Thursday, April 30, 2009

McBurger Birthday cake

I'm quite girly and feminine as a person, so decorating a cake for guys can be quite difficult for me. Flowers & hearts are definitely out of the picture. My colour palette is usually quite feminine too with pastel colours as a favourite. Usually, I always opt for chocolates as it is quite universal. But I like to push myself everytime, I'm bored playing it safe. And I want to practice my fondant skill after my last disaster. Lately, I've been going to flickr for decorating inspiration. You really can find some great ideas there. In there, I've seen a few burger shaped cake that I thought was pretty cool and perfect for my friend.

He loves chocolate so I'm making the basic chocolate mud cake in the shape of a burger. Strapped for cash and time due to my assignments, I decided to use whatever's available in my pantry. I don't have time to go to cake deco to get red, yellow and brown icing colourings for the tomato, cheese and the buns. Luckily, I still have caramel brown icing from the course and green from Zio's cake. I incorporate some plain white icing to 3/4 of the brown to get that faded brown colour for the buns. For the beef, I wanted a deep brown colour. In painting, caramel brown + black would equal dark brwon, right?........ wrong! in icing colouring, it would equal to a yucky greyish colour. so I ended up leaving the meat part covered in chocolate ganache without a fondant covering. Since my friend is not so fussy about cakes and he's happy enough if someone would take the time to make him one, so I tried not to went over my head. I decided to put just a few layers of lettuce and a slice of cheese. Just call this a meaty burger with little toppings.

The drama was kept to a minimal this time, in fact, there's hardly any. My ganache worked perfectly! I found out why it didn't work for me the first time. It's because I set it in the fridge rather than in room temperature. However, due to this crazy freezing weather, my kitchen feels like a fridge, so I put it in my oven overnight *turned off obviously*, and warm it up in the microwave for 2 minutes on low to soften it up. Ideally, if you have time, try to make the buns in white chocolate mud cake and dark chocolate for the meat. Therefore, when they slice the cake, it will look like real burger.

My fondant skills nor my covering-the-cake-with-ganache skill is still faaaarrrr from perfect but I'd like to think I'm improving. Still a crack here and there and ganache stain as well, but it's getting better. I'm planing to get some stirofoam made up in different sizes so I can practice and not waste any cake.

I will post the recipe this time.. you can also find it in Paris Cutler's Planet Cake book along with fabulous cake decorating ideas.

Additional info:
This morning I read this post again and thought I'd like to share more about the process of making this cake. It may not be new to all of you experienced bakers and cake decorators, but perhaps this will be beneficial for us novices. In decorating with fondant, it would be good to divide the work in a couple of days rather than finishing it at one go. Unlike sponge cakes, or when you decorating with buttercream, fondant cakes can be handled better when the cake had enough resting time. Time wise, this could actually be an advantage. Especially for someone who has a tight schedule like me. When my friends asked me "how long does it take you to make that cake?", I said "four days" they all looked at me with a blank face. It's actually not that long. perhaps in that 4 days, I only spend around 1 - 2 hours of active time, the most time is spent on the final day when you put it all together (It took me. Please keep in mind the cake can keep around 7-10 days once it's taken out from the fridge. So for ecample in this case, if you are having the party on Thursday, you should bake the cake at least Sunday or Monday the latest. The cake itself when stored in the fridge can last up to 3 weeks. Here's a detailed rundown of the schedule:
- Day 1 -> bake the cake, mix in colours, make decoration if using (I only had to do the sesame seeds for the bun, so this process is quite quick for me)

- Day 2 -> Make the ganache (it has to be set overnight)
- Day 3 -> cover the cake with ganache (keep it in an airtight container to prevent drying)
- Day 4 (this is where you need the most time) -> cover the cake with fondant and put in all the decorations. For this burger cake, It took me around 2.5 hours to do this part including making the lettuce and cheese, and I'm considered quite slow.

Hopefully this will help you plan your cakes better and avoid any drama =)

Chocolate Mud Cake makes one 22cm (9in) round cake or 20cm (8in) square cake. For this cake, I only made 3/4 of the recipe

220g butter
220g dark chocolate, chopped
25g coffee
125g self raising flour
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
480g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
7tsp vegetable oil
100ml buttermilk

Put butter, chocolate coffee and 160ml of water in saucepan and melt under low heat stirring constantly. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarb of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make well in the centre. Add the combined egg, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture to the flour, stir well with a large spoon.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes in a 160 degrees oven. Cooled completely in the tin. Cake can keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.

Chocolate Ganache
(again, I use 3/4 of the recipe)

600ml of cream
1.2 kg of bittersweet chocolate couverture -
(I use Lindt 58% bittersweet chocolate couverture)
A little note: For friends I like I usually use Lindt chocolates (they're pretty good and quite reasonably priced), for the so so friends, I just use the general brands like Cadburry couverture or Nestle couverture since they are much cheaper. For myself or loved ones, I always chose the best and my most favourites like Valhorna or Kennedy & Wilson. They are superior with also a premium price especially here in Melbourne as there's only one store that stock Valhorna.

Chop the chocolates as finely as you can and put in a large bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it reaches just bellow the boiling point. Pour cream over chocolates, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth. Don't use a mixer as you will incorporate too much air to the ganache. Cool completely. After cooled, cover tightly with glad wrap with the wrap touching the surface of the ganache to avoid skin forming. Leave to set overnight in room temperature. When you're ready to use, if the ganache is too hard, heat it up in the microwave on low for 1-2 minutes and until it reaches the desired consistency. You're looking for a nutella-like consistency.

Assembling the cake

2-3 tbs of jam (any flavour)
20ml of liquor (any flavour - jamaican rum, cointreau, grand marnier or tia maria are always nice with chocolate)
150-250ml of water

Instead of getting rid of the bump on the top, I usually cut thinly on the hard skin of the cake, and reserving it to patch uneven surfaces later. to get a perfectly level surface of the top, use the second layer or the cake as the first layer. Brush each layer generously with the syrup to moisten the cake. Wait until the cake absorp the liquid before putting the ganache. Cover it with ganache. Let the ganache to set in room temperature. When ready to cover with fondant, brush the cake with the syrup or water to help the fondant to stick better to the cake. Here's a video on covering a cake with fondant:


  1. From where I sit that looks totally amazing and amazingly creative. I think you did a superb job.

  2. That looks so good! Great job!

  3. WOW, now that is super cool!

  4. Wow, that looks fabulous! Really! The bun looks so realistic.

  5. Great job! I love it! This is going to be my husbands cake next year - he's crazy about McDo burgers!

  6. That burger cake looks amazing! I'd say your fondant skills have definitely improved. :) I would love to be able to fondant that well.

    Maybe you can answer my question about fondant storage. After I decorate my cupcakes with fondant, I usually just put them in the carrier and leave them out. But the fondant has been getting really wet and shiny. I refrigerated some and they were better, but I didn't think fondant was supposed to be refrigerated. How do you store your fondant cakes/figurines after you've made them and before you serve them?

  7. What a great idea, and it looks fantastic!!

  8. This is my first time on your blog and i was all amazed with your creations...You have a lovely blog...I love your presentation..

  9. Those are some CRAZY skills! Seriously, looking at that cake makes me crave a burger, but I know it is a cake! It's messing with my mind!

  10. Wow..this is even better than a real burger :)

  11. What an amazing idea. It's the perfect cake to make for guys!

  12. Wow, it looks so realistic! This is one amazing cake.