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Chocolate Cake – First Birthday Jungle Cake

jungle cake1

Ishaan turned one recently. I have been so humbled to see many of you sent best wishes to him. Thank you. So I thought I should update about his birthday party.

We started planning for the party about 2 months ago. Every weekend we would go and buy supplies for the big day. We checked out couple of party halls and finally decided and booked one. As most of you guessed, I was practicing cake. I spent hours deciding on which cake I should make. I baked so many different cakes. I visited local library looking for books, googled for hours, changed plans a number of times. I also bugged my friends many times asking for ideas about the cake/party. We finally decided to keep it simple and have a snack party from 4-6PM. That timing was best suited for all the kids we know as it was not nap/food time for any of them. We kept the food very simple – ordered pizzas, samosas and cutlets from outside. We also bought some chips and soda.

Then the next thing was to decide on a theme. Ishaan does not have any favorite toys as such. So picking a theme was a bit hard. We visited the store party city and decided on a jungle theme as he had many toys, blankets etc on that theme. So we bought all the decorating supplies, plates, goodie bags for kids etc. That also meant the cake would be in jungle theme.

first birthday

I wanted the cake to be entirely edible. I also wanted some animal figures on the cake. So I had two options – either make them with fondant (which would make very good looking animals but it tastes awful) or marzipan (the finishing won’t be same as fondant but tastes great). After consulting some of my friends, I decided to go with marzipan(I used store bought marzipan this time). I wanted to practice a lot before the big day, but I hardly got any time to do that. I made all these animals 5 days in advance and refrigerated.

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I also baked some coconut cookies and filled up take out bags, as a Thank You take home gift for all my guests (We had about 18 families). These were done on the day of party itself, although I made many different batches of it earlier to arrive at the best tasting ones.

I chose a chocolate cake. I must have atleast baked it 4 times before the big day. Every time I modified it a bit. I am so happy that the final cake turned out awesome. That became pretty much the highlight of the party. I admit, I had few breakdowns while working on it. I think the top layer of the cake could have been much much better. I did lot of mistakes there. At one point, I even told V that we will order a new cake from outside and I am going to throw this away. Like always, he gave me a lot of support and encouragement. The cake took a lot more effort and time than I had expected. But I am so glad that I could do this.

Since this was the first ever party we arranged, it was a lot more stressful than we anticipated. I am sure next year we can make it better. I am grateful to some of my friends who helped us in every way. They brought us dinner so that we could get all the preparations done, helped us with decorations, took care of food and everything else. I am so grateful to each one of the friends who helped us. It was such a memorable day. The only thing I missed terribly was the presence of my parents. Due to some unavoidable conditions, they could not come here.

Some of my friends wanted to know about this cake. So I thought of posting the recipe that I followed.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour (take out 3tbl spns of flour from it)
3 tbl spn of corn starch
4oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tea spn vanilla
1 tea spn baking powder
1 tea spn baking soda
2 tbl spn water
1 cup sugar
4 eggs separated

Method:
Preheat the oven at 325F for 10mins.
Stir together chocolate, 1/2 cup sugar and milk in top of double boiler. I just took some water in a vessel, brought it to boil, kept a glass bowl with chocolate, milk, sugar. On a low heat, let the water boil. Kept stirring the chocolate mixture. When all the chocolate melts, add butter and mix. Take it off the heat, add vanilla, mix. Let it cool to room temperature.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks form and keep it aside.
Sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda.
In another bowl, beat together egg yolks, water and 1/2 cup sugar until thick. Now alternatively add flour mixture and chocolate mixture, a small quantity at a time, beating all the time (if using a electric mixer, do this on lowest speed).
Fold in the egg whites. Pour the mixture in greased baking dishes.
Bake in the oven at 325F for about 40mins (or till done).

Chocolate frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
6tbl spn milk
1 tea spn vanilla
4 cups(approx 1lb) confectioners’ sugar

Method:
Combine butter, cocoa, milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and take off from heat. Add vanilla, sugar, beating continuously till it holds a peak.

Notes – Instead of using all purpose flour and corn starch, directly use 1 and 1/2 cups cake flour.
Sifting the flour is pretty important as it incorporates air into it and so the cake becomes soft.
While beating the egg whites, make sure to use a very clean bowl and clean beaters.
While folding egg whites, do it very slowly making sure not to deflate all the air.
It your cake rises in the center, that means your oven is getting way too hot (I learnt this after first couple of attempts and googling about it). So next time, reduce the temperature a little and try.
After you fill the baking dish with batter, drop the pan on a kitchen counter couple of times. This evens out the batter and also removes any air bubbles.

