Another year, another birthday, another cake; and yes, like most years, this year too I baked my own birthday cake. I figure it just makes sense you know, you’re sure there’ll be cake on your birthday (very important), then you get to choose exactly the kind of cake you want, and then the fun part, you get to control what goes into it and how it’s made!
Chocolate and alcohol are my absolute favourite flavours for a cake so this time around I decided on a mojito cake with white chocolate. If I were to drink a cocktail, mojito is probably one that I would have without thinking twice; not saying it’s my favourite, but it’s fresh, not too strong and requires three simple ingredients, it’s just easy on the palette and to make as well. Mojito flavours are so easily identifiable too, mint, lime and white rum; and I wanted plenty of both in my cake so I tried to infuse mint every chance I got, the buttermilk and the rum used in the cake are both infused with mint and ofcourse there’s lime juice and zest. Then the cake gets brushed with simple syrup infused with more mint and a little rum and finally the frosting, flavoured with lots of lime juice, white chocolate and some more rum giving the entire cake a distinct mojito flavour.
I loved my birthday cake and since it was a Saturday, we spent the day eating and drinking. The surprise element of my day was a lovely cake and some beautiful flowers sent by my sister all the way from the other side of the world, thank you Pink; so I had a cake that I baked and one that I didn’t, everyone should have more than one cake on their birthday, right?! Ok so the recipe, don’t let the list of ingredients scare you, the process is simple enough and so worth it. Also, whenever you’re making layer cakes, try to divide the work; bake the cakes a day in advance, the frosting can be made 3-4 days in advance and you just assemble everything on the day of. This keeps you from getting over whelmed and also it doesn’t seem like a lot of work, so work smart and definitely try this cake.
For the cake
- All purpose flour- 2 ¼ cups
- Unsalted butter- 200 grams (softened)
- Sugar- 1 cup
- Eggs- 3
- White chocolate- 100 grams (melted)
- Baking powder- 1 ¼ tsp
- Baking soda- ½ tsp
- Salt- ¼ tsp
- Milk- ½ cup
- Vinegar- 1 ½ tsp
- White rum- 1 cup
- Lime juice- 2 tbsp
- Lime zest- 1 tbsp
- Mint leaves- a small bunch
For the Mojito Syrup
- Sugar- ½ cup
- Water- ½ cup
- Mint leaves- ¼ cup
- White rum- 2-3 tsp
For the Frosting
- Unsalted butter- 225 grams (softened)
- Powdered sugar/ icing sugar- 2 ¼ cups
- White chocolate- 50 grams (melted)
- Lime juice- 3-4 tsp
- White rum- 2-3 tsp
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line with parchment paper two round 7 inch cake tins.
- Add vinegar to the milk and let sit 2-3 minutes to curdle and turn into buttermilk. Heat the buttermilk (do not let it simmer), it should just be heated through; take it off the heat, add about 1/3 cup mint leaves, cover tightly and set aside to infuse. Similarly add about 1/3 cup mint leaves to the rum, cover tightly and set aside to steep. After 10-15 minutes, strain the rum and discard the mint leaves. Strain the milk, pressing down on the milk solids and mint to extract maximum liquid and flavour, discard the mint leaves. The buttermilk might look curdled, that’s ok.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer,
- Add the butter and sugar, beat till light and fluffy
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Add the white chocolate and beat to combine
- Add the flour mix, rum and buttermilk, mix well
- Add the lime juice and zest and mix everything together
- Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the baked cakes rest for 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
- For the mojito syrup– Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan; heat, stirring till the sugar dissolves. Let it boil for a minute then take it off the heat, add the mint leaves and the rum, cover and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain before using.
For the Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, add the butter and beat till smooth, slowly add the powdered sugar and beat well. Then add the white chocolate and beat to combine. Add the lime juice and rum and mix well.
- To assemble- Cut each of the cooled cakes lengthwise to get four equal layers, or you could keep the cakes intact and make a double layered cake instead of four layers. Brush the first layer of cake with the mojito syrup then spread the frosting, place the next layer of cake on top and repeat till all fours layers are frosted. Frost the top and sides of the cake and garnish with lime slices and zest.
- You could use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar but I never have buttermilk just lying around so vinegar in milk is simpler.
- White chocolate can be especially temperamental so make sure you melt it gently over low heat either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
- The cakes can be made a day or two in advance. Wrap the cooled cakes tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- The frosting too can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator. Let the thaw at room temperature; before using, whip it again to make it nice and fluffy.
- Use any white rum you like, I used Bacardi simply because that’s what I had on hand.
- The frosting should be of a thick but easily spreadable consistency; add more icing sugar if it’s runny.