Chocolate Koala Cake

Chocolate Koala Cake

Recipe

Serves 8-10

Time: 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients

For the chocolate cakes

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml crème fraiche
  • 100ml water

For the coffee buttercream

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the grey buttercream

  • 675g icing sugar
  • 300g butter
  • A few drops of black food colouting

To decorate

  • 200g white chocolate
  • Black and pink food colouring
  • 200g Fondant icing
  • 100g Icing sugar

Method

  1. Start by making the cakes. Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Grease and line two 17.5cm cake tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a sauce pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Next put the flours, cocoa powder, and sugars into a bowl and mix together.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, crème fraiche and water. Then add the cooled melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the flour to the mixture and fold with a spatula to incorporate.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the two tins, making sure an equal amount goes into each. Then bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, until the top is springy and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then take them out of their tins and leave to cool on wire racks until room temperature.
  8. Meanwhile make the icings. To make the coffee icing, put the icing sugar and butter into a bowl and mix until smooth. Put the coffee granules into the milk and stir until dissolved. Then add the milk to the icing and stir until it reaches an even colour.
  9. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and leave in the fridge until needed.
  10. To make the grey icing beat the icing sugar and butter together like you did for the coffee icing. Add in a little black food colouring and mix again. (It’s best to add the food colouring in very small amounts – a drop or two at the most each time – as it’s very easy to over-colour). You want the icing to be a nice grey colour.
  11. Cover the bowl of grey icing with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until needed.
  12. Now make the decorations for the top of the cake.  To make the ears begin by melting the white chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.
  13. Split the chocolate into three bowls. Colour one lot pink, one lot dark grey and the last one light grey. Spoon each lot of chocolate into it’s own piping bag.
  14. At this point it might be helpful to draw your design for the ears onto some greaseproof paper with a pencil so you can use it as an outline. I like to make 5 or 6 ears so if they break you have back ups. You also need to make sure that for every design you draw, you also have another drawn flipped into the mirror image so the ears match when on the cake. Once you’ve done this, turn the greaseproof over, so the pencil marks are on the other side, and place it on a baking tray.
  15. Pipe with the dark grey chocolate first to make an outline of the koala ears, tracing the lines you made earlier. Fill in the middle of this outline with the light grey chocolate. Then pipe a small circle of pink chocolate in the middle of each ear.
  16. Take a cocktail stick and, whilst the chocolate is still warm, drag it through the layers of chocolate, from the middle to just before the outline, to merge the colours a little and give them some texture. Leave the ears to dry at room temperature.
  17. Now make the nose. Add a few drops of the black food colouring into the fondant icing and then knead the icing to mix it all together. You want the nose to be as black as possible so you might need to do this several times, adding a few drops each time, to get the right colour.
  18. Roll the fondant into a chunky oval, making it as smooth as possible. Then take a cocktail stick and make two little nostrils in the base. Set aside to dry out at room temperature.
  19. Finally make the black icing that you’ll use to pipe the eyes and mouth. Put the icing sugar into a bowl with 1 tbsp of water and a few drops of black food colouring. Mix to make a smooth, fairly stiff icing. (You want it to be runny enough to pipe, but not runny enough to drip off a spoon).
  20. Pour the black icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle and leave to one side until needed.
  21. Now start to ice the cake (only do this when the cakes are completely cool!). Pipe a little bit off coffee icing onto a presentation board and then put one of the cakes on top (this will stop it sliding around). Pipe an even layer of coffee butter cream over the cake (I like pipping around the edge into the middle in a spiral). Use a palette knife to smooth it over a little and then top with the other coffee sponge.
  22. Take the grey icing and put a huge dollop on the top of the cake. Use a palette knife to work it round the sides of the cake into an even layer. This is the crumb coat so what you want to do is fill any gaps and make sure there is an even coating across the whole cake. Don’t worry at this point about it looking neat or if there’s bits where the cake is poking through.
  23. Put the cake to chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours to allow the icing to set.
  24. Once the icing is set (you can check this by touching it lightly and feeling if it’s hard) take the cake out of the fridge. Plonk another blob of grey icing on the top and, again, work it round the cake with a palette knife.
  25. When there’s a good layer of icing surrounding the cake take your palette knife, hold it parallel to the sides of the cake and then pull it round the sides of the cake to smooth it out. Wipe the excess icing you’re taking off on the side of an empty bowl as you go. Then tidy up the top of the cake by pulling the palette knife (this time parallel to the top of the cake) in confident strokes, from the edge of the cake into the centre.
  26. Leave the cake in the fridge for another couple of hours to set again.
  27. Now is time to build your koala! Begin by attaching the nose. Snap a cocktail stick in half and press it into the underside of the nose. Then press it into position in the cake.
  28. Next pipe the mouth and eyes. You can either do this free hand or score your design into the icing before you pipe, with a knife. Pipe two downfacing hemispheres for eyes, either side of the nose, and add some eye lashes. Then pipe two larger upfacing hemispheres from under the nose, and a little chin underneath that.
  29. Finally, carefully peel the chocolate ears off the baking paper and place them upright on either side of the cake. (You may need to score little holes into the cake to put them into or add a little butter cream to hold them in place). Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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