Connor's Birthday Cake

Being a Granny to a 2 year old has certain duties attached to it... one of them being the making of a birthday cake! I love birthday cakes, especially those that don’t come from some shop but are home-made. So there I was last week with the task to produce a “beach cake”.. as Connor and family live next to the beach it was definitely the way to go. I am fortunate enough to live in Cape Town where we have a shop that just does baking stuff and equipment ! ( Baking Tin in Claremont). Having scoured the shop for anything beachy I started the elimination of my chocolate recipes in the many books lining my shelves and decided on the absolute yummiest one I could find which is David Lebowitz . This recipe comes out of his wonderful book called “The Sweet Life in Paris” and can be bought here from

For the beach cake:

250 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate ( I used half & half)
8 tbsp ( 120 g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup ( 65 g) sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature separated
2 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Butter a 23 cm loaf pan and line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper.

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter together until just melted and smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in half the sugar, then the egg yolks and flour.

Whip the egg whites until the start forming little peaks and then add the remaining sugar until the whites are smooth and hold their shape when lifted.

Use a rubber spatula to fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the rest until there are no white streaks left.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes, just until the cake feels slightly firm in the centre.

Let the cake stand a bit before removing from the tin.

For the Jelly sea:

For the mould I used a metal cassata loaf pan and lined it tightly with alu foil.
I mixed 3 packets of green jelly powder with a bit of blue food colouring and let this set in loaf pan. ( in the freezer for about 15 minutes) . Once the top was firm to the touch, I scattered a few blue sugar fish (from the baking department of the Spar) and then made another lot of blue jelly to fill up to the top. This lot was then left to harden overnight.

In the meantime I also had to organise a few sailing boats as any good looking sea also needs to have a couple of boats floating about !!!
Take 2 Minolas, half them, scoop out the flesh, fill with red jelly, prop into muffin pans in order to avoid spillage and then wait till jelly is fixed..:)
With a sharp knife (ie the new one from Wuesthof from the FBI11) slice through the middle and then attach paper squares to toothpicks as sails . I copy and pasted a bunch of little photos of Connor into Word tables and cut them to size.

Just one more tip: Prepare the cake mix individually ! It will flop horribly if you multiply the recipe !



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