Simple Chocolate Cake + Raspberries / A Photo Shoot

I FEEL COMPELLED TO TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS FOR A SENTENCE OR SO BECAUSE I AM A BIT ANNOYED. I NEVER INTENDED FOR IT TO BE THIS WAY BUT UNFORTUNATELY MY EMOTIONS HAVE GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME AND HERE I AM SHOUTING IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE INTERNET, MY PRECIOUS OUTLET. AHHHH! BOOO HISSS VENT VENT VENT ETC ETC

My camera is broken. Well, was broken (the nice people at Nikon HQ have since worked their repair magic). It began seriously playing up at the most inconvenient of times; in the middle of a photo shoot! Now, “photo shoot” is a term I avoid using at the best of times because it conjures weird and strange memories of dudes with enormous egos (it’s a long story and I am a complicated girl), however, the location was somewhere other than my bedroom for once, with a model, an assistant and a whole lot of pretty props so I’m allowing myself just this once to indulge in some jargon. The reason I had finally ventured away from my “bedroom studio” and was standing amongst all of these seemingly professional and nice things is because I was encouraged to enter the San Pellegrino Café Society photo competition by a tutor at uni to broaden my photographic horizons. As I may have mentioned before I’m making a big effort to work on photography, building up a portfolio and all that, to avoid the dreaded jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none syndrome that seems so easy to slip into these days like an unfortunate coma of artistic mediocrity. “So, what do you do for a living?” “Oh, I’m a creative“. No, no, no, no; that certainly isn’t the life for me.

Café Shenkin in Erskineville was my allocated venue, a wonderful space dripping with rustic charm (~my dream~) with the gorgeous Chloe and assistant Felicia. I’d sourced some old books, acquired many coffee beans, picked some flowers, spent all of my play money on raspberries and baked a big ol’ chocolate cake for my table setting. Everything was going fine until my camera refused to focus and chromatic aberration (those annoying blue/purple lines that fringe objects in photos) was all over the place. Every single photo looked a little skewed and I could not work out why, I’d put it down to using a wide lens as I was snapping. It wasn’t until browsing my set on Lightroom however the intensity of the matter loomed over my foolish optimism (I then spent the next few minutes hulk-smashing everything in sight as it was clear something had gone spectacularly wrong). According to the repair report there was an alignment issue within the camera body, hence the amazing lack of clarity. Luckily the photos are salvagable!… but could have been so much better. At the same time the situation could have been so much worse. LIFE, OH LIFE, OHHHHH LIIIIFE (dooo do do doooo).

So! The photos you’re seeing are from a seriously busted (two month old!) camera. So much lost detail (sigh). Here are some portrait photos, tell me what you think (I went with the last one but just quietly the second-last will always and forever be my favourite)!

I didn’t exactly to think to take a thought out photo of the cake and only ended up snapping some at the last minute before dividing it up between the troops to enjoy for later. I actually (mostly) followed a recipe for this one since it needed to be photo-worthy and required an icing to withstand some car travel. No winging it this time! This recipe isn’t a life changer but it’s simple, easy and comforting; a nice blank canvas for any decoration or accompaniment. PRO TIP: Cut yourself a slice and microwave that badboy for 30 seconds. The icing will melt all around dat cake creating the most delicious faux-self-saucing pudding of all time.

Simple Chocolate Cake with Raspberries
(an adaptation from Anneka Manning’s Mastering the Art of Baking)

Cake batter
185g butter, room temperature
330g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
260g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
55g good quality cocoa powder
120ml milk
60ml espresso
1 tsp salt

Icing
120g dark chocolate, chopped
40g butter, chopped
165g (1 1/3 cup) icing sugar
3 tbs milk
Pinch of salt

To serve
Fresh raspberries
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180. Grease/line a 9″/22cm cake tin.
2. Beat the butter until creamed and beginning to pale. Add the sugar and vailla and continue to beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until completely incorproated into the batter.
3. Sift flour and cocoa in another bowl with the salt and gently fold into the batter mixture, alternating with the milk and espresso.
4. Pour into cake tin and bake for around an hour. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing
1. Heat chocolate and butter slowly over simmering water, stirring continuously. Once melted and smooth slowly add sifted icing sugar and milk and continue to stir until smooth. Allow to cool to a spreadable consistency, if needed.

To serve
1. Ice cake, beginning at the top and moving down towards the sides. Adorn generously with fresh raspberries and a little icing sugar just before serving.

RIP the delightful pixels that could have been.

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  1. yummychunklet’s avatar

    Fantastic images, nonetheless!

    Reply

  2. jessica’s avatar

    ahh, that’s awful about your camera! especially because it was during the one time that you need it most because other people are involved in what you’re shooting and they’re relying on you for the photos instead of it just being you cooking at home. :( WHAT ARE THE CHANCES. :( glad you’ve got it fixed now though, and that you managed to save the photos, they still look great and i would eat the whole cake if given the chance!

    Reply

  3. Tina @ bitemeshowme’s avatar

    You still got some great shots before the camera started playing up. Love that last photo especially – its the epitome of all chocolate and raspberry cakes!

    Reply

  4. Lucy @ Lucy eats’s avatar

    I love your photos – the lighting for all of them and the placement of your props are really amazing. Such a shame about your camera, but it’s nice to know that it’s back to working order now!

    I’m saving up to buy a good camera so I can take photos of my recipes on something other than my iPhone. Can I ask if you did much editing of your shots after taking your photos?

    Reply

    1. Alana’s avatar

      Hey Lucy, that’s really kind of you so say so thank you! Buying a camera sounds like a great idea. I don’t do too much editing; I adjusted the colours a little bit just to achieve that ‘rustic feel’ I was after. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply

    2. Jenny’s avatar

      The cake looks incredible, really delicious! All your photos look pretty amazing to me, too, regardless of your camera acting up.

      Reply

    3. peachtopie’s avatar

      Oh my gosh, that cake looks phenomenal — love the photos!

      Reply

    4. Russell at Chasing Delicious’s avatar

      I am loving this cake! And all you images – a fun little look at a bit of the behind the scenes!

      Reply

    5. Nic@diningwithastud’s avatar

      I have to say though, your pics STILL look amazing :) Loving the microwave tip for the cake ;)

      Reply

    6. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes’s avatar

      Love the dark moody photos with the bright pop of color from the red raspberries. Beautiful pics! Sorry about the camera :(

      Reply

    7. Amber {Sprinkled With Flour}’s avatar

      Mmmm, your photos have my wishing for some chocolate cake! This looks so divine. :)

      Reply

    8. Winston’s avatar

      Oh noooo… What a nightmare!!! There’s one day you’ll remember for a while. And I can’t believe this happened after just 2 months old! Hmmm… But hey, your photos still turned out GREAT. Am sure you directed the shoot very well cause everything looked perfect from the model to the setup to the final products. Mad props you are gonna go SO far, my friend. Wait, what am I saying? You already are such a STAR.

      Reply

    9. Joanne’s avatar

      I’m so sorry to hear about your camera!! But thank goodness it’s fixed! The cake is just gorgeous!

      Reply

    10. Kankana’s avatar

      LOL On the second last portrait. I LOVE the first one .. very casual :) Your blog is gorgeous and ao are your photos. SO, what happened to the camera ?

      Reply

    11. Kathy Steger’s avatar

      Beautiful pictures. I am new to food photography and it tends to get a little frustrating for me as I have no formal training. Thank you for posting info that helps people like me.

      Reply

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