Putting together(these steps are optional):
After the cake was cooled to room temperature, I cup of little bit of the top to even it out. Then cut the cake horizontally in two pieces. Brush both the halves with sugar syrup (heat 1/4 cup water with 2 tbl spn sugar till sugar melts). Then spread a thick layer of whipped cream on one half, followed by chocolate frosting. Then spread some chopped strawberries on top. On the other half, spread a thick layer of whipped cream. Slowly keep this half on the one with strawberries, whipped cream layer down.
Now decorate it as required. I frosted the cake with whipped cream (added some cake color to it). Then used chocolate frosting and butter cream icing (store bought) for decorations. Made the animals with store bought marzipan(here is a recipe if needed).
I basically tripled the above amount. Added 2 parts in one bigger pan and 1 part in smaller pan.

jungle cake1

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{ 62 comments… add one }

  • Varsha April 26, 2011, 10:50 pm

    Very well done Shilpa!!!! I must appriciate your efforts. You have lots of patience. Happy belated birthday to Ishaan. God bless him.

  • sowmya April 27, 2011, 12:26 am

    Super fantastic cake….baking a cake for our kids birthday gives us immense satisfaction and lot of appreciations from the guests..people do prefer homemade cakes than the store bought ones…am doing it too for my son’s last two birthdays..

  • nirupamasundar April 27, 2011, 12:45 am

    Accept my Birthday wishes to Ishaan, shilpa. Nothing like making ur own stuff for celebrations. PL ask Varada aunty to post a few more authentic vegetable preparations.

    • Shilpa April 27, 2011, 9:02 am

      Sorry Nirupama. Aayi is taking a break. There is too much on her plates to manage right now :(. I miss her posts, but I don’t want more work for her. Now that the big birthday celebration is done, I will try my best to post other recipes soon.

  • Ruby April 27, 2011, 12:56 am

    Hi,

    Belated birthday to Ishaan….so much of love showered thorough the cake..
    I dnt have an Oven at home is there any other way to bake cake on Gas stove..?

    • Shilpa April 27, 2011, 9:01 am

      You could make it in a cooker. Add some sand in the bottom of the cooker and keep the vessel with batter on top. Close the lid (do not use whistle). I don’t have a idea as to how much time it will take. So you need to do some trial and error there.

  • Kalyani Wakkar April 27, 2011, 2:49 am

    WOW! This is so so amazingly cute and delicious! The animals have come out really nice. Belated Birthday wishes to Ishaan :-) Hope he and his friends had fun! :-))

  • Lavina Picardo April 27, 2011, 5:51 am

    Just loved to see that tiny animals on the cake….very beautiful cake……

  • jayashree April 27, 2011, 6:11 am

    WOW ! Truly talented. The frosting is just awesome.

  • Nupur April 27, 2011, 6:18 am

    Shilpa, you did such a terrific job! The marzipan animals are simply adorable. I can see how much love and care went into this cake.

  • Veena April 27, 2011, 6:34 am

    Ishaan is one lucky boy to have a mom like you!!! Best wishes to you and Ishaan

  • Ananya April 27, 2011, 7:18 am

    Happy first birthday to Ishaan….Shipla, you are just amazing…The marzipan animals are cute….

  • Anjali April 27, 2011, 8:03 am

    Wow its a lovely cake! Belated Happy birthday to Ishaan.

  • Mufs April 27, 2011, 8:23 am

    Beauuuuuutiful cake!!! And the anals are just sooooooo damn cute!! How did ur guests have the heart to eat them ? They shoulda been framed Lol :)
    I normally dont comment , but I love all that u have created thus far and this takes the cake ;)

    Ps please don’t post my previous comment as I have made a very bad typo!!!

  • Suman Singh April 27, 2011, 9:12 am

    You are so creative..what gorgeous cake..Love the presentation & the photographs…superb!
    In between, Happy birthday to Ishaan..God bless him!

  • norma April 27, 2011, 9:19 am

    Such a beauty of a cake. The love shines through!

  • Preeti April 27, 2011, 10:29 am

    Very well done!! I have been your silent admirer and started my blog last year. Your cake surely has turned out fantastic!! Wishing Ishaan a belated birthday wish and many more to come as well.

  • Manjula April 27, 2011, 10:41 am

    Hats off to you Shilpa.. that cake is awesome. The animals are on the cake are very cute and adorable. Love the baby elephant. I don’t think you could have found anything pretty and full of love in a store bought.
    Happy Birthday to Ishaan.

