Introduction: Deforestation Cake

This cake represents deforestation and the effects of it. The cake is split into thirds. One third shows a forest, with trees and a koala, the second shows a cut-down forest with a koala that has nowhere to go, and the last third shows the tree stumps where the trees where. In the last 2 thirds, the koala is not in a tree, This represents the loss of habitat that animals face because of deforestation and illegal logging. For this cake, the only specialist equipment you will need is a stand mixer and a set of small circle cutters. I would recommend that only intermediate and advanced bakers attempt to bake this cake.


For The Chocolate Cake

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
  • 3/4 of a Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • A Teaspoon of Salt
  • A teaspoon of Coffee Powder
  • A cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 a Cup of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Powder
  • A Cup of Boiling Water

For The Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Butter, Left Out To Soften For a While
  • A Cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups of Icing Sugar (Confectioner's Sugar)
  • 1/2 a Cup Of Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 a Teaspoon of Coffee Powder

For The Chocolate Crumb:

  • 280g Butter
  • 160g Caster Sugar
  • 400g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 12g Salt
  • 90g Egg Whites (About 1 egg)\

For The Trees:

  • A Box Rice Crispies Cereal
  • A Box Coco Pops Cereal
  • A Bar of Chocolate (For melting)
  • Floral Wire or Twine
  • Grape Stems
  • Green Food Colouring
  • Spray bottle

For The Fondant Koalas:

  • Black Fondant
  • White Fondant
  • Pink Fondant
  • Black Gel Food Colour
  • 2 Toothpicks
  • Circle Cutter
  • Icing Sugar (Confectioner's Sugar)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Water

Step 1: Make the Chocolate Crumb

  1. Preheat oven to 165 Degrees Celcius
  2. Mix all ingredients together to a crumb-like texture in a food processor
  3. Spread the crumb onto a silicone mat and then rest it in the fridge for one hour
  4. Bake the soil in the oven for 15 - 20 minute, and then remove from the oven and cool at room temperature.
  5. Place the soil in a container, and then store in the fridge until needed

Step 2: Make the Trees

  1. Place 2 handfuls of Rice Crispies in a large bowl
  2. Mix together water and a few drops of food colouring in a spray bottle
  3. Spray the Rice Crispies with the mixture until they are fairly green, but not soggy. (If the Rice Crispies still end up soggy, you will need to use a higher concentration of green food colour to water)
  4. Mix in a handful of Coco Pops
  5. Get the grape stems, and trim them so that you have 6 that are 5 - 10cm tall, and three that are just stumps, about 1cm tall.
  6. Cut 1cm off the bottom of 3 of the long stems. Keep both the bottom and top.
  7. Tie twine/floral wire around the bases of all the stems and stumps. You should have 6 stems and 6 stumps.
  8. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over a low heat
  9. When the chocolate is fully melted, dip all of the grape stems in chocolate
  10. Cover all of the stems in the Rice Crispy mixture
  11. Hang all of the stems and stumps on a piece of string to cool
  12. Store the trees and their stumps in a box lined with a paper towel in the fridge

Step 3: Make the Fondant Koalas

  1. Mix a lump of white fondant with a tiny drop of black gel food colour. Knead the mixture until all the colour is mixed. This mixture should be grey.
  2. Use 20g of the grey fondant to create the body. Roll the mixture into a pear shape and then allow it to dry for all an hour. Once dried, insert a toothpick through the body. This will eventually hold the head.
  3. Roll 6g of the grey fondant into long lengths. Gently pinch one end to create a foot. If the legs are too long, use a sharp knife to create the desired length.

  4. Gently place the legs around the body to create the right shape. Using a sharp knife cut 2 lines in the top of the foot to make toes.

  5. To make paws, use a small ball of black fondant. Make 6 small circles and 2 larger ones using circle cutters. Glue onto the feet in a paw pattern using water. Allow to dry for half an hour.

  6. To make the arms, cut off 2 grams of the grey fondant. Roll the icing into small lengths and then flatten one end to create a hand.

  7. Use a sharp knife to make 2 lines in the hands for fingers. Cut the arm to the desired length.

  8. Glue the arms to the body with a dab of water.

  9. To make the head, use 16 grams of grey fondant. Roll the fondant into a ball/oval. Allow it to dry for 10 minutes

  10. Make a pear shape with a small amount of black icing and place it in the middle of the head, as the nose. Glue this on with a dab of water

  11. Make 2 small holes in the head using a toothpick, as the eyes. Place a small ball of black fondant in these holes as the eyes. Glue these into place using a bit of water.

  12. Make a smile on the face using a toothpick.

  13. Allow the head to dry for half an hour.

  14. Once the head is dry, use a small ball of grey fondant to make 2 circles about 1.3cm wide using a circle cutter. These will be the ears.

  15. Cut small lines around the ears, to add character.

  16. Roll out an even smaller ball of pink fondant and use a circle cutter to create a 1 cm circle.

  17. Cut the pink circle in half.

  18. Glue the pink half circles onto the ears, and then glue the ears onto the head.

  19. Place the head on the body and apply a small amount of pressure to stick it onto the toothpick. If needed, use a small amount of water to help stick the head to the body.

  20. Leave the koala to dry for an hour, and then store in an airtight container, lined with a paper towel, in the fridge.

  21. Repeat this process to make another koala, as we need 2 for this cake.

Step 4: Make the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 175 Degrees Celcius
  2. Line two 23cm cake tins with baking paper
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder using a stand mixer and the paddle attachment
  4. Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and slowly add boiling water to the mixture until well combined.
  5. Distribute the batter evenly between the two cake tins.
  6. Bake the cakes for 30 - 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  8. Remove from the pan and cool on a cake rack until completely cool.

Step 5: Make the Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Put cocoa in the bowl of a stand mixture
  2. Whisk to remove any lumps
  3. Cream together the butter and cocoa powder in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until well combined
  4. Add the sugar and milk to the cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by a tablespoon of milk into the running mixer. After each addition has been combined, put the mixer on high for about a minute. Repeat until all of the sugar and milk is combined.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and coffee powder. Mix until well combined.
  6. If the frosting is too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is the correct consistency.
  7. If the frosting is too wet and does not hold its form, add more sugar, a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the correct consistency.

Step 6: Assemble the Cake

  1. Place one cake on a cake board and lather with frosting. Place the second cake on top.
  2. Trim the edges of the cake to make a perfect circle.
  3. Cover the cake with a generous layer of buttercream. This layer should be quite even but does not have to be perfect.
  4. Cover the cake with chocolate soil.
  5. Insert the trees according to the diagram.
  6. Place one Koala in the tallest full tree, moulding the Koala around the tree.
  7. Place the second Koala on the ground near the fallen trees.

Step 7: Enjoy!

To eat, remove the trees and the koalas, as these are not fully edible. Slice the cake into medium-sized slices, as it is quite rich and... Enjoy!

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