17th December 2012
It was my birthday today, so with friends and family having asked my husband and children whether they were going to make me a birthday cake, and with a firm ‘No’ coming back from them all and the fact they all said I could make my own cake as it would be much better than anything they made I took it upon myself this morning to bake my own cake! There was one cake I thought of from the book. I had asked my daughter earlier in the year if she would like this cake for her 17th birthday, but I was just given a funny look which took as a no. Having received her reply, I didn’t think I’d ask my son on his 15th birthday whether he would like it!
So, being near Christmas, I thought I would do a slight variation. I’d still make the cakes as the recipe states, but I’d just put it together slightly different. Mary does say in the foreword to the recipe that you could make other animals such as a cat, a teddy bear or an owl – I’ve just taken it one step further and made it into a snowman!
The oven was put on to preheat and two 18cm (7″) and one 20cm (8″) sandwich tins were lightly greased and their bases lined with parchment. I had bought some ready cut circles of parchment the other day from Lakeland as I don’t mind lining tins, but I hate cutting the circles out, I end up wasting so much parchment.
A quick read through the recipe and I was pleased to see that this was an all in one recipe, so into a large bowl went the softened butter, caster sugar, 5 large eggs (the last ones from my chickens – I don’t think they’ll lay now until February), self-raising flour and baking powder. I did also put a teaspoon of vanilla essence in too! This was mixed together with my electric hand whisk for a good two minutes until it was lovely and smooth.
The mixture was divided between the three tins, levelled out and popped into the oven. After 25 minutes the two smaller tins were removed as these were well risen and had begun to shrink away from the sides. The larger tin was left in for another 10 minutes. Once removed, they were left in the tins for a few minutes and then turned out and the parchment peeled from the bottoms.
Whilst the cakes were cooling it was a case of making the buttercream. Nearly a whole packet of butter was needed for this, together with 450g of icing sugar. The butter was creamed with my electric whisk and the icing sugar was then added. My kitchen looked as though it had been hit by a snowstorm, it was covered in a light sprinkling of icing sugar nearly everywhere.
If I had been making the Bunny Rabbit cake at this stage I would have had to cut one of the smaller sponges up to make the ears, feet and tail of the rabbit, but as mine was to be a snowman I didn’t have to cut anything. Instead the large cake was cut into two horizontally and some buttercream put in the middle of it to sandwich the two halves together. The two smaller cakes were then sandwiched together with the buttercream. I obviously hadn’t put the mixture into the tins equally as the two smaller cakes sandwiched together were the same depth as the larger cake, so that worked out quite well.
The cakes were then covered with the rest of the buttercream. Well actually I didn’t use all the buttercream up and I’m glad that I didn’t, it would have been at least a couple of centimetres thick all over the cake if I had, so some was put to one side to use on something else I’m sure I’ll create within the next few days.
The Bunny Rabbit cake was to be covered with dessicated coconut, but I know that I’m really the only one in the house who likes this and although it was my birthday cake I decided to cover it with grated white chocolate instead. Mary does say that chocolate sprinkles can be used instead of the coconut, so I felt I was still keeping to the recipe. The chocolate was grated very finely so it represented snow and then sprinkled over the top of the cake and pressed gently into the sides. I must admit it proved harder than I thought to get the chocolate to stay on, I think perhaps I grated it too finely.
My daughter had been helping with the decorations so it was out with the large chocolate buttons for the snowman’s buttons and small ones for his eyes. We did use chocolate buttons for his mouth too but these looked very scary, so we replaced these with chocolate drops. The nose was made into a carrot using orange icing and his scarf was made from fizzy strawberry laces. That was it he was finished.
The cake itself was very moist and tasted lovely. Personally I think there was too much buttercream on the cake and it tasted quite sickly, so it was small slices all round. I took the head of the snowman over to my niece and nephew the next day as I knew we wouldn’t manage to eat of of it ourselves.
It’s definitely beginning to feel like Christmas in the house, yay…