I have a confession to make – Ina Paarman’s Kitchen Chocolate Cake is my best-kept baking secret.
The cake is dark, rich and moist and it goes from packet, to bowl, to oven in two ticks. Perfect for beginners who are intimidated by baking or just time-strapped individuals in need of chocolate! This beautiful box is the start of Emma’s Owl Birthday cake.
3 x boxes of Ina Paarman’s Chocolate cake
9 jumbo eggs
750ml coffee or vanilla-flavoured water
Follow the packet instructions to mix the cake batter and divide between a 23cm round caketin and a round-shaped mixing bowl with a 23cm mouth. I cheated (again) and used a Barbie caketin for the dome, but an ovenproof metal or glass mixing bowl also works. Grease the caketin and bowl well, then sieve a layer of flour over. Shake out the excess before filling with batter. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the filling
2 x tins caramel
400g dark chocolate (I used Albany dark chocolate with nuts; it gives the filling crunch.)
Melt the chocolate. Use an electric beater to beat the caramel until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate until thick and glossy. Delicious! Add a dash of vanilla if you like.
Building the cake
1 Use a bread knife to slice the bowl cake into three layers. It helps to be at eye level with the knife.
2 Place the 23cm cake on the serving platter and use the bread knife to cut the top of the cake level; keep the off-cuts for later. Spread a nice thick layer of caramel filling, top with the bottom of the dome cake, spread filling, add another cake layer followed by filling until all of the cake is stacked to resemble a beehive. Smooth the outer icing with a palette- or butter knife.
3 Insert a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake, snipping off the top that stickes out. This will make the cake sturdier, and keep it cake from slipping and sliding while icing.
1 Use the prepared icing to make two large, white 8cm circles and two 1cm circles. Colour a small ball of icing blue or green, roll out and and cut two small circles slightly bigger than 1cm. Also make an orange triangle beak and two feet, a pink bow and the letters of the birthday girl or boy’s name.
2 Cut the marshmallows into ‘feathers’ with a kitchen scissor.
For the outer icing
250ml butter, softened
250ml icing sugar, sifted
Any leftover caramel filling
Beat the butter with an electric beater untill light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.
Icing the cake
1 Smooth the outer cake with butter frosting. Attach the two 8cm eyes. Use water to attach the small green circles, followed by the small white circles and two blue glitter balls to complete the eyes.
2 Use the marshmallow feathers to create the front of the cake.
3 Add the beak and feet.
4 Use a palette knife to apply extra butter frosting to the body of the owl cake to create an uneven, feathery look.
5 Use cake offcuts to make two chucky triangles for ears Use toothpicks to attach the ears to the cake and cover with frosting.
6 Add the bow, birthday candle and the baby’s name and you are ready to get the party started!
Happy second birthday Emma!