Let us eat cake

2009-09-26 00:00

TRADITIONAL wedding cakes are so last year. Today’s bride can choose from tempting and interesting selections such as cupcakes, brownies, ice cream cakes, chocolate truffles and cheese cakes. It’s the cake that counts — more so than the chic wedding gown or the elaborate table setting — and height is everything. Bakers are adding polystyrene dummies to create a few extra tiers of stature. These “new-age” cakes are often served as the dessert course, which of course makes them an attractive and creative cost cutter.

For chocoholics, the chocolate mousse cake was created with you in mind. It’s a cake for any occasion when quality is what counts. A dense chocolate-sponge base is filled with a decadent, white-chocolate mousse and covered with melting Belgian-chocolate ganache. Could anything be more indulgent?

Carrot cake has a sense of grandness and importance so it’s often served at special celebrations. This recipe will provide a moist cake that is full of spices, nuts, raisins and grated carrots. The cream cheese icing adds the tartness and creaminess for which carrot cake is renowned.

Cupcakes need not be boring. They provide the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your creativity. A soft and syrupy coffee cake offers a surprise of textures with roasted hazelnuts adding the crunch. Top this with marzipan and plastic icing and by marrying the old and the new you have a hint of the past.

One of my old-time favourites is an orange citrus cake. It’s perfectly balanced, tasty, and needs only a light sprinkling of icing sugar. This cake invites formality when covered with thick, orange-infused butter icing, and a white-chocolate band surround.

Other exciting and interesting options are chocolate truffle cakes and cheesecakes. Before I knew better, I painted a cake tin with white chocolate, layer-by-layer, to form a surrounding area that would carry 1 000 truffles. It would have been a lot easier to have covered this tin, well the sides, in plastic icing and only painted one chocolate layer. How we learn from experience.

My favourite is cheesecake. Whole heads of cheese layered to form tiers and finished with fresh fruit, nuts, preserves and caramelised sugar. Mouth watering!

All these cakes are tempting and tantalising, but I’m an old-fashioned kinda gal so a traditional fruit cake will feature on my special day.


Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za

I look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (head chef: Hartford House, 033 263 2713)

Coffee and hazelnut cake

Yields: 1 x 24-26 cm cake


250 g salted butter

200 g brown sugar

4 eggs

220 g cake flour

30 g good quality coffee powder

5 ml baking powder

5 ml cinnamon

125 ml sour cream

125 g hazelnuts — roasted, peeled and roughly chopped


310 ml espresso coffee or very strong coffee

100 ml Frangelico liqueur

200 g castor sugar


1) Cream the butter and sugar.

2) Add the eggs one at a time.

3) Sift the flour, coffee powder, baking powder and cinnamon together. Add to the above.

4) Add the sour cream and finish with the hazelnuts

5) Bake at 160˚C for 1¼ hours, or until cooked.


6) Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan on the heat and stir until all sugar crystals aredissolved.

7) When baking is complete; make skewer incisions and pour the sauce over the cake. Ensure all the sauce goes into the cake.

Carrot cake


Yields: 13 small individual cakes


1 cup cake flour

1 cup white sugar

1 t bicarbonate of soda

½ t baking powder

½ t fine salt

1 t cinnamon powder

2 eggs

188 ml sunflower oil

7 ml vanilla essence

½ tin crushed pineapple with liquid

100 ml pecan nuts

100 ml raisins

1½ cups carrot — grated


1) Sift flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.

2) Mix the eggs, oil, vanilla essence and crushed pineapple together.

3) Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.

4) Finish with nuts, raisins and carrots.

5) Place cake mixture into small, lined tomato paste tins, 118 g in size, about 60 ml per tin.

6) Bake at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes.

Cream cheese icing


500 g cream cheese

2 cups icing sugar


1) Whisk cream cheese well and add sifted icing sugar.

Chocolate sponge base

Yields: 1 x 22 cm cake tin


120 g salted butter

1 ¼ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 ¼ cups cake flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

3 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup full cream milk



1) Cream the butter and sugar.

2) Add the eggs one at a time.

3) Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.

4) Add this to the above mixture alternatively with the milk.

5) Put mixture into a lined spring tin and bake at 180˚C for about 25 minutes or until cooked.

6) Remove and when cooled slice in half lengthways. Ensure each piece is 1 to 2 cm in thickness. Clean the cake tin. Place the less attractive piece of cake at the bottom of the tin. Cover both rounds of cake with clingfilm and set aside for later use.

White chocolate mousse

Yields: 1 cake


300 g white chocolate

90 g salted butter

½ cup cream

3 egg yolks

3 teaspoons gelatine (dissolve in 30 ml water)

1½ cups cream


1) Melt the 300 g chocolate, butter and ½ cup of pouring cream over a double boiler.

2) Whisk the 1½ cups of cream until firm.

3) Sponge the three teaspoons of gelatine.

4) Mix three egg yolks into warm chocolate mixture.

5) Dissolve the gelatine in a double boiler and add to warm chocolate mixture. Stir well.

6) When this has cooled slightly add whipped cream.

Putting the cake together

You have a tin with a base of sponge in the tin. Top this with the white chocolate mousse. Place this in the fridge and when firm, put the top layer of cake on to this mousse. Remove this from the tin and smooth around the edge of the cake with a palate knife.

It is now ready for your choice of icing and decorating.


Orange citrus cake

Yields: 24-cm cake


500 ml cake flour

10 ml salt

10 ml baking powder

125 g melted butter

1½ cups white sugar

4 large eggs

2 medium oranges — zest (chef’s note: either use a zester to remove coloured and perfumed outer rind or finely grate this off)

250 ml full cream milk


300 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

30 ml salted butter

250 ml white sugar



1) Line a round tin of about 24 cm in diameter with greaseproof paper (chef’s note: To prevent the cake from sticking to the tin, and because a very acidic cake often reacts with the tin, and to prevent the mixture from oozing out of the tin) and set aside.

2) Set oven to 180˚C

3) Whisk the eggs, orange zest and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

4) Add melted butter

5) Sieve the dry ingredients and add to the above mixture alternatively with the milk amount.

6) Place mixture into an already prepared baking tin. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the centre of the cake is cooked.


7) While the cake is cooking, make the syrup.

8) Place all the syrup ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to the boil (stirring continuously).

9) Once the cake is cooked, take a skewer and prick over the entire surface of the cake

10) Make sure the syrup is hot and pour it over the cake. The trick is to make certain that all the syrup goes into the cake.

11) At this stage, the cake can be served and garnished with; for example, icing sugar, grated chocolate, fresh fruit, cream and cocoa powder.

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