Grizz the teddy bear birthday cake
( MAKES 1 )
This Rice Bubble-coated teddy bear cake comes from The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book. It is baked in a dolly varden cake tin from specialty baking stores. You will need to make the cake at least a day before you plan to decorate it.
Chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache
|400 g||Dark chocolate buttons, for the ganache|
|200 ml||Cream, for the ganache|
|1½ tsp||Cream of tartar|
|4||Eggs, lightly beaten|
|2 tsp||Vanilla extract|
|360 g||Plain flour|
|140 g||Cocoa powder|
|580 g||Caster sugar|
|2 tsp||Baking soda|
|1 tsp||Baking powder|
|200 ml||Hot water|
Rice crispy topping
Make the ganache as follows and set it aside to firm up
Ganache can be made in advance. Covered in the fridge, it will keep for up to 2 weeks. Before using, bring it back to room temperature then mix well. It should be the consistency of toothpaste — not runny, not solid and just a little sticky. If it is too hard to stir, warm it slightly by giving it short 10-second bursts in the microwave or, alternatively, in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. If it is too runny, leave it to cool in the fridge.
- Place a medium-sized stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the chocolate and cream to the bowl, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has just melted and is combined with the cream, with a nice glossy finish. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool.
Bake the dolly varden cake at least a day before you plan to decorate it
- Heat the oven to 180C on standard bake (160C on fan bake, but avoid using fan bake as it causes excessive peaking during baking). Prepare the cake tin by spraying liberally with oil spray.
- Place milk and cream of tartar in a small glass, stir and set aside for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, place oil, eggs and vanilla extract, and stir to combine.
- Into a large mixing bowl, sift flour, cocoa, caster sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
- Scrape all of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a hand mixer, mix to combine, then slowly add hot water and mix well until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking the cake regularly during the last quarter of cooking time, or until a cake skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. (If you know your baking isn’t cooked through but it’s looking crusty on top, carefully place a sheet of tinfoil on top of the cake. This will stop it from getting any darker on top but will allow the cake to continue cooking until it’s fully done.)
- Cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once fully cool, wrap the cake in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container if you plan to decorate it the following day, or wrap it in tinfoil, followed by plastic wrap and then freeze it.
Make the rice crispy head
In a large saucepan over a low-to-medium heat, melt 150g marshmallows, stirring continuously. Initially, it will appear as if nothing is happening, then all of a sudden the marshmallows will melt. Quickly remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 150g Rice Bubbles. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, act fast, as you’ll only have a few minutes to work with the rice crispy mixture before it cools and hardens.
The mixture is incredibly sticky, so as soon as the mixture is cool enough to touch, spray cooking oil on your hands and press the mixture into a ball shape. Set this aside to cool and harden. (Don’t worry if your moulded shapes are not perfect; once the rice crispy has hardened, you can carve and shave a more precise shape with a serrated knife.)
Make the rice crispy arms and legs
Repeat the rice crispy recipe, this time using 120g Rice Bubbles and 120g marshmallows. Once cool enough to handle, divide the mixture into 4 equal parts. From these parts make 2 teardrop-shaped arms (about 8cm long) and 2 cylinder-shaped legs (about 6cm long). Set the shapes aside on baking paper to cool and harden.
Make the torso
Once the cake is completely cool, place it back in the tin and use a sharp serrated knife to cut any uneven rising off the base of the cake to level it. Turn the cake out and place it upright. Using a sharp serrated knife, carve the bottom edge of the cake so it is rounded underneath to create a tummy shape. Place the torso on a serving plate. Stick one end of the skewer into the rice-crispy head and the other end into the middle of the cake so that the head sits on the torso. Attach the arms to the torso using toothpicks and ganache.
Use ganache to stick the cylinder legs to the front of the torso. Cover the entire cake with ganache. Have fun with this part, because it gets messy! Press handfuls of Coco Pops into the sticky ganache with your fingers until the bear is completely covered, leaving a round circle at the end of each leg uncovered.
Make the ears
Cut a slight curve out of each MallowPuff to match the shape of the head. Stick the ears to each side of the bear’s head using chocolate ganache.
Make the eyes
Cut 2 thin slices off the liquorice log. Cut the marshmallow in half horizontally and stick 1 piece of the sliced liquorice to the sticky side of each of the marshmallow halves.
Fill the piping bag with the leftover ganache, cut a tiny portion off the tip of the bag, then pipe a small amount of ganache on to the back of the marshmallow eyes. Stick the eyes to the bear’s head.
Make the nose and mouth
Separate the layers of the giant liquorice allsort. Cut a triangle from a liquorice layer for the bear’s nose and stick it to the bear’s face with ganache. Pipe a W shape under the bear’s nose to create a smile. Tie a ribbon around the bear’s neck.