recipe please. Thanks.

The Experimental Cook said...

Your post has bought a smile to my dreary day- thank you! You have a very sweet brood and I love the fact that food glues your family together.

So inspired now, maybe I should think about baking my first cake for our 20th anniversary this year ....

One question : how did you bake the cake until it is so nice and flat in the middle ?

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks so yummy! And you take wonderful pictures. I always enjoy seeing them. I love to bake, too, but don't have much time anymore.

Baking Fiend said...

love those figurines! i, for one, still has not caught the angry birds craze. :P

lovely cake too. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow the clay figurines are REALLY impressive!! Awesome job by you and the boys!! I'm sure your hubby would have felt the love and effort that went into making such a personal gift :)

Michelle said...


How much cocoa powder did u put? And how much cake flour to reduce? U slice the cake into half and spread some granache in the middle?

Anonymous said...


Nice looking figurines!
May I know where you get those to mould ? You need to have different colours right ?


sherlyn said...

Ha, I am the first to comment :)
No doubt you did not put alot of deco on the cake, but you put the whole heart into him for that past 26 years :)
I always like simple cake, so this is very good. My boy's birthday just passed last saturday and again, I had no time to even attempt a cake for him, so you can see how well you have done.
The chocolate cake look so yummy .. I think I want to bake one soon too, with ganache like yours. Wait till I bug u for the exact recipe .. you know I cannot tweak :)

And very nice figurines you 3 made .. so small, 1cm .. I doubt my hand is able to mould them. I tried before, with jumping clay too, at a roadshow .. really no joke .. took so long to make a snail .. will show u when i take a picture. (I sure owe u alot of pictures)

hanushi said...

The Angry Bird figurines are really nicely done!!! It is also a nice bonding opportunity with your kids, I am sure you enjoy every bit of it. :)

Anonymous said...

Greetings hhb!
Your cake looks so so good and professional! The cross section is so moist too, nice to have a cuppa with this cake.. yumm..
I did one ganache covered cake and it flopped.. the ganache was so uneven.. think i got to practise more..

I can imagine the fun making the figurines with kids, a perfect bonding time ;)


Joceline said...


Honey Bee Sweets said...

Got to say those angry bird figurines are very cute, lol! Your boys are indeed very skillful in making these.  My hubby & i are just like you folks...the anniversary or wedding dates are all forgotten but birthdays are always remembered...delicious looking cake!

Small Small Baker said...

Very cute angry birds figurines! I can't imagine they are so small, it makes the work even more tedious. Do u use special tools to make the tiny eyes, ears, etc?

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

HHB, you are too humble. Your cake looks incredibly good. I am sure your husband liked it a lot and appreciated your effort.

Can you please share the chocolate ganache recipe?

Goody Egg said...

Lovely cake, pls share the chocolate ganache recipe with us soon. Tks.

j3ss kitch3n said...

beautiful and delicious cake! great job HHB!

Valerie May said...

Hi HHB good day, the chocolate cake looks mouthwatering and really chocolatey :) Your husband must be really proud. The clay figures are also cute,congratulations for the great work!

Hearty Bakes said...

Happy Belated Birthday to your hubby!
Chocolate & banana indeed a good pair for a cake. The frosting is classic and i love using ganache too :)
Glad that the cake leveler is of good use, very neat slice there!
wow...i'm impress with the angry birds creation! Friend,u should try fondant! Using the same technics and your creativity, i'm sure you will come out beautiful figurines for cakes.
Meaningful pressies for your hubby and many hours of fun for you and kiddos ;)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

A beautiful and nice cake! Your husband is lucky to have you.

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

U used non-dairy whipping cream in your ganache? I always have the perception that non-dair whipping cream can't be heated/cooked. I learn something new today.

mj said...

Hi hhb, u hv outdone yrself again! This cake looks so pro ;-)
I hv never done any cake that required frosting/decorating so far, u hv inspired me so that i may attempt one soon!
Angry birds & co. look so lifelike, but it's e thought & effort that make e gift so 窝心!

Cosy Bake said...

i think you have given me a great idea what to do with my son's coming birthday!! He loves angry birds A LOT!!! ha ha.....

the chocolate cake looks so soft and moist. Yumm yumm!

Janine said...

wow the inside of the choc cake looks so moist and yummy! and when i first saw the figurines i thought they were made out of fondant and for the cake! They look so so good - your kids have serious talent :D

Canada said...

I think this years' cake looks amazing!! I think it looks very elegant, and very different from the fun cake that you and your kids made last year (which also looks amazing, btw!)

thecoffeesnob said...

That cake looks so intensely chocolatey! I would kill for a slice right now. And how adorable are those Angry Birds figurines- your kids really have a knack for craft!

Unknown said...

HHB, I am outdated, I don't know what's this game about ;p

The cake looks simple but nice ^_^

The Sweetylicious said...

