Please say hello to Virginia Carpenter! I love this lady – we met about 9 years ago when she looked after my boys when they were small. She was the best carer and became a beautiful friend and we consider her to be part of our family. She is an incredible baker and cake artist. I thought I would ask her some questions so here is a little bit about Gin:
Tell me a little bit about you: Nearly everyone calls me Gin. I am currently finding my feet as a single mum. Wow what a challenge. But one that shows strength, courage and energy you never knew you had! Baking and dessert making is my therapy, I feel relaxed in my kitchen and by my oven (except when it all goes wrong!). I love any excuse to make a cake and try out a new design. So my baby sisters baby shower was a great excuse to bake a 6 layer chocolate cake with berry buttercream. Two upside down ice-creams representing mama and baby. I often use my trusty recipe from Sweetapolita for the cake and make up the buttercream as I go along!
Who is your role model: My role model is my 89 year old Nana Joan. She is a mother of 6 children, one son and 5 daughters, the youngest with Down Syndrome. She is my inspiration, she can always find the positive in any situation and I just simply always feel more positive whenever I talk to her. She is always writing down recipes on scraps of paper and they stay in no particular order, I’m not sure she ever uses them!
What would be in your emergency pantry: My emergency survival pantry would have to have flour, baking powder, oil, sugar, dutch cocoa, vanilla extract, butter, eggs and spaghetti (is that being greedy?).
Favourite kitchen appliance: I do love my kitchen aid, but I love my buttercream application scrapper thing (I don’t even know it’s proper name). It can smooth any edge on a cake.
Five famous people you would invite for dinner and why:
Nigella Lawson for her gorgeousness.
Bob Marley for the tunes.
Anthony Kiedes just because!
Gordon Ramsey just to hear his opinion.
Samuel L Jackson to read me my recipe while I cook!
I would also have to invite Frida Kahlo – she’s an inspirational woman, I have been to her house / museum in Mexico.
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” Bern Williams
Gin’s 6 Layer Chocolate Cake with Berry Buttercream
Makes one incredible cake for the luckiest people
2-1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (330 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 g) Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
1 tablespoon (15 g) baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 g) baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups (360 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
1-1/2 cups (360 mL) strong black coffee, hot
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
What do I do now?
Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans (butter, line bottom with parchment paper, butter paper, dust with flour).
In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar.
Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer). Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. (Batter will be thin.)
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick or skewer comes almost clean (a few crumbs), about 12 more minutes.
Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool. (This recipe is from www.sweetapolita.com)
250 grams good quality butter softened creamed together with icing sugar (sorry I don’t measure) roughly maybe (probably) 2 cups!
1 cup of mixed thawed frozen berries – cream together until light and creamy.
Slice each cake through the centre as evenly as possible and remove the rounded top to make a flat layer. Layer with equal amounts of buttercream. Ice a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake and set in fridge. This allows any crumbs to be caught in the base buttercream. Then evenly, using my trusty cake scrapper thingy I turn the cake as I ice it. Decorate as you wish. I like to fill an ice cream cone with some off cuts of cake or a cupcake. Then using some melted good quality chocolate, drizzle around the cone and edge of cake to make it appear as though it’s a melting ice cream!
Anything else I should know?
Recipe courtesy of Sweetapolita
Cake artistry and baking courtesy of Virginia Carpenter!