** Edited to add the photos Blogger wouldn't let me put in yesterday!
We celebrated my Dad's birthday today with a picnic lunch, mostly comprised of Christmas leftovers, at one of the local popular picnic spots. The kids enjoyed a swim with their Pop, we all tucked into yet more food and we even had a bit of excitement after lunch. We could see smoke not too far away and were trying to work out where the fire was when water-bomber helicopters flew in to fill their tanks at the lake. They refilled several times while we were there and the kids' eyes just about popped out of their heads.
But, back to the birthday celebrations. I offered to make the birthday cake and turned to one of the Bill Granger cookbooks I received for Christmas. It seemed only fitting that I should use a gift from my parents to make Dad's cake! This was delicious... rich, moist, fabulous and could well become THE cake for birthdays. I even made a teensy mistake and forgot the final 1/4 cup of flour - I had to cook the cake a little longer but it turned out beautifully. Be sure and make the frosting; it's this that makes a good chocolate cake a stand-out.
Easy-mix Chocolate Cake With Real Chocolate Frosting
from Bill Granger's Simply Bill
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
50g cocoa powder
1 cup caster sugar
250g very soft butter
2/3 cup milk
300g dark chocolate (I used milk chocolate), broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups sour cream
bright sweets (candies) and candles (I used M&M's)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa and sugar into a large bowl and stir together. Add the butter, eggs and milk and mix with electric beaters on low speak for 1 - 2 minutes until smooth.
Spoon into two greased and lined 20cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool.
Once the cakes are cool, prepare the frosting. Put the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and heat very slowly until the chocolate has just melted, being careful not to let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 15 minutes, before whisking int he sour cream. Use a spatula to spread a third of the frosting over one cake and sandwich with the other. Spread the rest of the frosting over the side and top of the cake. Decorate with sweets and candles if you're celebrating a birthday!