The cake required more red food colouring than ever before, baking cakes in pudding bowls, balancing a larger cake on a smaller one. Finally when I had my head around all of this, I read that it was to be assembled at the last moment. And we were having her party in the park. I am not sure I am the best advocate of the cake because it gave me so much worry but it worked for me and made young eyes widen in appreciation!
bags out of craft paper, we baked our favourite gingerbread and made some bookmarks by photographing her favourite books.
Cake Deco in the city) to buy food colouring paste for the red buttercream. While there, I was tempted by some pretty cake pop sticks. So cake pops went on the menu. I was inspired by my recent candy cane brownies. They were made the day before the party.
I made the brownie, substituting chickpea flour for regular flour and baking for 30 minutes. I mixed it with 40g cream cheese and a spoonful or two of icing sugar (and then wondered if the brownie would clump together without mixing anything in). I dipped each stick in white chocolate before inserting in the cake balls. After some time in the freezer, they were covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed cherry and apple flavoured candy canes. They were nice but so sweet without the peppermint candy canes. Next time it will be dark chocolate on the outside.
ultimate chocolate cake recipe I had used earlier in the year because it seemed so sturdy. I had to use a cake four times as big as the previous version, so I have included the amended recipe below.
Choosing the right bowls was stressful. This was the decision that meant the cakes balanced or not. I found a 1.8 litre pudding bowl and a 1 litre pyrex bowl. I am not used to baking in these bowls. So I was nervous. And rightly so. The cakes took over 2 hours to bake. I turned the oven down when I had to go out to pick up Sylvia. I just kept going until a skewer inserted in the middle came out clean. Meanwhile the cakes sunk lower and lower in the bowls.
It was a fairly simple affair. I had been so bound up in making the very sweet cake pops and the birthday cake that I was surprised when someone commented on the healthy food. As always there was lots of leftover food. The cupcakes, watermelon and fairy bread were big hits. Leftover vegies were roasted and turned into a pizza topping on some leftover Turkish bread. The cake pops stood proudly in some polystyrene foam packaging I had made hole in.
You can also read about the chocolate cupcakes with and banana cake that I made for Sylvia's birthday.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: WSC Pirate Treasure Chest Birthday Cake
Two years ago: Grrrr Dinosaur Birthday Cake (from Peppa Pig)
Three years ago: Dinosaur farm, white mudcake and teddy racers
Four years ago: Sylvia's green pram cake
Five years ago: Welcome little one!
Six years ago: Pomegranates - the cruelest fruit?
How to make a Pixie Toadstool Cake
Adapted from Anne Rigg's Birthday Cakes for Kids
You will need:
Chocolate cakes (see recipe below)
Buttercream frosting (see recipe below)
Red food dye paste
Green food dye (drops is fine)
Sour strips (or liquorice strips)
Red or silver cachous
Large white freckles (you can easily make your own*)
Jubes, icing flowers, tiny toy fairies for around the toadstool
Mini m&ms or other small pebbly lollies for a path
Bake two dome shaped cakes - Annie Rigg suggests a 1 litre and a 1.5 litre cake. My larger cake was 1.8litre. See below for a chocolate cake recipe. These are best baked the day before decorating.
Make buttercream frosting.
If necessary trim the cakes to make the tops and bottoms even. I didn't trim the bottoms because I thought I might be in for further collapse of the cakes if I did. Have a very cautious go at balancing the large dome on the small one and check if it needs trimming to help it sit properly.
It isn't necessary to firstly crumb coat (very thin layer of icing like an undercoat) the cakes but I found this makes it easier to spread the final coat of frosting on the cakes, and is an opportunity to iron out any creases. If you do a crumb coat, ideally put the cake in the fridge to set the icing but if you are like me and your fridge is full, leave it about an hour to let the icing set as much as possible.
Place the smaller cake flat side down on a cake board or plate. Ice it in white (plain) buttercream. Cut out little doors and windows. Annie Rigg used cachous around doors and windows like frames but I did it for the doors and found them fiddly. A thin liquorice shoelace would have been better perhaps? I did like the cachous as the door handles. Use a small blob of icing to stick them on.
Halve the remaining icing and colour one half red. Place the larger cake on a flat plate. Ice with red icing. Dot white freckles over the red icing. Set aside until you are ready to assemble cake.
Colour the remaining icing green and spread around the base of the white dome. Make a path coming out of the doorway with small lollies that look like pebbles (such as m&ms). *I made my own large freckles to place around the house (melt white chocolate, sprinkle with 100s and 100s, allow to mostly cool and then cut with cookie cutter - it is tends to crack if too hard so don't let set really hard.) Use jubes, icing flowers, toy fairies etc to decorate. We found some flower candles that we could stick into jubes.
Just before you are ready to sing happy birthday and serve the cake, place the red dome on the white dome, cross your fingers, have faith in your sturdy chocolate cake and pray it doesn't collapse.
Ultimate chocolate cake
Adapted from Drizzle and Drip
Makes 2 domed cakes
360g dark chocolate (I used dark choc chips)
170g self raising flour
170g plain flour (I used wholemeal)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
320g brown sugar
320g caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
150ml vanilla or plain yoghurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 170 C. Grease and line a 1 litre bowl and a 1.8 litre pudding bowl. (Or you could use 2 x 20cm round cake tins if you are not making a toadstool cake, and they will probably cook quicker.)
Melt chocolate and butter in a medium mixing bowl (in the microwave or if on stovetop use a small saucepan). Set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Beat eggs for a minute or two until the colour is lighter and the eggs are frothy. Briefly bean in yoghurt.
Pour melted chocolate mixture, egg mixture and apple cider vinegar into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into the prepared bowls.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes (I did 50 minutes at 170 C and then about 1 hour and 20 minutes at 140 C because I left the oven on while I was out - this is not recommended! However I can't give an exact time for baking), check with a skewer if cooked inside and if necessary bake about another 15 to 30 minutes. The cake is cooked when it smells cooked, the side of the cake is pulling away from the side of the tin and the skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly. Sit 15 minutes before turning out. Cool on a cake rack.
From Annie Rigg's Birthday Cakes for Kids
350g butter (preferably European-style), softened*
700g icing sugar (confectionery sugar)*
food colouring, as desired
Beat butter with electric beaters until creamy and pale - this could take a few minutes. Gradually beat in icing sugar until all of it is mixed into the frosting and it is quite thick and creamy. (If it is too stiff, add a dribble of milk). Stir in food colouring to make the colours you want for the cake.
NOTES: I have used nuttalex margarine instead of butter for a vegan buttercream. I also sometimes use cups to measure the icing sugar - 1 x 250ml cup of icing sugar is approximately 150g icing.
On the Stereo:
Different Class: Pulp
Celebration Cakes and Bakes event.