  • Viswa April 27, 2011, 11:21 am

    Wow you are incredibly talented.

  • Munni April 27, 2011, 11:53 am

    Belated birthday wishes for the little one. Awesome job Shilpa.
    Thank God for such good friends.
    Very inspiring! !!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Anita April 27, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday to Ishaan…………………………Love your cake , the colour scheme and the animals are very well done, superb detailing!! the love and effort taken is so obvious :))

  • nikita April 27, 2011, 12:25 pm

    great work!! that is the best cake ishaan could have asked for! i just had a question. how many days before the birthday did you make the cake? basically, how long will the cake stay good as the decoration take a lot of time

    • Shilpa April 27, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Nikita, I made this previous day. I usually keep the cakes for 3 days max (I think they can last much longer, but i never tried). In my opinion fresh ones tastes/feel much better.

  • Archana April 27, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Belated wishes to Ishan. Lovely cake and I admire your patience making this.

  • K April 27, 2011, 1:15 pm

    Amazing Cake Shilpa… Many more happy returns of day to Ishaan. The fun times begins now with walking, running and talking. Enjoy these precious time. Do you get Marzipan in local grocery stores? I have been buying cakes for my son at a local bakery for the last 2 bdays and I am determined to bake one for his 3rd bday.

    Also, Do you have any book recommendation that teaches to make the figures?

    oh and advance bday wishes to you too (I think you mentioned your bday also falls in April)

    • Shilpa April 27, 2011, 5:13 pm

      K,I got it at Whole Foods Market. I just googled for “marzipan animals video” and checked out a couple of them, i did not find any books on the same. You can see any books for cake decorating, usually they will have fondant figures explained. You just have to use marzipan in place of fondant if you wish. Btw, the professional bakers use fondant for all figures, you can do that too. I was very particular about marzipan, so i used this. Let me know if you have any more specific questions and I will try to help whatever I can. Thanks a lot for the wishes.

  • Usha April 27, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Cake is amazing !! Hats off to you for all your efforts. Love your patience .

  • Priyanka April 27, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Happy Birthday to Ishaan!
    The cake looks delicious. I am particularly impressed by the marzipan animals.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, and your experience. It was a pleasure to read it.

  • Hema April 27, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Job well done Shilpa. I just love the way you turn the things. You have lot of patience. Many qualties to learn from you. Cake looks awesome.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ISHAAN

  • sumi April 27, 2011, 6:34 pm

    The cake has turned out beautifully…I know baking and decorating the cake is quite stressfull, but its all worth the effort to see the twinkle in the litttle ones eyes…love the marzipan animals

  • Aparna Mallya April 27, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Awesome cake Shilpa! You did put a lot of effort into making this and it shows.

    During my son’s first b’day I made a simple chocolate cake and will you believe this – that was the first time I tried that particular recipe. I took a big gamble and luckily it paid off.

  • Bindu April 28, 2011, 12:29 am

    hi shilpa,

    Here’s wishing Ishaan a very Happy Birthday. May God bless him with all the happiness in the World!
    Awesome cake you’ve baked for him. It is definitely worth all the hardwork and love that you have put it. I am missing the step-by-step pictures of the cake though. anyway do understand u were too busy that day…

    Cheers…

    • Shilpa April 28, 2011, 11:29 am

      Sorry Bindu. I thought of taking step by step pictures, but there was so much to do that day and I just could not manage. I do have some pictures of this chocolate cake, from my earlier attempts (without the strawberry filling part, which I did only for this final version). I will find them and post them soon

    • Bindu April 29, 2011, 1:43 am

      thanks… it will definitely be useful.
      And if possible a pic of Ishaan too….. ;-)

  • Aishwarya Shanbhag April 28, 2011, 12:49 am

    A belated Happy Birthday to V, Ishan and to you Shilpa.
    A WOW mom Ishan has. The cake looks yummy. The decorations perfect for the occassion. Hats off to your zest and perfection in creating a marvel.

  • sabilah April 28, 2011, 1:45 am

    Hi ishaaan

    hope you enjoyed your 1st birthday . Your cake was very beautiful and i guess you received plenty of gifts on this occasion.

  • Vinita April 28, 2011, 3:46 am

    Its such a lovely cake! Many wishes to proud parents and the baby!

  • Sailaja April 28, 2011, 5:15 am

    Awesome, Shilpa. Belated birthday wishes to the lil Ishaan!

  • sabitha shenoy April 28, 2011, 6:07 am

    Belated birthday wishes to Ishaan. God bless him.
    The cake looks beautiful and I specially liked the expression on the face of the animals. You have done it very well. Hats off to you. Keep up the good work. I am sure you will manage everything very well for Ishaan’s 2nd birthday.

