Hi! It's been a while. Even though I promised it wouldn't be. Then again, I think we've realised through the duration of this blog that my blogging promises mean very little. Ah well. I had a birthday! I turned 19!! I feel old. 19 isn't very old, but it's the last year I can call myself a 'teenager', and 20 sounds very old and grown-up, which I'm not ready to be. At least I've got another year to get my head around it before I actually turn 20! Anyway, this cake - I wanted something big, cool, and calorific for my 19th, so I decided to make a 5-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, marshmallow icing and Katherine Sabbath-inspired decorations.
The first step consisted of making the chocolate bark. I melted some dairy milk, spread it out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, mixed some melted white chocolate with pink food colouring and dolloped that on, sprinkled on some 'eton mess' mix I found in sainsbury's (basically small bits of meringue and dried raspberries), and put it in the fridge. Very simple.
After the bark was made, I moved onto the cake. Some may say this is the best part. I'm inclined to agree. I baked 5 layers (well, 6, but I dropped one...) of moist, dense chocolate cake, and left it overnight to settle. It makes it a lot less crumbly and much easier to work with when it's been allowed time to set!
I sandwiched the layers together with chocolate frosting, one of the most amazing substances ever to be invented. I ate half of the mix before it even made its way to the cake.
For the outside of the cake, I used Primrose Bakery's marshmallow icing recipe. The quantity was just enough to cover the cake, but it really could have done with a bit more (oops). I smashed into the chocolate bark with a knife to create shard-like blocks, and stuck them into the cake with maltesers propping them up - any excuse to put more maltesers on a cake! I decorated the outside with a ring of maltesers, and then threw 100s & 1000s around the base. Finally, lashings of edible glitter were added as the finishing touches.
I then promptly dropped something into the front of the cake, leaving a dent and a quick patching up exercise. I managed to do this before photos were taken on the good camera, hence the number of side shots and iPhone photos. That was a lot of birthday drama! I think the rubber duck candles more than make up for the ruined icing though!
Recipe - makes enough for a good three days of cake-eating/serves at least 10:
Cake - per 2 layers:
- 6oz caster/soft brown sugar
- 6oz butter
- 3 eggs
- 4.5oz self-raising flour
- 1.5oz cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 180oC. Grease and line two 8" cake tins.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in, one at a time, until well combined. Don't worry if the mixtures curdles, it will all be rectified with the addition of flour.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
- Fold it in gently, until all incorporated.
- Halve the mixture between the two baking tins.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to cool, preferable overnight if you want to have a crumb-free icing experience.
Chocolate buttercream - I never weigh out my icing measurements because I prefer just to add things until I get the right consistency, but here is my mum's icing recipe (which is basically the exact same one I use!)
Enough to fill 5 layers of cake:
- 400-450g icing sugar
- 75g cocoa powder
- 100g soft butter
- 3-4 tablespoons milk to mix
- Sift 400g icing sugar and the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the butter and two tablespoons of milk.
- Mix well with a large spoon or electric whisk, adding more milk if necessary to make a soft, smooth, spreadable buttercream.
- Taste and adjust the flavour, adding more sifted icing sugar and/or cocoa powder if needed.
- 120g granulated sugar
- 80g golden syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Food colouring of choice.
- In a large saucepan, heat sugar, golden syrup and water on a high heat until it reaches soft ball stage (the mixture, when a small amount is dropped in cool water, should ball together to form a squishy, not hard ball).
- Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks when the beater is removed.
- Slowly whisk the sugar mixture into the egg whites.
- Continue beating until thick and smooth.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Add food colouring, until desired concentration has been reached.