As is the case for many people, I have a lot of birthday’s amongst my family and friends in the month of September as well as Father’s Day. This year, we decided to combine my dad and brother’s birthday plus Father’s Day into one Sunday lunch at our house. However my brother decided he would go to the snow instead (and learn how to fall on his butt), so it ended up being all about our dad’s.
I had been eyeing off the Honeycomb Crunch Cake that appeared on the Australian blog Raspberri Cupcakes earlier this year and decided this would be the perfect occasion to make it as I know my dad loves honeycomb, almost as much as I do.
I have also been wanting to make a checker board cake since seeing the Australia Day inspired checker board cake on the same blog in January. The colours I selected for the cake were our dad’s favourite colours, gold for my dad and red for the hubby’s dad.
After gathering the ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, egg white, milk, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract), the first step is to mix the wet ingredients in a jug.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it onto the lowest setting to combine.
Like my bright yellow paddle? When looking for KitchenAid attachments I came across a product called BeaterBlade which has silicone scrapers on each side of the paddle attachment. As excited as I was about constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl I thought I would give one of these a try and purchased the red version to match my mixer. It was fantastic and lasted over 12 months. However one afternoon when I was baking it snapped in two. I can’t quite recall what it was, but I think the mixture was to stiff and I had the speed to high which was a recipe for disaster.
After not coping without it for a few months, I finally got around to purchasing another and thought I would try the commercial one instead as I use it all the time over the standard paddle attachment. These are the best things I have ever purchased for my KitchenAid so highly recommend you getting one too. You have to adjust the height of your mixer to accommodate the BeaterBlade but other than that it is all systems go!
But back to the cake. After combining the dry ingredients add the butter and remaining milk and beat on a low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Add the egg white mixture in 3 batches, stirring quickly and thoroughly between each addition.
As I was making a four layer cake, I then split the mixture into four bowls. Because I am a little obsessive, I weighed the mixture to split it evenly.
Now it is time for some colour and it is up to you how strong you would like the result to be.
For the gold I purchased some Americolor gel food colouring and added four drops to each bowl which resulted in a nice rich colour. Yes, I probably could have left the cake batter as is but as there are no egg yolks to give that extra colour, I decided to use food colouring.
If you have noticed the “red” theme from some of my previous posts due to the abundance of red food colouring purchased for My Best Friend’s Wedding Cake, you will understand how excited I was to use some more of it. I didn’t measure the amount (oops), but it was approximately two teaspoons.
When you are happy with the colour, divide the mixture into the prepared cake tins (I used 8″ cake tins lined with baking paper) and bake in a 180°C oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
While the cakes are cooking, make the white chocolate ganache so that it will have time too cool before it is used for layering the cakes. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and heat the cream until just before it is about to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit. After a minute or so, stir the chocolate and cream until it is nice and smooth and set aside to cool, but not set.
When the cakes are done, cool them in the tin slightly and then turn out onto a cooling rack. When completely cool, level the cakes into even layers and put in the freezer to firm up for 15 minutes.
Ideally I would like to have had cut 3 circles out of the cake, but I was a little hesitant that they would be to thin to handle and I also didn’t have 2 circles to use as guides (once again my obsessiveness wouldn’t let me freehand the cutting as I wanted the checker board to be exact). Luckily though I had our pie maker dough cutter which ended up being the perfect size.
Once the cakes were firm, I placed the cutter in the middle to cut out the inner circle. Once this was complete on all four cakes, I returned them to the freezer for another 30 minutes.
To layer the cakes, separate the inner circle from the outer ring.
Put a little of the cooled ganache on your cake board and place the first ring down, I started with the gold. Place a red circle in the middle and top with a thin layer of ganache which acts as the glue holding it all together. You could use a buttercream if you would prefer, but as suggested in the original post by Steph at Raspberri Cupcakes the ganache is almost invisible to give you the full effect of the checker board.
When you are finished layering the cake, you can finish the top with more ganache as somewhat of a crumb coat. If the ganache sets a little more, you could probably do the sides as well but I didn’t worry about it.
For the icing, I wasn’t able to find plain honeycomb anywhere when I wanted it, and I wasn’t in the mood to make my own so I ended up buying the chocolate coated version. And really, a little chocolate never hurt anyone (unless you’re allergic I guess). I must admit, I was a little hesitant about it as I envisaged my cake looking like its inspiration, but I am really happy with how it turned out in the end.
The ingredients for the icing are butter, icing sugar, golden syrup and honeycomb.
Beat the butter with the icing sugar and golden syrup until it is nice and fluffy.