Wednesday 3 August 2011

Hummingbird Brooklyn Blackout Cake and the Class of 2011

Hummingbird Brooklyn Blackout Cake is perfect if you want to make a chocolate celebration cake.  It’s a moist cake, baked in three separate layers and then sandwiched together with luscious eggless chocolate custard that looks lovely and glossy, a little bit like a ganache, but without all the rich cream.  Once constructed, you decorate with even more of the custard and a sprinkling of chocolate cake crumbs…mmm…

I made one for H’s graduation last week and was really pleased with the results.  As you may have realised by now I’m not the best cake decorator…I know I should take more time and effort but food is more about taste for me…so I didn’t even attempt to make the decorations, especially when we have the most amazing shop in the covered market that makes awesome decorations…so I ordered a little mortar board, scroll and girl pirate, (because I thought H would appreciated the humour) with the obligatory sparkler it was ready for the celebrations.

You can find the instructions here if you would like to have a go for yourself, or page 54 of The Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook. They are very easy to follow.  I only have a couple of recommendations and that is to ensure that you use the correct size baking pans as the ingredients make three very thin cakes and if you used any larger they would be so thin that they would be difficult to work with.  The custard is easy to make but does require a lot of vigorous whisking and when I next make this… which I’m sure I soon will;I’ll use an electric whisk to ensure any lumps are removed more easily.

After a panicky week helping H move out of her old student house, then looking after 'A' who was really ill but thankfully ok for the graduation, then help moving her into a new house...the celebration in-between was a welcome break.   Especially as although H studied in London, the graduation was held in the impressive Guildford Cathedral. It's only fifty years old, and so new in cathedral terms and situated in the grounds of Surrey University, where one of my sisters works.  So, kind sister, arranged for a celebration party at her home in Sussex afterwards...and an amazing two days. 

Gloriously sunny, first the formal bit even more emotive for the grand setting, being congratulated by the chancellor, children's author Jacqueline Wilson, the throwing off, of hats (I nearly wrote 'throwing-up' then), photo's and champagne and canapes.....back to sister B's sunny garden for the five of us that had been to the actual celebration.  Lunch and board games whilst waiting for absent friends and family members, then party...accompanied by the most delicious fruit and cream Pavlova courtesy B and lots of other yummy food and more champagne...

Evening constitutional to walk off all that cake and meet the local horses and llamas in a field across the road...then back to candlelit garden to listen to music and talk until we all exhaustedly dropped into our beds.

...then the best breakfast in the world...mostly because of the company....

...thanks B and M for an awesome time...must get that Pavlova recipe off you...

Oh and congratulations H...well done you...!


  1. Congratulations Hannah! And to her clever mother who made the cake (among other things!) I've often looked at that recipe and thought, mmm, too hard! Perhaps I'll save it up for when my daughter graduates (in about 20 years!)

  2. Thanks's actually much easier than I thought it would be, the instructions are really's just a bit time consuming making the custard. I made it well in advance just incase...I was keeping in mind the really quick lemon one that you made if it didn't work out...I definitely recommend it for your daughter's graduation...!

  3. Wow, that cake looks and sounds amazing!! What a happy celebration it must have been ... I love gatherings that stretch across days and different levels of formality. Such a joy! :)

  4. Brooklyn Blackout Cake is luscious Tracey and It was great fun...both parts in their own ways...a memorable time...

  5. Congratulations Hannah! What a fabulous celebration. Hannah must have been so thrilled to have so many people making such a fuss of her. Your cake looks wonderful Deb and I quite agree with you about buying the decorations. I'd much rather put all my efforts into the actual cake.

    That pavlova looks pretty amazing too - no Aussie celebration would ever be complete without it!

  6. WoW - Hannah is such a lucky girl and well done to her! Sounds like you had a glorious time celebrating with family.

  7. Thanks Caz and Rel for your kind congratulations...I'll pass them on.

    I'm really proud of Hannah because she had a bad start. In the first term of the first year one of her dorm mates in the halls of residence collapsed and died after a game of football. He was such a lovely guy, so full of life and very caring, it was a real shock to everyone. Over subsequent months and years other friends and house mates stopped attending lecture and eventually dropped out of the course... but she kept soldiering on and did really well for she really deserved her celebration...

  8. Oh that is very sad about her dorm mate and how it affected other members of her group. Sounds like H has some inner strength that will serve her well in the world.