HHB, i think this is a great effort (: the cake look so divine! and those figurines are so cute!

Anonymous said...

First time commenting :) Delicious looking cake and amazing figurines!! Did you know Angry birds is from Finland?! You've got a great blog!

-Reader from Finland =)

happy-bowl said...

a very delicious looking cake..

Happy Homebaker said...

The Experimental Cook, I didn't make any special effort...the cake will dome slightly in the centre...but after inverting (to cool), the centre is quite flat(refer my banana sponge cake pic). I guess if your cake domed too could be due to the oven temperature...maybe too hot? or you may have used a wrong size pan? if you were to use a smaller pan size, the cake will dome and tend to crack in the middle too. Anyway, most cookbooks will suggest to slice away the domed part so as to get very even layers.

dotz, nah, all we got was just a few chuckles from him!

Ling, I bought the jumping clay from Popular Bookstore...the branch at Bras Besah. It comes with a few basic colours, you can mix the colours together to form other colours/shades.

Sherlyn, you are not the first leh. Your children are younger, trust me, you will have more time as they grow up. With some practise, you should be able to make the figurines...not that difficult actually...but I have 'lao huao' so it really straining for my eyes!

Happy Homebaker said...

SSB, no we dont use any tools, although we were given a set of jumping clay tool kit...we dont actually know how to use them and their specific purpose! The eyes and ears are all handmade...the clay are just tiny speckles of can be quite difficult to handle...especially since I have long sighted now :'(

Hearty Bakes, thanks so much for the gift!
I dont think I will ever make any fondant since we won't eat it especially after I found out how much sugar goes into making it.

Cook.Bake.Love, yes you can also heat the non-dairy whipping cream...I have used it to 'cook' marshmallows for a mousse cake.

neyeeloh...I only got to know it recently too!

Reader from Finland, yes I read about the origin of the Anrg Birds :) I have yet to travel that far, but will certainly make it a point to visit Finland!

Michelle said...

Thanks for posting the recipe. What brand did u get for the heavy cream. Cos i have not come across heavy cream in the supermkt, only thicken cream. Thanks

Oleagopoly said...

hi HHB!
Love reading your blog all the time!

can i check with you, the ganache and glaze recipe is almost the same (except the amt of butter used). Does it matter if I make more of either and use for the cake? sorry i'm not sure the difference between usage of ganche and glaze. the cake sure looks good. so wanna try it!!!

Happy Homebaker said...

Michelle, for this cake, I used non-dairy whipping cream. For heavey cream, it is also known as Thickened Cream for some brands. I usually use this brand 'Bulla' which is easily available from most supermarts.

Oleagopoly, thanks for reading my blog :)
Yes, the ganache is almost the same but the butter amount is different. The term glaze is used to differentiate the two, also the glaze uses more butter so it is more glossy, and good for coating the cake. Even if you make the same thing, you still need to do it twice (separately), because the ganache/glaze needs to be used immediately, if not it will solidify. Although this cake is quite easy to put together, you need to follow the sequence of the steps closely. Hope this helps :)

Unknown said...

This looks good, now I'm tempted to bake a chocolate cake too!

megi said...

The cake looks perfect, like everything else that you bake! Happy birthday to your husband. :)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely entry :) The cake looks perfect (you can't go wrong with banana and chocolate), and the Angry Birds figurines are too adorable! Your kids are so talented :)

soh said...

Hi HHB, I follow your recipe baked this cake, turned out so delicious, my family love it.
Thank you for sharing, have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for the infor, that will keep them busy!


PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Thanks for the award!!!! Love the "Angry Birds" that you made! So funny!

Your chocolate cake looks delicious! So moist and tempting!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Soh, I am glad that you took up the challenge to try this recipe...and I am so happy to know that it works well :):)

Anonymous said...

Dear HHB, i think you are such a wonderful mum. I doubt i have the patience to sit with my kids to do the figurines. The angry birds really look good.
Thanks for telling us so much about yourself. I'm always inspired by your blog.

Oleagopoly said...

Thanks HHB! yes you've brought up a wonderful point. I would have gotten lazy and made a load of glaze/ganache for the whole cake (engineer mindset la, must maximize time minimize work hahaa). Thanks for the reminder else I'll be so upset with the lump of chocolate that dries up!!

I remembered asking you about the pound cake (peach pound cake) and how I still flop at cake flour (yes yes triple sift!!)... have gotten lazy these days coz i'm heavy into pregnancy (I can only manage cheesecake ;P), but yup! look forward to making a proper layer cake when I'm capable!

Else I can just do the ganache and decorate a Sara Lee cake of some sort for fun. HAHA. actually coz my husband mistook the whipping cream as COCONUT cream when he was cooking curry some time back (I had to scream STOP!! :P), so I have an opened, but frozen whipping cream in the freezer waiting to be used. LOL. I suppose I can still defrost it and use it?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Oleagopoly, yes, you can defrost the whipping cream and use it.