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It feels like it’s been a flurry of birthdays over the past few weeks and to be honest, I’m loving it! It is such a pleasure celebrating and sharing the joy with people. I’m also finding that I get quite a kick out of researching and planning, and also the very short timescales I have to bake and decorate my cake.

Nina celebrated her birthday last weekend and she picked a Cuban theme. I wanted to somehow incorporate that into the cake and decided that the cake would have red and blue and white at the very least. To add to the festive mood, I decided to make mini buntings specially for Nina. I was also inspired by a post by iambaker that I also decided to make my own sprinkles.

First, I printed the buntings from this site and cut them out, glued them onto some baker’s twine and tied them around two wooden skewers. Simples!

Next, I got to work on the sprinkles. This was a little trickier as I have never made sprinkles and did not know what consistency they should be (a little thicker than cake frosting). I was also not very used to just piping dots, so a lot came out looking like teardrops or just long dashes. And the dots weren’t exactly uniform in size too! The sprinkles dried overnight but they weren’t as shiny as I expected them to be. I am not sure if it is the coloring that I used or if it was because I substituted golden syrup for agave nectar. I’ll experiment more next time and will pipe out different shapes as well. Can’t wait!

Since I have a new found obsession for tall cakes (I’m having cake height complex), I made two cakes in one night. I’m the midnight baker! Yeeha! Frosting the cake was so easy since I was going for the rustic look :) I’m just very happy to have made the cake for Nina and that she liked it! Now if only cake had no caloric impact…

Chocolate Cake with Homemade Sprinkles

Chocolate Cake
(for a taller cake, double the recipe and bake in 2 tins)
9 tbsp cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee (or water)
½ cup milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2x 20cm/8in round deep cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.
Mix together the coffee/water and milk. Beat in half of the dry ingredients and liquids. Beat in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Pour batter into pan or divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in tin, then place on a wire rack and cool completely.
Homemade Sprinkles
Adapted from here
½ cup icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 ½ tbsp light corn syrup/agave nectar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
food coloring
Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. For easy piping, the consistency should be a little thicker than cake frosting. if the consistency is too runny, just add more icing sugar. If it is too thick, add a little milk or corn syrup/agave nectar. Transfer icing into a baggie and snip off a very small corner and pipe out dots onto a greaseproof paper. Leave to dry overnight.
Fill and frost cake as desired. Sprinkle sprinkles onto the cake and gently smoosh in with the palm of your hands to make sure they do not fall off.