Monday 5 May 2014

Black Sesame Elephant Chiffon Cake

A little boy who likes elephants would like an elephant cake for his birthday and I have decided to take on this challenge. This is a trial bake as I have never baked an animal shaped cake that is bigger than cupcakes before. It's Susanne's and my preference to use as little food coloring, sugar and cream as possible for our bakes (unless it's requested, like my matcha azuki birthday cake). It's quite a challenge as most animal shaped cakes you can find are either covered with fondant (pretty but too sweet!) or buttercream. After some thought, I decided to adapt the technique for patterning cakes that we have been using for our bakes to create this cute fella :).

This is a two-layered cake with whip topping in between. I would prefer dairy cream but the boy has some dairy intolerance although he can take a bit of dairy.

Egg yolk batter
5 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
55g canola oil
33g black sesame paste
90g fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 tsp salt
100g cake flour

Meringue for main batter
7 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
80g caster sugar

Meringue for pattern
1 egg white
Pinch of cream of tartar
15g caster sugar

Black pattern
2 tsp egg yolk batter
3/4 tsp cake flour
1/4 tsp charcoal powder
6-8 tbs meringue

White pattern
1 tsp egg yolk batter
1/2 tsp cake flour
White gel food coloring
3-4 tbs meringue

Pink pattern
1 tsp egg yolk batter
1/2 tsp cake flour
White and red/ pink gel food coloring
3-4 tbs meringue

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Place elephant template under silicone sheet and place both in a 10 x 10" tray. Grease the silicone mat with oil to prevent pattern from sticking. Prepare another 6" round tin without greasing but line the bottom with baking sheet. Mine had a removable base so I didn't line it.
3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
4. Whisk in oil, black sesame paste,  milk, vanilla essence and salt in that order until well combined.
5. Sift in cake flour gradually and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.
6. Prepare meringue for pattern. Beat egg white with electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
7. Mix all the ingredients in respective colored pattern batter well. Transfer into piping bag fitted with wilton #3 tip for white and black and wilton #5 tip for pink. Pipe outlines with black batter and bake for 1 minute. Fill in white and pink for the eye, feet and ear of elephant and bake for 2 minutes.

8. Prepare the meringue for main batter in the same way as that of the pattern batter. Fold meringue into egg yolk batter in 3 additions, working quickly but gently. I used hand to fold in the meringue for such a large volume of batter.
9. Bang the bowl on the table to release air bubbles. Slowly pour batter into the two tins to pop anymore air bubbles that are trapped. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
10. Cut the cake around edges of the pans and invert over wire rack to cool. Remove the silicone mat/ baking sheet gently to cool the cake.
11. Carve the shape of the elephant and elephant parts using a serrated knife at right angles to the cake. Stack the cake to align the body parts on a cake board. (Since this is a trial I didn't bother with using a board with the correct size so elephant looks like it's falling off the board :p).
12. Prepare whip topping by whipping it cold until firm peaks form. I chose to stabilize it with gelatin like my previous bake but without sugar added as whip topping is already sweetened. Refrigerate until cream is set.

I still have to fine tune the cake a bit, like finding the optimum baking time but overall quite pleased with how the cake looks. My family helped to sample it and they said it's nice :).

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Tze of Awayofmind Bakery House 

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Hi Phay Shing, this is such a cute elephant cake! Thanks for sharing how it was done, personally I am not good in cake decoration and I think I should take my effort to learn more in this area.

    Thanks for linkup with LTU!

  2. Thanks Tze :). Glad to be able to participate and thanks for hosting! I still have lots to learn since I am still relatively new to baking.

    Love your blog! Bookmarked some of your recipes :).

  3. Hi Phay Shing,

    I like your elephant cake! Very cute!

    You are making feeling ashamed because I bake cakes with fondant and buttercream for children's birthdays... Ops! Ops! Ops! I know that I shouldn't feed the kids so much sugar and fat but these are what they like... eat the fondant and buttercream and chuck away the cakes... *sign*


  4. Hi Zoe,

    Don't feel bad about it! I think fondant and buttercream cakes are really works of art and I seriously don't have the experience or skill to do either. It's just a preference that we have and we do find people who prefer "healthier" cakes. Thanks for your encouragement!

    Learning from you too!

  5. Hi Phay Shing,
    Oh!! This is such a cute fella!
    No fondant and buttercream?? This is really a healthier choice.
    Thanks for sharing your tips on how to make this cute cake.

  6. Hi Mui,

    Thanks for your compliments :)). My friend said the birthday kid wants a pink elephant now hehe so it will end up even healthier as I have to change cake flavor and add a variety of fresh fruits to sandwich between the cake layers. Do checkout our blog for the final version of the elephant birthday cake in first week of june!

    Thanks for being so encouraging!