This cute Kombi is just 6.5″ long by 3.5″ wide and is a smaller and cuter version of my usual VW Kombi. It is made from dark chocolate mud cake filled and covered with dark chocolate ganache with a layer of sugar-paste on top. This little cake will serve 16 dessert portions.
9″ round cake board
thin card with a glossy side
Cut out your set up board from a sheet of thin card with a glossy side. Shape it into a van shape approx. 6″ x 3″. Your board should be a little larger than your cake so that you fill the gap with ganache and use the edge of your set up board to guide your scrapper giving you a smooth finish. Use a non slip mat under your set up board.
Bake a 6″ square Dark Chocolate Mud cake
220g unsalted butter
180g dark chocolate
4.5g instant coffee
1 cup warm water
170g caster sugar
230g self raising flour
2 small eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grease and line base and sides of cake pan with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla and mix till combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 150C for 1-1 hour 15 mins. Test with skewer. Cool cake in pan.
For detailed instructions on making and using ganache click here
1 kg dark chocolate
400ml pure cream
Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble, pour over chocolate (which you have blitzed in the food processor to coffee granules size) and let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool.
Your ganache at this point will be thin and you will have to let it set overnight until it thickens to a slightly thicker peanut butter consistency. Since I don’t have the patience to wait, I just let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover because you might get condensation). It would usually set in the fridge in under an hour. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
Cut your cake in half and stick one half to your set up board with some ganache. Level the top.
Spread with a layer of ganache.
Add the remaining piece of cake on top and shape the roof. Use some of the cut offs to fill in the rounded front of the van and use a sharp knife to create a believable van shape then cover with a thin coat of ganache (crumb coat).
Put the cake in the fridge for around 30 mins to firm up then add more ganache and create the final smooth shape.
Pop the cake back in the fridge or leave overnight on the bench to harden. Cover with white sugar-paste.
Cut out a surf board template and use it to cut out a white sugar-paste surf board.
Cover the cake board with black sugar-paste.
Cut out a template for the blue lower section. I cut out each side separately and then joined them neatly at the back. Cut out the wheel arches using a cutter then use the same cutter to cut out the wheels.
Use black sugar-paste for the windows and white for the roof rack.
To make the VW badge cut out a large circle of blue sugar-paste then cut out the middle and replace with a white sugar=paste circle of the same size. Use a scalpel to cut out the VW detail freehand from a thin piece of blue sugar-paste. Decorate the suf board with cut outs or paint on a design.
Add lights, bumpers and number plates.
Attach the wheels with a blob of Royal icing.
Either place the surf board on top or leaning against one side.
This lovely cake can be baked for many different special occasions. I even made one for a Christening!!
900g Pale blue sugar paste, coloured with Wilton Royal blue and Americolor Royal Purple (for cake, straps, plaque and flower centres)
200g Dark blue sugar paste, coloured with Wilton Royal blue and Americolor Royal Purple (for flowers)
300g yellow sugar paste (for top layer)
1 hollow plastic dowel
pale blue Royal icing for piping
clear A4 sheet of plastic acetate
Make the Dark Chocolate Mud Cake
Use an 8″ square pan but fill it with more batter than usual following the quantities below
500g unsalted butter
400g dark chocolate
10g (2 tablespoon) instant coffee
2-2/3 cups warm water
380g (2 cup) caster sugar
520g (3 cups) self raising flour
60g (1/2 cup) cocoa
2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Grease and line base and sides of cake pan with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
2. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
3. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 150C for 1 hour 45 mins. Test with skewer. Cool cake in pan.
Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache
1.2 kg (2lb 10oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped
500ml (17.5 fl oz) pure cream
Method: Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble, pour over chocolate (which you have blitzed in the food processor to coffee granules size) and let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool.
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens to a slightly thicker peanut butter consistency. Since I don’t have the patience to wait, I just let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover because you might get condensation). It would usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
Making the templates
Draw around a thong and enlarge the line drawing in a photocopier to around 14.5 inches long (my AUS size 10 thong needed to be enlarged by 140%). You may have to enlarge in two steps if your copier is only A4 size. If your copier does not enlarge images, you will have to draw an enlargement by hand.
This is a right hand thong so make sure you don’t accidentally flip your templates and end up with left hand pieces that won’t fit your cake!!!
Copy this shape twice onto thick card. One will be covered in foil to make the set up board and the other will eventually be covered in cling film to make a top board to help with ganaching the sides of your cake.
Your paper template will later be reduced by 1/4″ all round and used to cut out the thong shape from the cake slab.
Make the cake board (rectangular) and the set up board (thong shape)
As it is next to impossible to purchase rectangular cake boards exactly to the size you need, it is best to make your own from 6 or 9 mm MDF covered in foil. Below is a picture of my efforts in making a rectangular board and a thong set up board at the same time. I use PVA glue spread by my fingers to do the job and it works well. Please note that I used the rectangular board with the yellow / orange thong cake at the very bottom of this blog. N.B. (another method I use is to cut the thong set up board out of a large square of gold or silver set up board. This way you won’t need to cover the board.)
