Friday, 9 January 2015

Foodie Friday #3 - A Cheat's Guide to Baking an Impressive Birthday Cake

After several months break from 'Foodie Friday' I thought it was time I bought it back!

I am not usually one to 'cheat' at things, but when I came across this Becky Crocker recipe, and it really is rich calling it a 'recipe', I decided to attempt to make this 'surprise inside' cake for Owen's brother Harry's 18th birthday.

I gathered my ingredients together and got going! For this recipe you will need:

2 boxes of Betty Crocker cake mix (or of course, if you want to bake the traditional way (which I think I will next time) you will need 2 x the ingredients for a Classic Victoria Sponge)

6 x Medium Free Range Eggs

360 ml water

120 ml vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil though, and it worked just fine)

2 x tubs of Betty Crocker vanilla icing (or once again, the ingredients for butter icing which I believe is just butter and icing sugar!)

Sweets of your choice

4 x 8" cake tins (or just do two sets of two...or even four sets of four if you only have one handy!)

A cake leveller (or just a serrated knife...for some reason while I was browsing Tesco I thought it would be a good use of my money to buy a cake leveller...)

A plate/board to present the cake

Mix together your cake mix, eggs, oil and water either by hand or by electric whisk and pop a quarter into each cake tin and level them out. A good tip that I always follow is to make a little dip in the centre of the cake mix once it is in the cake tins to avoid getting the 'point' in the middle once the cake is cooked. Whack all of the cake tins in the oven for 22-27 minutes (mine took about 23) and then pull them out and place them on a cooling rack. 

Check out my tiered cooling rack...pretty cool, huh? Haha

Next up is the hardest bit of the whole procedure - levelling the cakes. Now, as you can see here, I am not a dab hand with a 'cake leveller' and so mine still didn't turn out totally level but at the end of the day it is all going to be covered in icing so as long as you can get them to sit on top of one another you will be fine! I chose my best two layers to be the top and bottom of the cake because I thought this would make it more stable and then I cut holes in the middle of the two other layers. 

I layered the two holey layers on top of one of the whole layers (how many times can I say layers?), slathering in the icing between. My brother was very disappointed when I told him that jam was not going to feature in this cake and informed me that "it wasn't a cake if it didn't have jam". To be honest, I am a lover of a jammy cake myself but I wasn't sure how it would fair with all of the sweets in the would probably make them all a bit sticky and icky. 

I then poured in a big bowl full of multicoloured sweets, and levelled out the top. 

In the original Betty Crocker recipe, only blue or pink sweets and sprinkles were used in order to do a 'gender reveal' at a baby shower. I for one did not have the time nor the patience to go separating out different colours of sweets, but if you do and you know your recipient has a favourite colour then it could be a nice touch to only include sweets and chocolates of that colour.

Finally, I added the top layer and iced up the whole thing using left over sweets to write the age on the top. As you can see, I am not the neatest iced but I still think it looked rather impressive. Now the waiting game began, as I had to wait for it to be sliced into before I could see the real magic!

Ta-da! The finished product - I didn't have my DSLR with me when the cake was cut so unfortunately this picture is not the best quality but I can assure you it looked great (if I do say so myself!). I hope this "recipe" is of use to any of you thinking of making a simple, yet impressive, cake in the near future! 

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