I have such a love of candles. I own far too many candles that I never burn because I have some weird thing about keeping things looking new and never using them because reasons (I'm looking at you, 5 sets of Derwent pencils still wrapped in plastic).
Once I inevitably get over this weird quirk and light them, I'm quickly captivated by them as the flame dances on their molten surface. I love their elegance, their ambiance and their beauty. I especially love their fragrance, be it from a scented candle or the smell of a wick just blown out. I also love the way they remind me of being a kid. I grew up in a household where money was variably present, and so we often had one or more of our utilities cut off. Of course, as a kid, you don't yet know the stress of money and bills so it's all just another adventure. Today we get to boil the water for our baths on the stove and read stories by candle light. There were a lot of candle light nights. Maybe it's because they bring me back to this time of personal innocence, or maybe it's just their intrinsic beauty, but I find them so calming.
Candles also remind me of Christmas. They're my favourite centrepiece at Christmas dinner, though they look gorgeous adorning any occasion. Lit or unlit, they make the setting look beautiful. So when creating a list of baking for my 12 Days of Christmas, I just knew candles had to be featured.
These candles are made from white chocolate mudcake. This is a recipe that is in several of the Women's Weekly books I have. I've often seen it, but usually skipped it. I seldom have the urge for white chocolate cake. In fact, I've never baked it. Once I tasted this cake, I realised what a mistake it was. This is hands down one of the most amazing cakes I have ever tasted. I didn't need all the cake for these candles, so I cut off some pieces warm out of the oven for everyone to try. I saw my own feelings of surprise and ecstasy reflected in the expressions of everyone who took their first bite. Even the crust, which is quite thick on this cake given the 2 hours baking time required, was perfect. Beautiful and crisp, while slightly sticky and syrupy, you just wanted to eat every last bit of it.
If you don't want to make these candles, then just bake the cake! I'm definitely just waiting for an excuse to bake it again.
If you are making the candles, then you'll need to cut our rounds that correspond to the size candles you want. I used three different sized cutters and cut 1 round for the largest candle, two for the middle candle and three for the tallest candle.
Cut off the crusts and level the cakes. Because I'm pedantic, any time I'm stacking cakes I use a spirit level to make sure they're level.
Now to make them a candle. I got a cheap packet of 100 tea light candles from Bunnings and removed the wicks from three of them.
To make them food safe, I coated them with white chocolate.
At this point, you can ice the sides of the cake using your preferred method; royal icing, fondant, buttercream, ganache. Play to your strengths – you just need to get a smooth coat of icing on the cake. Use a bit of ganache to secure the wick to the top of the cake, then drizzle the rest on top letting some of it drip over the sides.
If you want the colour to be really stark you could use actual white chocolate melts (the kind found in the chocolate making section) or use white food colouring. I just used what I had on hand.
And now the moment of truth: lighting the candles!
Without the wax, the moment will be short-lived. You could recess an entire tea light candle into the cake, but I preferred the look without it. It matters little, because this cake is so delicious, the whole thing is going to be short-lived anyway.
This is the recipe for the cake and the ganache. The original recipe for this cake uses a 20cm round cake tin, so if you're just going to make the cake itself, feel free to use that instead. If you're making the cake for non-candle purposes and would like to use ganache for the topping, double my recipe. Here's how I did it:
White Chocolate Mudcake
250g butter, chopped
White chocolate ganache
To make white chocolate ganache, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling; remove from heat and stir in chocolate until mixture is smooth and well combined.
You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.