Gluten Free and Eggless Volcano Cake

volcano-cake

This is a super special cake I made for my brother’s birthday. He really wanted a volcano cake – he was really impressed by volcanic explosions and all the destruction o.O
The cake consists of a dome shaped cake, with a hole to represent the main vent, along with yellow and orange coloured white chocolate ‘lava’. This was all placed on a base of green fondant, along with some plastic toys.

This cake has a bit of an interactive element as well. Though not shown in the picture, a plastic cup with dry ice was inserted into the main vent, and when water was poured on the dry ice, a lot of smoke comes out, representing the gas and ash from a volcanic eruption. Even though it took a lot of time to create, its a really fun cake to make and look at.

Ingredients:
For the chocolate cake:
1-1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup granulated white sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 1.5 eggs (one of the perks of not using whole eggs)
3/4 cup milk
3/8 cup vegetable oil (thats 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup, or around 95ml)
3/8 cup boiling water

For the chocolate ganache:
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the lava:
2-1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Yellow food colouring
Orange food colouring

For assembly:
Green fondant (enough to cover your base)
Plastic dinosaurs and trees, for decoration
Dry ice, about 2-3 small pieces
Small disposable plastic cup

Procedure:
For the chocolate cake:
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and flour an 8″ stainless steel mixing bowl, or an 8″ dome shaped novelty pan.

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, egg replacer, milk and oil together. Fold in the sifted flour mixture, until well-combined. Using an electric mixer, mix for about a minute, or until well combined. Add the boiling water and stir in.

Pour the batter into the prepared bowl/pan. Bake for  30-35minutes, or until well risen and springs back when pressed gently. Allow the cake to cool before frosting and assembly.

For the chocolate ganache:
In a medium bowl, place the chocolate chips. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream on medium heat, stirring continuously, until it starts simmering.

 

Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate chips, and let it sit for a minute. Then, stir together until you got a smooth and silky ganache (this step is really a treat for the eyes).

Let the ganache cool.

For the white chocolate ‘lava’ ganache:
Divide the white chocolate chips between two small bowls. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream on medium heat, stirring continuously, until it starts simmering.

Divide the hot cream between the two bowls of white chocolate chips. Let them sit for a minute, and then stir both of them (you should use separate spoons). Then, add a few drops of yellow food colouring to one bowl, and orange food colouring to the other. Stir them both, to get smooth ganache. Let both of the ganaches cool.

Then, take two piping bags or two ziplock bags, and pour the yellow lava into one bag, and the orange lava into the other bag.

For assembly:
Before assembly, ensure that the cake, the chocolate ganache and the coloured white chocolate ganaches have cooled.

Firstly, cover your cake board with the rolled green fondant, ensuring the base is smooth (you can use a fondant smoother for this).

Remove the cake from the pan/bowl, by running a knife against the edge of the cake to ensure that the edges aren’t stuck to the sides, and then upturning the pan/bowl.Place the cake on a cake stand or a plate.

Using a knife or a cookie cutter, make a hole at the top of the volcano cone, that is about as deep as half the cake’s height (this is the crater/main vent). Remove the extra cake. Cover the cake with the cooled chocolate ganache, ensuring that it is evenly spread. Don’t frost the inside of the hole. Allow the cake to cool for about half an hour.

Then, snip off a small hole at the side of the two ziplock bags. Fill the hole about a third of the way with the orange and yellow lavas, swirling them together with a skewer. Then, pipe lines flowing from the inside of the hole to the base of the volcano, to represent the lava flowing. Do this with both the orange and yellow lava. Let the cake cool for one hour.

Then, using a large serrated knife or a spatula, move the cake from the cake stand to the centre of the fondant covered base. Place a couple of prehistoric themed plastic toys to decorate.

For the smoke:
When you want to make the smoke, place the plastic cup in the hole (crater)  of the volcano cake. Place the pieces of dry ice in this cup. Using a cup, pour some water into the plastic cup to see the smoke.

volcano-cake-3

Be prepared for a few oohs and aahs at this point! Enjoy!

volcano-cake-4

Lemon and Condensed Milk Biscuits

  
These biscuits are honestly more like cookies, but they taste delicious. They have such a unique taste combination, and are pretty moist, which would be probably better than a dry biscuit. These cookies are also apparently a popular delicacy in Botswana, and so this international aspect is quite cool! Replace the all purpose flour with gluten free plain flour to make this recipe gluten free.

Adapted from: http://travelbystove.palfreymedia.com/botswana-recipes-lemon-and-condensed-milk-biscuits.asp

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 1 cup butter
  5. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  6. 200ml sweetened condensed milk
  7. 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  8. 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  9. 2-3 tablespoons milk

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar.
  3. Add the condensed milk and mix well.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon rind, making sure it’s well combined.
  5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well together.
  6. Stir in the milk.
  7. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes (it will harden slightly during this time, so you can easily shape it for baking).
  8. Take about 3/4 tablespoon sized pieces, roll into balls and flatten slightly on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms start to grow brown.
  10. Let it sit for about 3-5 minutes before eating.