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  • Writer's pictureNava

Happy birthday Steve

I have three siblings, Sara who is the oldest, Anat the youngest sister, and the baby boy of the Barel Bunch, is our brother Eli. We are all uber close, and at times a little too much so which can drive one to therapy, but that’s a whole different cake batter . What does that have to do with making a cake for Steven you ask? And who is he anyway? Well he’s Anat’s husband. As to the relevance of the preamble, the following conversation will explain... Me and my brother, Eli Nava: “Hey Eli, would you like me to make you a birthday cake?” Eli: “If you want to, sure” Nava: “What cake do you want” Eli: “Don’t really care, whatever you want” Nava: “Okay, see you on your birthday” Me and Sara Nava: “Hey Sara would you like me to make a cake for your birthday?” Sara : “Only if you want to” Nava: “I want to” Sara: “Are you sure?” Nava: “Yes I’m sure. I LOVE baking, especially for my family.” Sara: “Okay, but I don’t want you to work hard, so just make something very simple” Nava: “How about a simple pretty cake” Sara: “Okay, but I don’t want you to work hard, you work so hard its killing me. I can’t breath…” Nava: “Sara, I like doing it, it gives me pleasure.” Sara: “Okay, then sure, I understand, but I don’t want you to work too hard. So just flour and water and maybe … some sugar and only if it takes no time at all, because it’s hard work and you already work hard enough” Nava: “How many times do I have to say, it’s not hard work and it makes me happy?” Sara: “Okay, I get it I get it, really … but like I said keep it simple maybe just water and sugar and no flour can you work with that? Maybe leave out the sugar to because I think I’m putting on weight. On second thought, I’ll just buy one and you relax…” My younger sister Anat Anat: “Can you make Steve’s 50th birthday cake” Nava: “Sure” Anat: “Good! Because I know what I want” Nava: “Great, what is it?” Anat: I want a drip cake but a spectacular one, because it’s Steves 50th, so it has to be SUPER SPECIAL. And I want butter icing, not the usual chantilly cream you use, I want a chocolate cake with chocolate flavoured butter icing. I want it smooth. It has to be narrow and tall with Ferraro Roche and strawberries dipped in chocolate on top. I’m not too fussed if the cake doesn’t taste amazing as long as you make it look SPECTACULAR. Nava: “But I’ve never made a drip cake before, not sure I can do it...” Anat: “You’ll be right. You can do it, love you, darling. Bye” Nava: “Ummmm, bye.” Dearest, Steve, the cake. I can’t say I tailored this cake to your personality as it was made under order of your SPECTACUAR wife. But she knows you better than you know yourself, I suspect and on reflection it seems to me it does relate to you quite well. After all, you do love things of the finest quality which are dependable and reliable, like my sister, good wine, a top notch bicycle and a well written book. You’re a devoted family man, and like this cake a supportive pillar to your family. But a cake is just a cake and the analogy stops there. You are also a quiet achiever, multi-skilled, determined, and strong willed; and with your abundant knowledge, you’re a handy fellow to have on board when there’s a game of trivia or a crossword to be solved. Happy 50th Steve welcome to the club. X Stephens birthday cake recipe

Chocolate Cake


2 cups plain flour

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder (sifted)

2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk room temperature

1 cup hot water

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180

grease three 18cm round cake tins and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with baking paper.

Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer stir to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk all wet ingredients (pour hot water in slowly so the eggs don’t cook).

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.

Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used measuring cups to make sure the batter is evenly distributed.

Bake for 35 mins or until a cake is baked through and when placing a skewer it comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in the cake tins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate butter icing


1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 and 1/2 cups (420g) soft Icing sugar

1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attached. Beat for 3 minutes

Add half the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat for 2-3 minutes - start slow, increase to speed..

Add remaining icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat again for 3 minutes.

Add cream and vanilla if using

Spread chocolate icing on top of each cake, spread it evenly so the cake remains straight.

Then begin to cover cake with remainder of icing.

Decorate with chocolate covered strawberries and with whatever icing you have left, put in a piping bag and decorate.

Chocolate drip sauce


1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


1 place the chocolate chips in medium sized bowl and set aside. 2. Add the heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute, keeping an eye on it. If it heats up too much, it’ll end up everywhere. Remove from the microwave just before it bubbles up. 3. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate chips and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. cover the bowl with clear wrap it will trap in the heat. 4. Gently stir the cream and chocolate together until they come together to a smooth consistency. Try not to whisk too vigorously, which can add air bubble

You can either use a squeeze bottle or a spoon

Bottle method

Pour the chocolate sauce into the bottle. Place the tip of the bottle just a couple centimeters above the top edge of the cake and gently squeeze the bottle to release the sauce. Release the pressure on the bottle when you’ve added enough of a drip, leaving just a little pressure to fill in the gap as you move to the next drip, turning the turntable as you go. Keep in mind that the more chocolate you add, the longer the drip will be. Test out a drip or two to get a feel for the amount of chocolate to use per drip, if needed.

Spoon method

Use your spoon to add the chocolate to the edges of the cake and gently push it over the edge so that it falls, creating a drip. Continue adding drips around the outer edge until you’ll gone all the way around.

Once you have finished the drip effect spread a desired amount of sauce on top of the cake, spoon full at a time, making sure not to spill it over the edge.

Then place what ever decorations you fancy on top.

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