I finally got around to cleaning my room yesterday, which is probably a bigger task than you might imagine. To be honest, the reason I dislike cleaning up is not because it's tiresome, but because cleaning always inevitably leads to me parting with many once loved items which I know will never come to use again. In my drawer (which I only open once ever couple of months), I found my stash of wallets, phone bags and lanyards- each and every one I've owned since the beginning of high school. Stuffed in the corner was my pile of tween magazines, which my parents would only buy for me on the odd occasion. In the next drawer, I found a money box full of 'special coins' which I'd collected over the years, underneath that, a pile of old cartoon calendars, so cute and pretty I couldn't bear to throw away eventhough I know the year 2003 won't come by anymore.
And don't get me started on what I found under my bed.
On my desk, I found a simple bookmark my friend had made for me in year 5- a simple piece of white cardboard, with my name written with staples and stuck on with a piece of sticky tape. I don't read much anymore, and the bookmark had gathered a considerable amount of dust stuck underneath the sticky tape over the years so it made much sense to throw it away. After all, I reasoned, I still had plenty of other handmade gifts from my friend. But then I turned the bookmark over, and in her neat handwriting, she had written in gel pen, '~Always Remember~'
And with that, the bookmark went back into my drawer.
The following chocolate cake recipe is one I use quite often, not because it's an amazing recipe- it's good, but definitely not in the running for the world's best chocolate cake. I use it, because after many failures, this was the first chocolate cake recipe to actually work out in my kitchen. Over the years, the cakes I've made using the same recipe have become better, both due to practice and some slight modifications. It's not perfect, but it's special to me.
I don't use it that much now that I've discovered many better chocolate cake recipes, but it came in handy when I wanted a quick but reliable chocolate cake recipe to make for my sister's birthday. The reason I needed a quick recipe was because I wanted to make it for her while she was at school (I love surprises. Don't you?), and since I only wake at 11am or so, that didn't leave much time to bake a cake, cool and decorate it.
My sister also specifically requested a Domo cake so this is what I ended up creating:
I covered the cake in cake crumbs to make it look furry, but in doing so, it ended up resembling the 'fur' of a certain toy my sister absolutely adores (it's not actually fur, but I'm refraining from revealing which toy this actually is, to avoid any embarrassment on her behalf) so much that she couldn't bear to eat it.
And I'm not even kidding- it went straight back into the fridge for a couple of days.
Unfortunately, we eventually had to cut it up and eat it- but only on the condition that I make this cake again for her in the future :)
Chocolate Domo Cake
For the cake:
2/3 cup caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
For the ganache:
150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
150ml cream (I used thickened cream)
You will also need:
2 dark chocolate buttons/m&m's or something of that shape
A bit of white chocolate
Red Food Colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake pan.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Gradually add eggs and mix until just combined.
3. Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture with milk. Stir until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for ~30minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
For the ganache:
1. Heat cream in a saucepan until scalding hot.
2. Pour the finely chopped chocolate over the cream.
3. Leave for 2 minutes and stir until smooth.
4. Leave to cool (it will thicken as it cools)
Note: since I'm verbally challenged when it comes to describing things like this, you're much better off referring to the illustration!!
1. For the body, cut rectangle from the square cake by cutting off two thin rectangles from the sides
2. Round the corners of the top to make the head and cut a chunk of the bottom to make the legs.
3. Using the thin rectangles cut off from step 1, carve round of one edge to make the arm and cut diagonally on the end where it will attach to the body (you'll only need about 1/2 the length of the rectangle). Do the same to the other thin rectangle.
4. Using your left-over cake, crush it into crumbs (I did this with a fork). If you want finer crumbs, feel free to use a blender!
5. Cover all the body and arms with ganache. Then piece together the three parts to make a domo shape.
6. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the cake crumbs.
7. For the mouth, melt some white chocolate, mix it with a drop of red food colouring (or however much you need to get it red), then spread it on some baking paper. Before it has completely cooled and hardened, cut a rectangle shape, large enough to be the mouth for the cake.
8. For the teeth, melt come white chocolate, spread it on baking paper and before it has completely cooled and hardened, cut it into small triangle pieces.Place these triangle pieces on the red rectangle to make the domo mouth and then place on top of the cake where the mouth should be.
9. Lastly, place the 2 chocolate buttons/m&m's where the eyes should be. Taa-daa!!