(This is reposted from my private blog, Zucchinis in Bikinis, from last year, as I have now had three emails asking for it back again. Interestingly, I note that we made the cake for G's Mum's birthday lunch last year - and we just made it again three days ago for her birthday this year, at her request! It is a most delicious cake :-).
Today we had G's Mum's birthday lunch here. The girls were very keen to make their Nanny a special cake, and picked the Chocolate Mascarpone Indulgence Cake from Beverley Sunderland Smith's wonderful Decadent Desserts cookbook to attempt as part of our cooking project.
Given that we are going to do quite a few recipes this year, the girls and I have together decided on a format to log our cooking experiences. We are going to describe and rank each recipe on difficulty (as assessed by me!), number of ingredients, ease of adaptation to gluten free cooking, steps required, time required, and result. I'll also offer an overall assessment of how the recipe fares as a cooking-with-kids adventure.
Making the Chocolate Mascarpone Cake was a very enjoyable outing for us, and while it took longer than I had anticipated, and did not look a bit like the picture in the book, it was well worth it. It ended up tasting sublime - "like a cafe cake", as my mother-in-law remarked to the girls' delight. We'll certainly make this cake again for special occasions.
Degree of difficulty: 5/10
- Cake layers - 7 (Plain flour, cornflour, 4 eggs separated, castor sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder)
- Mascarpone filling - 4 (mascarpone, dark chocolate, sugar, 4 egg yolks)
- Sugar syrup - 2 (Sugar & water)
Steps / processes: 8
Ease of conversion to gluten free: Very easy. One flour substitution was all that was required.
Time required: 1-1.5 hrs total prep, spread over several hours due to cooking, chilling & icing.
Approximate cost of ingredients: $15. The addition of 500g of mascarpone, which cost almost $8, plus the fact that it takes a whopping 8 eggs made this an expensive cake to make. I take comfort however from knowing that buying it made from a bakery would have cost twice as much!
Appearance - 5/10. It didn't look as plump or tall or neat as the book!
Taste - 9/10. It was DE-LIC-IOUS. We all adored it.
This is a suitable cooking project for older preschool and school-aged kids to assist with. Several processes need to be either completed or mostly completed by an adult, so it is not a highly interactive / self-driven project. It does provide the opportunity to introduce key cooking and baking concepts (such as separating eggs, which my girls enjoyed learning how to do; beating egg whites until fluffy (thank you Kenwood - hand-beating egg whites is NOT my idea of fun); melting cooking chocolate safely; and sifting dry ingredients. At each stage, we were able to talk about why certain things needed to be done - what effect the fluffed egg whites would have, for instance, and why whole eggs would not ever go fluffy no matter how long you beat them. With my 6-year-old's interest in science, this prompted us to do some online investigations about the chemical composition of eggs (yolks and albumen) and learn why each component of the eggs behaves as it does when cooked.
Notes from beside a hospital bed
2 hours ago