I must admit, I had a bit of bakers-block for this month’s "green" theme challenge on bakebakebake. The only thing that came to mind was mint, and, well, that had been done. As had almost every other thing I thought of. When they did a pandan chiffon cake on MasterChef, I drew inspiration from there… until none of the pictures accompanying the recipes I found had the lovely green colour I wanted.
It was after a bout of Googling images using a green filter that I sprung upon the idea of an asparagus cake.
Sounds gross, no?
Well, it’s not flavoured asparagus.
It’s simply meant to look like a bunch of asparagus. This saw me spending the afternoon rolling out 42 of the things, and who knows how many tips to top the cake.
But really, I was just glad they remotely resembled asparagus.
This is probably the first time I’ve deliberately coloured my fondant in separate batches to achieve different shades of green. Usually, when I do fondant work, ending up with different shades is a thing of fear.
The tips of each asparagus were by far the most fun bit of it. I achieved this by using scissors to make the jagged look. The stems were indented with my fondant tools. I then used a mixture of purple/black lustre dust to colour them. I didn’t have time to go into the city to buy the appropriate colour and unfortunately the purple lustre dust was a tad glittery, hence some of the ‘asparagus’ having an uncharacteristic sparkle.
At one point, I was tempted to stop at just the 42 asparagusii. Perhaps I could just photograph it from an angle that didn’t give the deception away. But I’m glad I covered the whole top. It is so much more effective.
But just what flavour was the actual cake? If you know me, the fact that it was chocolate will not come as a surprise. It’s layered and covered with whipped cream, tinted green. I was tempted to flavour it peppermint. I didn’t. It was mostly that I ran out of time.
I think my favourite moment of the night came following my boyfriend’s declaration that he didn’t much like the taste of the fondant. It was far too sweet, he said. I told him I hadn’t had time to make my own batch. This was indeed store-bought emergency fondant that had been in my pantry waiting for such a rushed, on-a-whim sort of unplanned cake.
"I didn’t really expect anyone to eat the fondant, it was just-", I said before I was interrupted by the sight of my sister’s head snapping up in my peripheral vision to meet my own, fork poised half way between the plate and her mouth as she paused sheepishly at my words. As I turned to look at her, I saw that she was two mouthfuls away from finishing the entire stack of fondant asparagus on her plate.
I burst into laughter. It was some time before I recovered enough to explain to the others the perfectly comical expression I had received.
I’m pretty sure it’s the only time my sister will eat asparagus of any sort.
To make the cake, I used just a quarter of my go-to chocolate cake recipe, and baked it inside an SPC fruit tin. Tin cans come in remarkably handy in the kitchen. Waste not, want not.
Gratuitously Large Chocolate Cake
2 cups (500ml) water
3 cups (660g) caster sugar
250g butter (chopped)
1/3 cup (35g) cocoa
1 tsp bicarb soda
3 cups (450g) self-raising flour
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1. Preheat oven to moderate, grease and line your baking pan.
2. Combine water, sugar, butter, cocoa and baking powder in the largest saucepan you have (I mean, seriously large – bicarb soda expands, and you do not want to lose this all over your stovetop).
3. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil; reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
4. Add flour and egg; beat until smooth.
5. Pour into pan; bake for 50 minutes
The lovely people of voted for my entry to win June’s Green theme challenge.