Glue on the metallic foil
Slice the cake into 3 layers
Place your 8″ square cake on a turntable and cut the dome from the top (if necessary) of the cake to get a levelled surface. Place one hand on top of the cake. Hold a long serrated knife in the other hand, making sure to keep the knife level, then slice the cake twice horizontally to make three even layers. Spread each layer with syrup (whisk 100g of apricot jam with 100ml boiling water until smooth) as this will reduce the amount of crumbs when ganaching, help the ganache to stick to the cake and keep your cake moist. Then cut one layer in half to 8 x 4 in.
Make and fill a rectangle
Take one of the half layers and sandwich it on to the end of one normal layer with ganache. Put the other normal and half layer on top and sandwich with ganache. You should now have an 8″ x 12″ rectangular cake.
Build up the cake
Take your initial paper thong template and make it slightly smaller by cutting off 1/4″ – 1/8″ all round (this space will be filled with ganache later on). Place the template on top of your cake (the template will be too long for the cake but don’t worry) and using a sharp knife held at right angles, cut around it. Build up the shape of the thong with the cut offs using ganache as glue. Using some ganache to stick the shaped cake on the set up board. Brush the sides with the syrup.
Reducing the size of the ‘cutting template’ to leave room for the ganache
Apply ganache to the sides and top
Quickly cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin crumb coat of ganache. This will seal the cake and make it easy to add the next layer of ganache and achieve a perfect smooth finnish. Place the cake in the fridge till the outside is nice and firm to the touch.
Before applying the second layer of ganache, cover the remaining thong shaped piece of card with cling film and place on top of cake. Using the top and bottom card shapes as a guide add the ganache and smooth it off with a straight edge such as a ruler or set square. Pop the cake back in the fridge to firm up then remove the card and cling film and smooth some extra ganache over the top of the cake to fill any gaps.
Cover with sugar-paste
Knead 900g of pale blue sugar-paste to a pliable dough and roll to 1/8″ thick. Brush the top and sides of the cake with a little water as this will help the sugar-paste to glide onto the cake and also help it stick. Smooth the top of the cake first with a smoother. Next smooth the sides by gently pulling the sugar-paste away from the side before smoothing down with your hands and then the smoother. Roughly cut away the overhanging sugar-paste with scissors, knife or a pizza cutter. Carefully trim the sugar-paste around the base with a small knife. Now stick your cake to the display board with some syrup, Royal icing or edible glue.
Apply the top layer
Roll out yellow sugar-paste to about 1/8 in thick. Place the thong template on top and cut around it with a small knife or pizza cutter. Brush the top of the cake with syrup. Gently lift the sugar-paste and place it on top of the cake. Manipulate the sugar-paste till you get a good fit. Use a smoother to smooth it off and help stretch it if needed.
Prepare the toe area
Insert the hollow plastic dowel into the correct spot in the toe area using the template as a guide. Leave 4 cm (1 1/2″) of the dowel above the cake. Clip off any excess with scissors. Roll out some yellow sugar paste to 1/8″ thick. cut out a strip 5 x 2 cm (2 x 3/4″ ). Wrap the strip around the skewer and secure with a dab of water or edible glue. Because my dowel was made from yellow plastic and it matched the colour of the thong, I didn’t bother covering it in sugar paste. Fill the hollow dowel with yellow sugar paste as best you can and insert a cocktail stick as in the image below. The cocktail stick will help to anchor the straps and central flower. Mark the position of the straps (towards the back of the thong) with a sharp knife using the template as a guide. Cut out two acetate strips 2.5 cm wide and longer than needed (cut off any excess later). Join the strips at right angles and secure with sticky tape. Make a small hole in the centre with a pin and slip over the end of the cocktail stick. Cut the end off the cocktail stick now but leave a little bit sticking up to help secure the flowers. Decide how long your acetate straps need to be and cut off any extra at an angle while leaving enough to be inserted into the cake as an anchor.
Cut out two pale blue sugar paste straps to fit and attach with edible glue.
To make edible glue
Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to a quarter teaspoon of Tylose Powder and allow the Tylose powder to melt. Don’t worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending. Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.
The glue should be a dripping consistency. If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a toothpick .
The edible glue should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
To apply the glue, use a good quality paintbrush and brush on to the area where you are going to be working. Leave until it begins to dry a little so that the area is just tacky to touch.
The acetate straps
Make the flower decorations
Roll out the dark blue and the remaining pale blue sugar paste to 3 mm (1/8″) thick. Using a small flower cutter, cut out up to 30 flowers and a similar number of flower centres in the pale blue. You will also need one large dark blue flower and a circular pale blue plaque to write your birthday message on. You can stick the flowers onto the thong in a random pattern but I have measured mine so that they are spaced 6.5 cm apart.
I used a piping bag with a size 00 nozzle. The RI was make up of 10g of real egg white, 70g sifted icing sugar, 3 drops acetic acid and water added a few drops at a time. Mix all ingredients together with a hand held electric mixer and a few drops of water. Add edible colouring and a few more drops of water until your RI (Royal Icing) reaches the required consistancy: it should take 7 seconds for stirred RI to flatten out. If your RI is too stiff add some more water and test again. If it is too soft,add more sifted icing sugar and test again.