  • Christine April 28, 2011, 10:25 am

    Shilpa, I was moved by your huge effort to give your little son the best party possible. Your cake is beautiful, I’m sure it was delicious as well. What I love most is your jungle animals crafted from marzipan.

    I was born in Bangalore and spent my early years there. My family is from Goa. Although I have been living in Canada for more than 40 years, my love of the Konkan coast and everything from there remains strong. I check your recipes regularly and enjoy reading about your culinary experiments and trying them out myself. Thank you for sharing.

    Happy birthday to Ishaan and blessings to his parents.

  • suman April 28, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Happy birthday to ishaan.You are amazingly creative.keep it up.

  • Madhuli April 28, 2011, 11:58 pm

    Belated wishes to little Ishaan.God bless him. Love the cake. Special wishes to the special mother too!

  • Ruby April 29, 2011, 6:56 am

    Thanks for the reply..i will be trying it tmrw and will let u know…can u just let me know how didu make these animals u said that u refrigerated it…they are very cute..

    • Shilpa April 29, 2011, 9:47 am

      Those were made from marzipan. You can buy from outside(it is available in Whole Foods Market if you are in US) or make at home(I have given a link in above post). I just googled for “marzipan animals video” and checked out a couple of them, i did not find any books on the same.

  • BongMom April 29, 2011, 8:27 am

    Dear Shilpa, loads of love and wishes for the birthday boy. One, already huh ? The cake is beautiful and those animals look so cute

  • preenu April 29, 2011, 11:03 am

    Hi Shilpa,
    If you want the finish of fondant but with something that tastes good, another option is to use modelling chocolate. You can buy it ready made or it can be easily made at home and colored as you wish. http://sugarsweetcakesandtreats.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-make-modeling-chocolate.html

  • Snehal April 29, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Fabulous! The detailing on the animals is amazing. Lots of wishes to your boy!

  • Geetha April 30, 2011, 1:07 am

    Belated birthday wishes to Ishaan!! May he be blessed with all the joy, happiness n everything he wishes for!! The cake looks awesome and all your hard work has paid off!! Ishaan will be so happy to see his first birthday cake to be so wonderful and amazing!!

  • prathima baleri April 30, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Wow! Shilpa…you are a perfect MOM.
    Wish Little Ishaan on our behalf.The cake looks puuurfect..Animal Kingdom

  • Shilpa C May 2, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Hi,
    Belated b’day wish to ur son Ishaan!

    By the way, i’m to shilpa loves going thru the receipes site and expiermenting too :-)) and with gr888888888t coincidence my Son name to Ishaan (just completed 5yrs).

    Good site ,All the best.

  • Deepa May 20, 2011, 2:02 am

    Beautiful cake! Belated Happy birthday to Ishaan!!

  • Vijayalaxmi Baruah May 25, 2011, 4:11 am

    Hi Shilpa, The cake looks real yummyyyyyyy!!!!!!!! I have been a silent visitor to you site and i must say efforts are commendable. Makes me feel very happy to see your recipes and especially the way you elaborate on the cooking procedure.. Great job ..

  • reshmi May 28, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Hi Shilpa
    The cake looks so tempting…I appreciate your patience and effort.
    I jst want to know one thng….can we do the same in microwave….am too scared to try in it.
    pls advise.

  • Suman June 21, 2011, 7:59 am

    Hi Shilpa, What an amazing cake!!!! and the jungle theme is superb.
    I ‘m tempted to try it. Sorry if its a dumb question: What exactly does folding the egg whites means? I thought its just to mix the beaten egg whites until i read the sentence down”While folding egg whites, do it very slowly making sure not to deflate all the air.”

  • Krithika August 5, 2011, 3:52 pm

    Shilpa – What brand of store brand icing did you buy? Can you please share?

    • Shilpa August 8, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Wilton’s buttercream icing

  • Sudha August 19, 2011, 2:57 pm

    What an amazing cake. Love it!
    How did you assemble 2 tier cake? I tried once and was not successful.Is it just putting one on the other?
    Please advise.

    • Shilpa August 20, 2011, 9:00 am

      Yes, just keeping on top of another

  • Telma April 9, 2012, 6:52 am

    Can you please share how did you do the Chocolate frosting and the whipped cream icing with green and brown colour at the ends of the cake. Your simple cake recipe is too good and liked by all.

  • nara June 12, 2012, 5:27 am

    when I use the cake flour shd I still use the baking soda and powder.Thanks

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