Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Do you remember being a kid?
Do you remember how sometimes it sucked?
Do you remember how cruel kids can be?
Lets face it; I’m sure most of us at sometime in our adult life have wished we were kids again. We reminisce about the lack of responsibilities, the carefree play that started at dawn and finding the joy in all the simple things in life; but it wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops.
One of the biggest dramas in my primary school years was friends. I went to a small primary school and the friend pool was limited. I remember feeling that I had no one who ‘got me’; until I did, but she moved away the next year. In primary school it can be easy to hide your isolation by simply playing amongst others (rather than with them) upside down on the monkey bars or in the sandpit with a makeshift twig shovel.
Sadly I have seen first hand with my eldest son H in recent years just how cruel other kids can be. The morning taunts, the smirking comments behind his back, the inconsiderate classroom behaviour; it’s not just ‘normal classroom behaviour’. It’s cruel and unfair and I really just want to yell at their parents (because apparently, I’m not allowed to yell at the kids!!).
For H, this year has been about finding his people. The people with common interests, mutual passions and an inbuilt respect for each other’s nuances and talents. He’s a smart kid but also creative and this year he has found his tribe in his Drama class and his school rock band. This past weekend he had his very first performance as part of the Drama class and the smile on his face said it all. He was so happy to be amongst peers that encouraged him for his creativity, not berated him for being smarter than they were. He remembered his lines, tried to do the ‘floss’ (we are not the most co-ordinated of families!) and thrived in the excitement that is doing what you love.
It was H’s birthday recently and, being an avid Harry Potter fan, he requested a Hedwig Cake. Hedwig is Harry Potters Owl and making him into a 3D cake was a tasty challenge.
I have previously made an Owl Cake but it was more comical looking (and super girly with pink icing; apparently a no-no for a 9 yo boy!). I wanted this Hedwig Cake to be a bold and serious looking Owl…and of course to be super tasty. I also wanted this cake to be edible within a week so not too giant and wasteful.
This Owl Cake is made from 2 mixtures of my favourite Chocolate Cake recipe (with hidden Sweet Potato). It’s a super tasty Chocolate Cake but also firm enough to be able to hold it’s weight as the layers pile up. The cake is made in 2 batches, mostly because your kitchen stand mixer wont be able to whisk 12 eggs without splattering them all over the walls, and because it’s easier to divide it into the different tins required without using measuring tools.
Just to be clear this Hedwig Cake uses 12 eggs; each mixture batch is made from 6 eggs. I know it’s a bit confusing in the recipe box but I’ve put both the total of each ingredient required and the amount for each batch. If in doubt please shout me out and I’ll let you know how you’re going.
The Hedwig Cake is baked in four 3 Cup capacity baking bowls with a 14cm diameter and a round cake tin. I picked my stainless steel baking bowls up for cheap at the Reject Shop. If you only have 2 that’s fine; just let them cool before removing and using again. The round cake (it’s for the middle of Hedwig’s body to make it longer than his head) is a 16 or 20cm tin, which ever you have. Use the widest part of the baked bowl cake to cut the flat round cake to the right size. Use the left overs to cut into the right shape for the toes and to help add extra height/shape to the top of Hedwig’s head.
Once the cakes have been cooked then it’s time to assemble your magic Owl. Start by placing 1 of the bowl cakes on a serving tray and spread with Jam and Cream. You don’t want too much cream between the layers as it will ooze out the sides but it does help to break up the dense chocolate cake. Top the 1st cake with the flat round cake, jam and cream it and then add the bowl cake on top, finishing off the body shape. Do the same with the remaining 2 bowls to make the head. To keep the cake upright you will need to use skewers/dowel rods these will need to go all the way through the head down through all the layers. I like to freeze my cake here for an hour or so to help hold it’s shape.
The next step is to cover the cake with chocolate ganache. This acts a crumb coat to stop cake getting in your feathers and helps to hold all the layers together. You can freeze the cake again at this stage for 1-2 hours (or overnight if you have enough time the next day to defrost it) to help strengthen the shape, or even a few hours in the fridge will help.
The last step is to cover the entire cake with cream and then strategically place the coconut flakes over the cake to resemble feathers and define the face. You can leave the coconut flakes off, or replace them with silvered almonds, but after a few attempts I found the coconut flakes to be the best. Use the left over ganache to make eyes on the 2 cut ends of a small lemon, and place the cut pieces of cake on as the nose and the feet.
Now I know that all sounds like way way too much work but once you’ve formed the cake layers and the shape the rest is easy…ish!!! Plus look at that smile….totally worth it!
If you are thinking this Hedwig Cake from Harry Potter is looking way too hard then try this other Harry Potter themed Cake we made recently.
