Friday, 15th November 2013 marked by son's 12th birthday! It also marked his last day in primary school and coincided with his School's Prize Giving Day. So indeed it was going to be a busy day indeed!
Both The Lovely Wife and I had taken the day off and my son had asked that we celebrate his birhtday that night with the family as he wanted to have a party for his friends the next day, being a Saturday and all.
He also wanted a cake to cut with the family on his birthday dinner but being a big boy now, he didnt want to cut a cake with his friends for his party. He also specifically asked for "Something nice Dads, something with Chocolate". When pushed as to what cake he wanted, he smiled and said "Surprise me!"
So anyway, as per usual practice, we woke him up on the morning of his birthday after hiding his presents under his bed. He had had his eyes on a pair of Nike sports shoes but being the good boy that he is, he remarked that they were way too expensive. To put things in context and perspective, the week leading up to his birthday had been immensely busy. On Tuesday, 12th November, he sat for his Grade 3 Drum Exams. Then on Thursday, he got his UPSR results. (UPSR is the Standard Six government exams) He did extremely well and obtained the maximum 5A's!
So, in recognition of his good results and his birthday, TLW and I decided to splurge and get him the pair of Nike Air Max shoes that he had his eyes on! Boy was he happy! He also got a Lego Technic set, a Lego mini figure from his sister and a Crayola Secret Message Pen set. I also got him a Dinosaur skeleton mini kit akin to a lego mini figure just for kicks since he has always loved dinosaurs! The dino skeleton was pretty crappy though but Michael did like the thought nonetheless.
So, presents opened, hugs and kisses all round, shower and change and I took them to school for the Prize Giving Day while TLW went to pick up both Grandma's as well as a shoulder of Pork I was supposed to roast later for dinner.
Prize Giving Day was really special with Michael winning a number of awards while Sarah got some awards for her class as well. It was a fitting finale to his 6 years of primary school and we are all very proud of all he achieved! After Prize Giving Day we returned home and I started on the Roast Pork - a 3.5kg shoulder that took almost 6 hours to roast!
The Lovely Wife made a batch of her BBQ Chicken salad and I also made applesauce to go with the Roast Pork as well as some roasted potatoes. My mom-in-law made her famous fried prawns so there was quite a feast!
Dinner was attended by my my parents, TLW's mom, brother and family as well as Michael's Godpa. My elder brother was overseas while brother number 2 had some other function on while Michael's Godma was On Duty at the hospital.
The Roast Pork was a hit as usual as was the apple sauce! In fact, all the food was a big hit and everyone enjoyed the meal. As for the cake, this is the first time any birthday cake has been completely devoured in one sitting! There was none left over and I didnt even have a chance to take a nice plated picture.
I had made the cake the previous night and only finished at 2am as I ran into a few problems with the caramel mousse. I rushed it a bit and didnt chill it enough and so the cream separated. I made another batch but again, since it was late, I didnt have time to cool it sufficiently and so it didnt whip up as much as I would have liked it too. Or maybe my method was just lousy....
The cake was a Chocolate Genoese sponge, sandwiched with a layer of dark chocolate mousse and covered with Coffee Caramel Mousse and finished off with chocolate curls. For a fancy name, I decided to call it a Caramel Machiato Chocolate Mousse Cake. This is what I did with some corrections in hindsight :)
Chocolate Genoese Sponge
(Recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection- Chocolate)
100g caster sugar
80g plain flour
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder
20g butter, melted
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and lightly flour a 20cm round cake tin.
Put eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Half fill a saucepan with water and heat till just steaming. Remove from heat and place the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Using electric beaters, beat for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy, has doubled in volume and leaves a trail as it falls from the beaters. The mixture should never be hot, only warm. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to beat till cold.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and using a large metal spoon, carefully fold into the whisked mixture. Stop folding as soon as the flour and cocoa are just combined or the mixture will lost its volume.
Gently but quickly fold in the warm butter. Pour mixture into the tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until springy to the light touch of a finger and shrinking from the sides of the tin. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Caramel Coffee Mousse
4 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Water
1 tsp instant coffee
1 knob butter
300 ml cream
Cook the sugar in the water until it turns amber. Take off heat and add in the butter, mixing well. Add in the teaspoon of instant coffee and 100ml of the cream. Return to the heat and stir till caramel and coffee is dissolved completely. Allow to cool and then place in fridge for about an hour or till thick. Beat caramel mixture till thick. Whisk remaining cream till soft peaks form. Slowly whisk together the caramel mixture into the cream.
300 ml cream
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 Tbsp water
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler then remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Stir gelatin powder with 1 Tbsp water over a pan of simmering water till dissolved. Add in honey and add this mixture to the chocolate. Stir well to combine. Whisk cream until soft peaks form then fold into the chocolate mixture.
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup water
Melt Sugar in water. allow to cool
Cut cake into two layers. Place one layer back in springform pan. Soak with half the sugar syrup. Cover with the chocolate mousse. Place second layer on top and press down lightly and make sure it is level. Soak with remainder or syrup. Cover with Caramel Coffee Mousse. Place in fridge and allow to set overnight. Cover with chocolate curls before serving.
I had bought some chocolate curls from a baking shop and I put it in the fridge. I shouldnt have done that as the chocolate bloomed and turned a little whitish from its dark brown, almost black appearance. Even so, the chocolate curls still tasted okay although it didnt look as good as it should have
Michael's verdict was that the cake was really nice but he said he preferred last years cake. Still, he had 3 pieces anyway! TLW liked the fact that it was light but at the same time very tasty. In fact, most people had more than one slice! Only problem with the cake finishing was that there was none the next day....
I personally think last years cake was more decadent but this was really yummy too but in a different kind of way. The flavours melded really nicely and it was really a cake you could just eat and eat.
So another succesful birthday dinner and the next day was a fun day with 20 boys going bowling and then coming home for a feast of sausage rolls, fried chicken, pasta bake, fried noodles, fried oyster mushrooms and then capped off with Brownies and Ice Cream!
Happy 12th Birthday Michael!!