Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Miss L is not far off turning two (insert noise of a mother sobbing from the sudden realisation that she no longer has, and will never have again, a baby). It’s a great age as she is learning something new every day, she’s developing her own personal style (she likes to carry her Dora bag with her everywhere) and her own quirks.
She is also developing her own personality…her own feisty, stubborn and cheeky sense of self. I could ‘blame’ her strong traits on the fact that she’s a third child who has learned to stand up for what she wants or that she is a mini version of me (which probably means I need to call my mother and apologise to her for putting her through hell!) but I don’t want to. Her strong will and her drive aren’t behaviours that need to be apologised for; instead they need to be nurtured and perhaps channeled into activities that don’t involve yelling at me. These are traits that will make her into a formidable wonder woman when she grows up… let’s just first get through being a toddler and then (heaven help me) the teenage years!
Miss L’s 2 favourite sayings at the moment are “Meanie” and “You stop it” (I’m pretty sure that the latter is a direct mimic of the thing I find myself saying to the kids 100 times a day). “Meanie” is what 5yo S yells at her when she’s trying to take one of his favourite toys; so now it’s become her favourite chant… in response to everything!
Me:“L, eat your veggies”
Me: “L, time to change your nappy”
Me: “L, love you”
L: “Meanie”..and a kiss!
Whilst it stings like a jelly fish that she’s growing up so quickly it does mean that there’s a birthday around the corner and of course that means Cake!!! Birthday Cakes are quite an affair in our house, including this Owl Cake, an Iron Man Cake, a large Dog and an elaborate Ice Cream Cake. This Penguin Cake is another perfect birthday cake (I made it for my niece whose Mum loves penguins).
This Penguin Cake is super cute and easy to make. There are 4 elements to the cake but the same ingredients are used throughout, including lots of pureed Sweet Potato. It’s the perfect cake to make to cater for an allergy friendly party as it’s Gluten, Nut and Dairy Free, as well as being Paleo friendly with loads of hidden vegetable and because it doesn’t use refined sugars it won’t make the kids want to run laps around the clothesline.
Don’t be turned off making a healthier and cute Penguin Cake because you think it’s too hard or there are too many parts. It’s way easier than it looks… and if you get stuck I’m always here to help you (just email me!).
Here are my hints:
- This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe ever (a ½ recipe will make a great 20cm round cake). It’s dense enough to be made into a shape cake but won’t bake up like a rock. If you don’t like Sweet Potato (you crazy person!!) then you can sub in the same amount of mashed up ripe Banana. It’s a really large recipe and whisking up 12 eggs in your kitchen stand mixer might become a bit messy. If your bowl is a bit small make the cake in 2 goes (i.e. ½ the ingredients each time) and stir the 2 parts together in a large bowl before pouring into the prepared bowl and cake tin.
- I have used a large pudding basin and a 6 inch cake tin to make the Penguin shape. If you don’t have these you can use any rounded heat proof bowl (think Pyrex) and a 8 inch (20cm) cake tin can be used. The largest part of the bowl cake needs to be the same size as the cake tin, so you may need to trim the cake tin cake to match if you use the larger tin.
- The Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting is probably the best thing you’ve never tasted. I suggest you make it first (even before the cake, maybe even the day before) as the vegetable flavour ‘settles’ over a few hours. If you are unsure add an extra tablespoon of sweetener.
- Freezing the cake (even if only for 1 hour) between steps helps to prevent the layers from slipping or the toppings blending together.
- I have used ½ a strawberry made into a heart for the penguin to hold (the cake was for my niece). You don’t have to use a strawberry, instead you could use a number (as in the birthday number), a flower, a toy or whatever your little cake lover is into.
- This cake is massive and will feed a lot of people. I cut it into thin slices then cut them in half.
- 12 Eggs
- 1 Cup Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup
- 1 1/3 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Milk (of choice)
- 1 Cup Sweet Potato puree (to cook Sweet Potato; place whole in a moderate oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and squishy. Wait til cooled then remove the peel and use the mushy sweet potato). Ripe Banana could be substituted.
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Cocoa
- 1 1/3 Cups Coconut Flour
- 1 teaspoon Bicarb Soda/Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 6 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2/3 Cup Coconut Cream
- 2 Tablespoons MapleSyrup
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa
- 2 Cups Coconut Cream (the thickened cream taken from opened and chilled cans of coconut cream)
- 4 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup pureed Sweet Potato (to cook Sweet Potato; place whole in a moderate oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and squishy. Wait til cooled then remove the peel and use the mushy sweet potato)
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons melted Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa (sifted- or at least no lumps)
- 2 Blueberries
- 1 Strawberry
- Tip of 1 Carrot
- Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Grease and line a 6 inch/15cm round cake tin and grease a 1.5lt heat proof bowl or a 1.5 or 2lt pudding basin. Place a small piece of baking paper on the bottom of the bowl.
- Sift the coconut flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs for 5 minutes, or until fluffy.
- Add the sweet potato puree, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated – about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl (you may need to do this a couple of times) and beat cake batter on medium speed for about 30 secomds so that the batter is fluffy.
- Pour the batter into the baking tin and bowl and smooth out the top. The bowl should be 80% full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes (6 inch cake) and 50-60 minutes (bowl) or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool before removing from the tin
- Spoon the thickened cream out of the can, discarding the watery remains.
- Put the cream, vanilla and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it has combined and is in a liquid state (you don’t want it to boil- just be warm).
- Remove from the heat and sift in the cocoa, stirring until combined and smooth. Put it in the fridge (or freezer if you are rushed for time) until it reaches the right spreadable consistency (5-30 minutes depending on how hot the cream got).
- Scoop the thickened cream from the tin, discarding the watery liquid at the bottom. Place the cream in a mixing bowl of a kitchen stand and beat using a whisk attachment.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla and continue whisking until incorporated. Place the cream in the fridge to thicken further before using (allow at least 4 hours)
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
- Use immediately or place in the fridge.
- Place the cooled 6 inch cake on a serving plate. Spread ganache over the cake.
- Take the domed cake and cut into horizontal 3 layers.
- Place the larger layer on top of the 6 inch cake and spread ganache over the top. Place the middle layer on next. Cover the middle layer with ganache then place the last layer on the top.
- Cover the entire cake with Ganache.
- Cover the ganached cake with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (overnight is fine; just allow enough time for the cake to defrost in the fridge- approx. 5 hours).
- After 1 hour remove the cake from the freezer.
- Cover the enitre cake with Whipped Coconut Cream. Keep some cream aside to fix any mistakes that arise after the frosting has been used on the cake. Cover the cake again and palce it back in the freezer for 1 hour. This will help to set the cream and prevent it from merging with the frosting.
- Remove the frosting from the fridge and make sure it is spreadable. It may need to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes first.
- Use a sharp knife, mark out the face shape on the penguin (the face is a heart and the hands do not join under the strawberry) and the bottom lines. Refer to the photo for more detail. Cover the cake (except the face and stomach area which you have just marked) with the chocolate frosting. Spread it carefully to not mix it with the cream layer underneath.
- If needed, use a piping tip to mark the edges of the face/stomach.
- Using a sharp knife cut the end off a carrot for the beak and use the blueberries as eyes. Use your best free hand cutting skills to make a heart shape from 1/2 a strawberry. Place all on the cake just like in the photo. If you don't want ot use the strawberry the Penguin could be holding a number (e.g. 1 for a 1st birthday), flowers or anything you could imagine.
- Place the cake in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
- Keep the cake refrigerated between serves.