Birthday 'Let them eat cake, cake'

Today it is my brother's 17th birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Being the low-on-funds student that I am I decided to give the cheap, but always appreciated present of cake. Who doesn't love birthday cake?

Since he's the grand old age of 17 I wanted to make him something classy, sophisticated.. but still fun. And so I turned to Lorraine Pascale's 'Let them eat cake, cake' from her book 'Fast, Fresh and Easy Food', because a) I have made it before b) it's simple c) it's tasty and d) the decor seemed just right for the occasion.

For those of you who have the book, or maybe saw her make it on her TV show, it is a chocolate cake, which ends up covered in neat rows of maltesers and looking very swish indeed.
The actual making of the cake couldn't be simpler - here is how you do it.

You will need 2, loose bottomed spring clip cake tins, 20cm, base lined and greased. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.

Ingredients -
For the cake

  • 150g really soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g sour cream
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
For the Buttercream
  • 100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
  • 550g icing sugar
  • 250g really soft butter
  • 2tbsp milk, or water
Plus 4 x 135g bags of maltesers to decorate.

  1. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, sour cream, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add your vanilla essence and either mix by hand or blend with a hand mixer/food processor until you have a smooth, soft mixture. 
  2. Divide evenly between your cake tins and smooth the tops. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  3. Leave them to cool in the tins for a few minutes before carefully removing them and leaving to cool on a wire rack. 
  4. When they are almost cool, begin to make the buttercream. Break up your chocolate into a medium bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until melted. Or sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't in contact with the water, and stir. 
  5. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, or electric mixer/food processor bowl. Then add the butter and milk (or water) and beat until light and fluffy. Do this stage with a mixer/food processor if possible, otherwise it will take ages! Once it has done, pour in the chocolate whilst stirring continuously. 
  6. To ice, you want to sit one of the cakes on the plate you are serving it on (mine is on a cake tin lid as had to be transported. Then dollop some of the icing on top of the cake and spread to the edges. Place the other cake on top and spread icing on the top and sides until the whole cake is covered. 
  7. Stick your Maltesers all over the cake, neatly or not, whichever way you prefer, and viola! 

Done :) the one thing I would say with this recipe as a warning is that I made far too much icing for the cake. I had about half left at the end, which unfortunately was wasted and this was after I had smothered it to within an inch of it's life. 
I don't know whether the mistake was mine, as I was sifting icing sugar into the bowl as it sat on the scales and it may not have measured it correctly, but anyhow, just a warning. Next time I make it I think I will try making less the the recipe suggests and see how it turns out. 
The buttercream I had left.

Otherwise, this is an incredibly simple recipe for a gorgeous and yummy cake. Definitely a good one to try as a first bake, or to do with kids. It makes an impressive birthday cake too, if I do say so myself!

The book this is from, as well as Lorraine Pascale's 'Baking Made Easy' are both full of easy, tasty and quick to prepare dishes. I have both books and I would highly recommend them! 


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