- Chocolate Cake baked in 4 semi circles I used 4 metal bowls that where 14cm wide at the opening and had a 3 Cup capacity and 1 round 6inch/16cm tin (can also use a 20cm round tin)
- Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 Cup Jam use commercial or see recipe below
- 1 small lemon
- Coconut Flakes
- Chocolate Ganache
- I make this recipe as 2 seperate lots ie 6 eggs in each recipe. This makes it easier to divide between the tins and unless you have an industrial sized mixer it won't fit. The amounts for each lot are listed in the recipe in brackets
- 12 Eggs 6
- 1 Cup Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup 1/2 Cup
- 1 1/3 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Milk of choice (2/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon)
- 1 Cup Sweet Potato puree 1/2 Cup (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 Tablespoon
- 1 Cup Cocoa 1/2 Cup
- 1 1/3 Cups Coconut Flour 2/3 Cup
- 1 teaspoon Bicarb Soda/Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon Salt 1/2 teaspoon
- 6 teaspoons Baking Powder 3 teaspoons
Whipped Coconut Cream
- 4 Cups Coconut Cream the thickened cream taken from opened and chilled cans of coconut cream
- 8 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- 8 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- if the cream is not thickening and requires more firmness use 2 1/2 teaspoons Gelatin
- 2 Cups Berries fresh or frozen is fine, you choice of flavour or mixed
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup/Honey -omit or half if berries are sweet and replce with water)
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 teaspoons Gelatin
- 200 grams Chocolate recipe below or use commercial
- 2/3 Cups thickened Coconut Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- makes 200 grams
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Dash of Salt
- Once the cakes have been cooked then it’s time to assemble your magic Owl.
- Place 1 of the larger bowl cakes on a serving tray and spread with Jam and Cream. You don’t want too much cream between the layers as it will ooze out the sides.
- Top the 1st cake with the flat round cake, jam and cream it and then add the bowl cake on top, finishing off the body shape.
- Do the same with the remaining 2 bowls to make the head (cake, jam, cream, cake).
- Place the head on the body.
- To keep the cake upright you will need to use skewers/dowel rods these will need to go all the way through the head down through all the layers.
- I like to freeze my cake here for an hour, or place it in the fridge for 2 hours, help hold it’s shape and to make it easier to ganache.
- Cover the cake with chocolate ganache. This acts a crumb coat to stop cake getting in your feathers and helps to hold all the layers together. Place the extra cake scraps on top of the ead to help mould it to a round shape, using ganache as glue.
- Freeze the cake again for 30-60 minutes, or palce in the fridge for 2-4 hours (overnight is ok) to set the ganche.
- Cover the entire cake with cream and then strategically place the coconut flakes over the cake to resemble feathers and define the face. Refer to the photos for a guide.
- You can leave the coconut flakes off, or replace them with silvered almonds, but after a few attempts I found the coconut flakes to be the best.
- Use the left over ganache to make eyes on the 2 cut ends of a small lemon, and place the cut pieces of cake on as the nose and the feet.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour and then serve.
- If leaving the cake overnight til serving please note that the cream may turn a bit yellow/brown in some spots. This is normal and doesn't change the taste of the cake. Just have extra cream on hand to cover any blemishes before serving.
- Preheat oven to 180C/360F.
- Grease and line 2 15cm/3 Cup capacity metal/baking bowls and a 15cm/6 inch round cake.
- The 2 metal bowls will be used twice each (unless you have 4 then woo hoo!!!).
- It is easier to make this cake in 2 lots (ie 6 eggs in each) as it makes a lot of mixture and most kitchen stand mixers will be unable to cope with the amount. Be sure to add the right amounts (the 1/2 amounts are in brackets in the recipe)
- 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.
- For the 1st mixture; divide the cake batter evenly between 2 baking bowls.These cakes will be bigger and form the body.
- For the 2nd mixture; divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 baking bowls and the round 16/20cm tin.
- 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 tins.
- Take the flat round cake and place the baked bowl cake on top (widest part down). Cut around the baked bowl cake so that the flat cake is now the same size.
- Keep the left overs and cut a small triangle as a beak and 6 thin rectangles as the feet.
- The remaining left overs can be used to help dome out the head.
Whipped Coconut Cream
- Scoop the thickened cream from the tins, 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)
- If adding Gelatin,
- Take 2 Tablespoons of the cream and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Place that small bowl in a larger bowl full of boiling water, ensuring that no water is able to get into the gelatin mixture. Stir the gelatin mix until it has melted. Add the gelatine liquid to the cream and whip to fully incorporate.
- The gelatin cream will need at least 4 hours in the fridge to thicken before using
- Place the berries and maple syrup (or water) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
- In a small bowl, add the gelatine to the water and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the gelatine mixture.
- Whisk to combine and allow to simmer for 8 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
- To make a smoother jam, use a masher or a food processer.
- Store in fridge folr at least 4 hours to set.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl. Add coconut oil and vanilla extract.
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the coconut cream to the boil.
- Pour boiling cream into the chocolate bowl and allow to sit for 5 min, before whisking to combine.
- Allow to cool before using.
- If ganache cools and hardens, place the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Whisk gently until the lumps have broken and the ganache is smooth.
- A ganached cake does not have to be kept in the fridge; however if the ambient temperature is too warm the ganache will soften. If you feel it's too warm or you notice the ganache becoming soft put it in the fridge.
- Over a very low heat, melt the coconut oil.
- Add the maple syrup and whisk until combined.
- Add the cocoa and whisk until combined and slightly thickened.
- Pour into a dish lined with baking paper and freeze until set (minimum 30 minutes)