Moon Palace Cake
430 g 15 oz plain (all-purpose) flour
265 g (91/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
125 g (41/2 oz/1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
375 ml (12½ fl oz/11/2 cups) full-cream (whole) milk
125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 drops purple food gel + 2 drops pink food gel
2 drops green food gel
175 g (6 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
225 g (8 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
50 g (13/4 oz) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon fine salt
175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
4 small eggs, at room temperature
175 ml (6 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk3 tbsp of food safe activated charcoal or 10 drops black food gel
5 tbsp vanilla or chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
200g clear Isomalt
1 tbsp black lustre dust
To fill and crumb coat this 6 layered, 8” cake you’ll need 3 batches of my chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
6 tbsp of food safe activated charcoal or 15 drops black food gel
To make the moon crystals, simply add the Isomalt into a large glass or silicone bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Guys, I can not stress enough how incredibly hot this stuff gets when it’s heated. It will burn your skin off so be very careful!
Once the Isomalt is melted add the lustre dust and use a metal spoon to mix until well combined.
Once mixed, pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone baking mat and allow to set at room temp.
Once set, use a sharp knife to chop into oddly shaped and sized shards.
To make the moon rocks begin preheating a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a baking tray or cake tin with baking paper. Set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a hand mixer until combined.
Next, add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs and milk and mix again on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds.
Pour onto prepare baking tray or pan and bake for 30 min. Allow to cool completely.
Crumble the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add frosting. Mix until well combined.
To shape the moon rocks take about 2 tbsp of the mixture in your hands and shape into oddly shaped rocks. You can do small rocks or big rocks, it’s up to you.
Take a skewer or the end of a fondant tool that has a small ball on the end of it and poke holes into the rocks to make them appear airy like some sort of alien rock. These are moon rocks after all.
Place onto a baking tray and chill in the fridge to set until ready to use.
To prepare the frosting simply add the food safe charcoal or food gel to the frosting and mix until well combined.
Please note: to make the 6 layered cake in this recipe, you’ll need to make 2 batches of vanilla cake. All other recipes and measurements are enough to put the cake together and decorate it.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140C (280F) or 160C (320F) for a conventional oven. Spray three 8” cake tins with oil spray and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix together using a hand mixer until well combined.
Next add the softened butter and mix on low speed until mixture reaches a crumbly sand like texture.
Add the eggs, milk, oil, Greek yogurt, peppermint extract and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until no dry ingredients are showing. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. It’s at this point that you can add any additional flavorings or colored gels to the batter.
Split the batter into two separate mixing bowls and color one purple using purple and pink food gel and the other green. Mix until well combined. Place each one into a separate piping bag and pipe squiggles of batter into the three cake tins taking care to make sure each one is filled with the same amount of batter.
Bake for 50-60 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the pick comes out with wet batter, bake for a further 10 min at a time until fully baked. Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature inside the cake tins and then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate. So I bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
To trim your chilled cakes, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of each cake before you trim each cake in half. You’ll end up with 6 layers of cake.
To crumb coat your cake, add a dab of frosting onto an 8” cake board or flat serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting around before adding the first cake layer. Gently press down the center of the cake layer to make sure it’s stuck to the frosting underneath.
Add frosting to a piping bag and frost a ring around the top of the cake. Fill the centre with more frosting. Use your small offset spatula to smoothen out the frosting before you add the next layer of cake. Repeat with the remaining layers.
Add more frosting around and top and sides of the cake. Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Once your cake is chilled, take it out of the fridge and place it back on the cake turn table.
Fill a piping bag up with the black frosting and pipe around the cake, starting at the bottom and make your way up. Add some frosting on the top. Use a small spatula to smoothen it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect because we’re coming back to it later. Use a cake scraper to smoothen out the sides of the cake, then use the cake scraper to smoothen out the top.
Finish the cake by adding the moon crystals on the side and the moon rocks on top.
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated and thawed 1 hour before serving).
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAKE TIN: For this recipe you’ll need at least one 8” cake tin but preferably three 8” cake tins. To prepare the tin, spray with oil spray. To prepare the baking paper use a pen to trace around the bottom of the cake tin on to the baking paper. Use scissors to cut slightly inside the circle you traced. Place the traced side down onto the baking tin with oil spray.
HAND MIXER: Can be made using a hand mixer (always mix on lowest speed) or a hand whisk. Take care not to over mix the batter.
OVEN TEMPERATURE: Each oven is different. Some are old, some are new. Some ovens can be hotter on the inside than the temp you set your oven at. If you find your cupcakes, cakes or macarons are browning or cracking, turn the oven temp down 10C. A handy trick is to get an oven thermometer which sits inside the oven and will give you an accurate temperature reading. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased online or at your local kitchen supply store. And always bake in the centre rack of the oven for best results!
BUTTER: Make sure the butter is very soft for the cake mixture. Theres two ways to do this. Microwave for 5 seconds at a time flipping the butter on each side until very soft (not melted). If you don’t have a microwave run a large bowl over hot water. Dry the bowl and place over the butter for 1 min. The heat from the bowl will create a warm enough environment to soften the butter.
BAKING TIME: This cake will typically bake on a lower temp and for a little longer than regular cake recipes. I find a low temperate and a slow bake results in flatter tops and caramelisation so that if the cake is coloured it doesn’t change colour and brown. After 50 minutes, stick a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 10 minutes until the skewer comes out with crumbs or completely clean.
Cake turn table/lazy susan
Large mixing bowls
Magic Whisk for wet ingredients
Stand mixer (or hand mixer)
8” cake tin
Ice cream scoop (optional)
Cake turn table
Cake scraper/bench scraper
Skewer or fondant tool with small ball on the end