I borrowed the actual cake recipe from here, but everything else I made up on my own. Make sure you’ve got some time when you make this cake, or at least a list of other things to do. There’s a lot of waiting around for things to cool.
First, you need a springform pan. Mine here is 10 inches. Anywhere around that size should be fine. You see how it has a little lip on the bottom?
Preheat your oven to 325°F.
Chop up about 8oz bittersweet or dark chocolate (or milk, if you prefer, it’s your cake — who am I to tell you what to do?). Melt that in a double boiler with 3/4 cup butter.
At this point, I brushed the cake with the contents of a wee bottle (50mL) of Grand Marnier, an orange-flavoured liqueur, to keep the cake moist while it awaits the arrival of its consumers.
While your cake is cooking and cooling, you can work on your fondant covering.
We’re going to do a cocoa-mocha fondant today. So, in the bowl of your mixer, plop in 3/4 cup butter, softened, 3/4 cup corn syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Mix that until creamy, then add in 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder, and, slowly, so you don’t start an icing sugar mushroom cloud, about 5 cups icing sugar.
You may need to adjust the level of icing sugar until you get the appropriate doughy texture. You can always knead in more icing sugar with your hands. Set that aside. Possibly in the fridge to firm up a little.
Now we’re going to make the decorating fondant. In a clean bowl, mix together 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup lily white corn syrup (because otherwise it won’t turn out as light as you want it to), and 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Mix that until it’s creamy, then add in about 2 cups icing sugar and mix until doughy. Set that aside. Again, you can put it in the fridge. Or next to an open window to catch the cold Newfoundland breeze. Of course if you live anywhere else at this time of year you probably have your air conditioning on so you could always use that.
Normally, you would create a buttercream icing to go under your fondant, a nice solid glue to hold everything together. But since when do I obey the rules? We’re going to go with a ganâche, and that’s all there is to it.
As this cake is a welcome-to-Newfoundland dessert for my siblings-in-law, I thought I would put a moose on the cake. The moose, in case you didn’t know, was introduced as a hunting species to Newfoundland at the end of the 19th century and, having no natural predators other than man (because introducing species to island ecosystems is a bad idea), has proliferated and is now one of the province’s biggest pests, wreaking havoc on people’s gardens within the city and accounting for high numbers of traffic fatalities for those unfortunate (or stupid) enough to drive across the island at night. The moose is an extremely dangerous animal, for all its vegetarian-ness, but Newfoundlanders have adopted the moose as a cute symbol of what makes Newfoundlanders a bit different than everyone else.
What I’m saying is that it’s entirely appropriate to put a moose on your cake when you live in Newfoundland.
The Pie and I used a rolling pin to ease the fondant onto the cake. Because the ganâche is soft and squidgy it didn’t provide a very good base for the fondant and so you can see we have some cracks. But we’re okay with that. Plus the moose will cover up the worst of it. For more information on dealing with fondant, check out my Raspberry Trifle Cake experiment.