So, it was my brother's birthday so I attempted to make Roast Beef. Chortle.
What *actually* happened was that I decided I wanted to make a cake for Stu for his birthday. I started looking through all my bookmarked Stumbles and Pinned recipes to find something exciting. I originally toyed with something to do with cameras, or Star Wars, or minions, or Big Bang Theory but everything was far too advanced for me. Then I came across a Piñata cake that I had pinned a long time ago. This one was a shaped and decorated like a rainbow, not quite what I had in mind. Then I thought, why not make it look super boring, so that when it's opened it's a big surprise? Which then made me think of Lister's cake in Balance of Power, and a new plan was formed. I would recreate the cake, making it seem like the fun part about it was that it was that cake, then OH EM GEE, LOOK AT ALL THE COLOURS! I even put a quote on Facebook a day or two before I saw him, hoping it would implant Red Dwarf in his head. I'm sneaky.
I turned to my favourite cake recipe, White Velvet. It still needs some tweaking I think, but it turns out a delicious cake, and nice and flat so it's easy to decorate and stack. Problem with it is that it is for a 9 1/2 inch pan and the pans here at Pogles are 8 1/2 inches. Now it could have been absolutely fine, and probably would have been, but I had images of batter flowing over the sides of tins and a massive mess to clear up. Naturally, I went straight to Google and I found the CakeOMeter.
Hells yeah I have Flappy Bird. Also, get Dots, it's awesome. Anyway, this app is amazing. You put in the recipe you have and the tin size it is for, then the tin size you have, and it converts it for you! How brilliant is that?! It makes me want to find recipes to convert and bake, just to prove it's right.
I'm a big fan of this vanilla extract, it's slightly more expensive but worth it.
Being at Pogles I have a whole different set of equipment to work with, I left my other baking things in the care of Madeley Road until I'm back in London. I love this big bowl, makes me feel like I'm on no cooking show. When Jen and I were younger and did any baking we would measure out all our ingredients and put them into separate bowls, then pretend we were on a cooking show. You know how Delia would always have a tiny bowl with her salt in rather than just take the pinch? Aw, memories.
I saw this on Saturday kitchen last year sometime, can't remember exactly who it was, but they said if you need to soften butter you should put it between parchment paper and whack it with a rolling pin. This changed my baking life, I never remember to get butter out ahead of time to soften. This way, it's softened straight away, and you're able to easily slice it up into bits to go into your mix.
As much as I love the baking of the cake, I am NOT a fan of making icing. It never works the way I want it to, and I end up with rubbish icing and a thin layer of icing sugar dust all over everything in the kitchen. So I will invariably just buy Betty Crocker, cause I love her. This is the first time I've tried this Buttercream style icing, and it was gooooood.
I used about...half a 5p size blob of gel colouring to get this wonderfully exciting shade of grey. Just the one.
See what I mean? Very flat. Quite thin. Gonna tweak. The thing about this cake is that it is very pale, being White Velvet 'n all. When you look in the oven when your buzzer goes off you think there's no way it can be done, it looks like batter with slightly browned spots. But it is.
As I said before, I used a box mix for the middle layer, and yes it was Betty Crocker. My favourite is the chocolate swirl cake, it's really quite tasty.
Next step is to cut out the void for your piñata cake. I ummed and aahed slightly over whether to go bigger or smaller, I wanted plenty of goodie room, but I didn't want to have a flimsy edge. This pot gave me a good size edge, but did cut out most of the swirls. Note to self: swirl your mix better.
I couldn't bear to just haphazardly heap the cream on the cake hoping it was in the right areas, so I marked out the area using a bit of the gel colouring.
I'd smash my face into that right there.
Doesn't it look exciting?! I used two share bags of smarties, I considered just one, but if that was insufficient I could never have lived with myself.
The final product! The kids were very excited by it, despite my intentions. Clearly they know me too well...I don't bring boring cakes. My favourite part of the 'reveal' was Stu starting to cut into the cake and saying "This is crunchy, what?!" I'm a genius.
Cake went down well with all concerned, Keira was keen to yum up as much as possible, so I shall count this as a win. Definitely something I'll do again, interested to think of other ways I could play with the idea. I've already got my next plan in my head, but, naturally, this will be kept secret. Especially as it may go terribly, horribly, irretrievably wrong.