Wow! What an Easter. My poor old stomach is still digesting from yesterday! But man, was it worth it. We had an unbelievable sumptuous feast – 4 courses of sheer delight. I’m waiting on some photos from my brother (you can check out his foodie blog at http://www.wokthefuck.blogspot.com) and then I’ll do up a post on the meal. In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the details of my youngest daughter’s birthday last week. Miss M turned 4 at the start of the month, and as is the way in our family, it was celebrated with lots and lots of cake. On her actual birthday we had some friends around for dinner and had her favourite meal – spaghetti bolognaise. Yummy and easy for a crowd. We were flooded in (second time in 2 months) for a couple of days, so I had plenty of time to bake and play in the kitchen. I had been looking on the Wilton site a few days earlier and had seen their really cool Easter checkerboard cake and thought I’d like to give it a go. They use a pretty nifty cake pan which obviously I didn’t own, and being flooded in had no chance of getting. I had a look at the pan they used and thought I could do a "make-do" version. What I did was bake 3 separate round cakes, all in the same side pan, each cake a different colour. When they had cooled, I got out my round cutters and cut 2 circles out of each with gave me one inner and two rings of each colour. I then separated them and alternated them, then stacked the new tri-colour cakes one on top of each other with whipped cream between the layers and buttercream on top.
I had used a really light sponge cake recipe, which in retrospect I would not use for this type of cake again as being so delicate, it doesn’t stand up too well to being cut and handled. When it was cut, the cake pushed into the cream and other layers below it a bit making the slices look a little messy, but the effect was certainly visible, and everyone thought it looked really cool. Also, the colour of the baked cakes were MUCH MUCH more vivid than the uncooked batter. Here was I wondering if you were going to be able to differentiate between the layers and I actually ended up with a technicolour cake…much to the delight of 4 year old Miss M and the other 5 kids! Needless to say, it was delicious. Here is the recipe for each layer of the sponge:
Sponge Cake Recipe:
2 eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
Colouring if desired
Beat eggs in a small bowl until thick and creamy. The longer you beat the eggs at this stage, the lighter the cake will turn out. You will need to do this with electric beaters for around 7 minutes. While this is happening, sift the dry ingredients together 3 times (from as high above the bowl as you can manage without getting it all over the bench) into a separate bowl.
Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time making sure it is dissolved between additions. Add colouring if desired.
Now, with a large metal spoon and as gently as you can, CAREFULLY fold the sifted dry ingredients into the eggs (I usually sift them into the mixture for an extra final aeration). Spread the mix into a greased 20cm round tin that has been lined with baking paper. Cook it for around 20 minutes at 190C/375F until it has slightly shrunk in from the edges and a toothpick comes out clean. IMMEDIATELY turn the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
When you have made all three cakes, each in a different colour, cut the rings and interchange them so that one layer goes colour 1, colour 2, colour 3 from the centre out, the next goes colour 2, colour 3, colour 1, and the final layer goes colour 3, colour 1, colour 2. Stack the layers and sandwich them with fresh whipped cream.
On the outside, I used a pale green buttercream and some fondant daisies and butterflies. As I didn’t have either daisy nor butterfly cutters, I had to improvise. I used a tear drop shaped aspic cutter for the daisy petals and hand rolled small balls of yellow fondant for the centres which I flattened slightly. for the butterfly wings, I used a heart cutter and cut off the pointy bottom.
For the fondant shapes, I used the recipe for “Professional Fondant” on Gingerbread House Heaven. I had already made up a big stack of it for the Thomas the Tank Engine cake which was still uncoloured. The Vienna Cream was just my ol’ faithful which my mum gave me years ago. Here it is if you want it:
Mum’s Vienna Cream:
125g/4oz butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons/40ml milk
Colouring if desired
Beat butter until it is as white as you can get it. Add half the icing sugar, beat it in, add the milk, beat it in, add the rest of the sugar and beat it in. Add colouring as desired
There you go, all finished! How easy is that!
I guess that’s pretty much it for this post, I will do the next one on the party. She chose a Thomas the Tank Engine theme (she LOOOOOVES Thomas), so I new I had my work cut out for me! Thanks for reading and pop back soon for the mammoth undertaking that was a 3D Thomas cake!