Beer Box Chocolate Cake

Many South African homes have a cardboard beer box lying around. But, we bet you never thought of making a cake in it.

Bridget McNulty pulled off this rather lovely beer box cake for her brother’s birthday last weekend, with the help of a Cuisipro Food Decorating Pen.

Here’s the full story (and recipe):

“I have an announcement to make: I may never make another cake that isn’t fabulously iced. Now, if you’ve seen some of my past cakes, you’ll realise that this is quite a statement.

It’s not that I’m not a good baker – I’m a great baker. I can whip up scones and cakes and biscuits and muffins and and and. Cupcakes are my speciality. But I’m not so great with the icing. Don’t ask me why – something to do with the combination of butter and milk and icing sugar just doesn’t turn into the right consistency, for some reason. I blame not having a sieve until very recently.

Still, that wasn’t going to hold me back this time! It was my brother’s 30th birthday, and I had promised to make him a beerbox cake for his party (AKA a very large cake, baked in a beerbox). But I didn’t just want to decorate it with hundreds and thousands, or spell out a 30 in Smarties (although I do love Smarties with an unbridled passion). I wanted to WRITE a MESSAGE on the CAKE!

So I bought the Cuisipro Food Decorating Pen.

It couldn’t be easier to use: simply shlurp up some icing in the pen, using a plunger mechanism like an old-fashioned syringe (but far more fun).

Then gently press the sides, and the icing comes out in a thin (or thick, depending which nozzle you use) stream.

My only complaint is that they said it could be used for icing or sauces, so of course I made my icing of a sauce-like consistency, i.e. thin and runny. Which was lovely for getting it into the pen, but when it came out onto the cake it sort of… spread.

Learn from my mistakes! On top of the spread-out yellow layer of icing I made a much thicker paste of white icing, and did a (some might say perfect) top layer. And then I had the lovely echo effect you can see in the photo. Delightful, hmm?”

Totally delightful, baker Bridget and now for the recipe.

How to make Beer box Chocolate Cake

If you’re wondering, this makes a really big cake (8 eggs, that’s no joke).

And, if the wisdom of cooking in cardboard has crossed your mind, Bridget assures us that the beerbox does not catch alight when you put it in the oven. Despite being unable to explain this, she backs her promise with the fact that she has made it without flames a number of times.

1. Boil together
500ml water
150ml oil
150ml cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Be careful not to overboil as the mixture will overflow.

2. Beat till creamy:
8 eggs
3 cups castor sugar

3. Fold into the egg mix:
3.5 cups flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

4. Fold boiled mixture to egg mixture – don’t overmix

5. Line a beerbox with foil (shiny side out) and pour the mixture in

6. Bake at 180C for 30 to 35 minutes

7. Icing for covering the cake
1 packet icing sugar
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Tablespoon butter

Mix in milk until soft and spread over the surface of the cake.

7. Icing for writing
Get yourself a decorating pen, mix some really thick icing for writing and go wild.

Et voilà. If you give this a try over the weekend, send us a photo.

Happy Friday, everybody.