During my vacation in Italy I purchased a super cute cake stand which I’ve been eager to use for a while. The only problem is that is fits a small cake, and I have been baking for larger parties since I came back. I could have baked a small cake just for my boyfriend and myself, but we’ve been on a diet (for a month now!), and we would give in to cake only on few special occasions. I finally had the occasion to bake for a small party – my boyfriend, myself and our latest guest – last week, so I made a small cake that I could finally set on my newest cake stand!
A few years ago I spent three months in Toronto for an internship. I had started baking about a year before, and at the time of my Canadian stay I was taking this hobby more and more seriously. And if back in Italy it had been not too easy for me to find special cake decorating equipment (except for standard grocery store finds), when I discovered Bulk Barn in Canada the doors of heaven opened up to me. Despite a tight budget – internships, alas, are unpaid business – I tried to make the most of my outings to Bulk Barn and stocked up on things I could not find in Italy. This is why I came back from Toronto with such souvenirs as an angled spatula, several piping tips, a dozen of gel food colours and a phenomenal non-stick cake pan. A small cake pan. The perfect size for my new cake stand.
What is so amazing about this cake pan is that it perfectly accommodates the quantity of batter usually required to make 12 standard cupcakes. So if you have a trusted cupcake recipe you don’t even need to downscale a cake recipe and can use that. For my latest cake I used Martha Stewart’s chocolate cupcake recipe, but baked in a 14 cm round cake pan.
Small chocolate cake:
- 3/4 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (100 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (180 g) butter
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
I usually substitute butter with margarine in cake batters, I find it gives cakes a better texture and it leaves them less greasy. The procedure is as follows: start by creaming the butter (or margarine), which has to be at room temperature, with the sugar. Keep mixing and add the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mix to the batter and mix it in. Then mix in half of the sour cream. Keep alternating (flour mix – sour cream – flour mix) until you have incorporated all the ingredients. Bake at 170°C for about 40-45 minutes – not sure if it’s my oven or what, but this batter in that small cake pan takes ages to bake, if compared to the size of the cake. It’s pretty heavy, and yields a rich and moist cake, so this is not a super airy sponge cake that bakes in minutes. Still, when used for a larger cake and not small cupcakes, it takes some time.
Since this cake is so wonderfully rich alone, I decided to use as filling the simplest thing possible and went for whipped cream. I added the tiniest amount of icing sugar to it, because I wanted it to be as neutral as possible, as its taste was meant to stay in the background and not overwhelm the chocolate and raspberries. Lastly, I poured some chocolate ganache over the top, letting it drip down the sides. One last swirl of cream and a lonely raspberry on the very top were the final touch.
Baked as a cake and not as cupcakes, this cakes is so moist it almost resembles a brownie. This is why I decided that the best filling could only be something not too sweet but especially not too heavy. On cupcakes, I like to use buttercream or mascarpone frosting, but on a larger cake in my opinion this would be too much. Instead, the airy quality of the whipped cream perfectly balanced the thicker texture of the cake, and the raspberries gave out that sour kick every now and then that just made this cake taste as good as it looked. Because on my new cake stand this small cake looked amazing!