I don’t remember having any such cake as a child.
My Mother was never the frilly apron type. In fact her apron was not required much as her attitude to cooking was… why ? Admittedly there was little time for cooking with four small children a Pekinese dog and a cat called Tiger who was a needy orphan after having been dumped as a 4 week old baby in Toongabbie Creek.
Much praise was bestowed upon the convenience of ready-made family pies, just add water and beat Pavlova mixes, packet cheesecakes and teenagers learning to cook. And, learn to cook we did so that the relentless parade of crumbed sausages and peas would stop.
I don’t recall having a birthday cake because my birthday is on New Years Day and we always had a family barbeque on New Years Eve. My cake would be disguised as a Pavlova or Pineapple Cheesecake (packet made ) and doubled as dessert. On the odd occasion, when I was a little older, I remember having a passionfruit sponge from Healeys bakery near the station, resplendent with mock cream and a dome of yellow passionfruit icing.
As I’ve grown older I often feel quite embarrassed if I am presented with a cake. It may be something to do with being brought up in a no fuss, oh that’s right it’s your birthday environment. On the other hand I live to make cakes for others. As I have previously stated most cost me money, besides the fact that I am supposed to be making them for extra income. I just want to make them perfect (as they would say on Masterchef ). Really.
This beauty was for a 3 year old and his 40 family members and tiny cake finger friends. His parents were very specific about the colours and so with my red and blue guidelines I set off for inspiration. Thanks to several people out there in the world of pinterest I smashed together a couple of ideas and came up with this. I’ve put together a quick video so that you can see how I did it.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 200gm/1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups plain flour (150 gm's each cup)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 500gm (1.1lb) unsalted butter softened ( or ½ this for a 20/24cm cake)
- 2 heaped cups sifted pure icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 200gm (7oz) melted milk chocolate (or dark if you like)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 kg (2.2lb) roll of white roll out icing ( plastic, fondant, sugar) - ½ this for smalller cakes
- sky blue food colouring
- 1 kg (2.2lb) red roll out icing (ready made)
- 500gm (1.1lb) black icing ( ready made)
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups of pure icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 x cake base depending on the size of your cake.
- You will need a baking tray lined with paper
- 2 disposable piping bags ( available in the supermarket or cook shop)
- A rolling pin
- a palate knife or spatula
- a sharp pairing knife
- Extra icing sugar and a sifter ?
- Pour the water gradually over the cocoa in a bowl whisking till smooth. Set aside till cooled
- Put the butter into the bowl of a mixer and beat till light . Add the sugar and salt and continue beating till light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla
- Sift the flour and baking powder together . Add the cocoa mixture and the flour alternatively.
- Split the batter evenly and smooth down.
- Bake for 35-40 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and then turn out.
- Beat the softened butter till very light and fluffy. Add the sifted sugar and salt and beat till very light. Around 10 minutes. Beat in the melted cooled chocolate gradually. Add a squeeze of lemon ( 2 teaspoon, this will even out the flavour)
- Use a cake board or a cake stand. To rest your cake on. Start to add your buttercream adding an equal amount for each layer, approximately 1 x 1½ cups ( for a bigger cake).
- Continue like this till the layers are finished.
- Cover with a very thin coat of buttercream. Chill for 15 minutes and then cover with another thin layer if there is some left. chill if the weather is hot. You can cover a cake base with red icing if you like. Knead till soft . Sprinkle the bench lightly with icing sugar. Spread the board with a spoon of buttercream to help the icing stick. Roll out ½ of the red icing in a thin round and fold over the rolling pin onto the cake. Trim the edges. Add a little more buttercream to the iced board and gently put the cake into the middle of it.
- Knead the ¾ white plastic roll out icing ( the remainder is for the eyes) till soft and then start to add some blue colouring ( approx ½ teaspoon) Knead till smooth and evenly coloured. Sprinkle a clean bench with icing sugar ( no lumps) . Measure the size of the cake from side to side and across the top so you know how big to roll out the icing. Try not to get too much icing sugar on the icing as it will show on the finished cake. Roll the icing out fold over the cake smoothing down with an icing smoother or clean teatowel
- Next make the spider man head.
- Please watch my video for visual instructions. @My Kitchen Stories/ Tania Cusack on utube
- You will need to make the head, the buildings and the eyes.
- The recipe for royal icing is ½ an egg white , ¼ teaspoon lemon juice and approximately 1 cup of pure sifted icing sugar added gradually and mixed till smooth. It needs to be the consistency of toothpaste . if too thin add more to the mixxture. This can be used as glue to stick decorations onto the cake and as the tiny white windows on the cut out buildings.
They ordered these cupcakes too just in case there wasn’t enough cake.