The Hobbit Themed Chocolate Birthday Cake

The Hobbit Themed Chocolate Birthday Cake

Hobbits are well known for their love of food. So is my family. As the Hobbit is one of my Dad’s all time favourite books it seemed pretty fitting to have a birthday cake themed around the part of the Hobbit; although the execution of it was something of a lucky fluke. Fortunately although it is not an exact replica of how Smaug or his hoard looking in the film, or how I imagined it in the book, it is a pretty good approximation.

This cake is a perfect birthday cake for any chocolate lover. You wouldn’t necessarily have to make this exact cake, you can adapt this around other themes as you wish.

To make this cake you will need:

170g caster sugar

170g butter

150g self raising flour

20g cocoa powder

3 eggs

For the filling

100g white chocolate

50g double cream

For the ganache topping

200g dark chocolate

200ml double cream

50g milk chocolate

To decorate

3-4 packs of chocolate fingers

Chocolate such as Malteasers, Minstrels or similar

Kinder Eggs (basically I wanted a Minion from one)

Gold lustre cake spray

Gold cake decorations

To make the cake preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 medium cake tins. Whisk your eggs and sugar until light and fluffy so they leave a trail on the surface of your cake mix. Melt your butter and fold this into the mix, along with the flour and cocoa powder. Bake for around 12 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean and the cake is springy to touch. Once cooked set aside to cool down. It is nigh on impossible to decorate a warm cake.

While the cake is cooking make the chocolate ganache and filling. To make the white chocolate filling melt the white chocolate and cream together. Set aside to cool. Take the same approach with the darker and milk chocolate and cream to make the ganache topping. Melt the chocolate and cream together until thick and glossy and then leave to cool before putting on the cake.

Once the cake and ganache are cold sandwich together the 2 cakes using the white chocolate filling. Cover the cake and the sides with a smooth layer of ganache. Line up the chocolate fingers on the side of the cake (this looks attractive and hides the fact that decorating cake sides tidily is a chore). Half the Kinder egg and place on top of the cake as a cracked egg. Add the chocolates as treasure at random, however bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect and most people will want a bit of chocolate topping on their cake. Spray with gold lustre spray and add your cake decorations.

Put in the fridge to chill to firm for several hours before serving. Add a dragon if one is available.

Serve as part of second breakfast, elevenses or similar. Hobbits need to know there is decent fare in the pantry at all times.

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Chocolate finger cake

Chocolate finger cake

IMG_0592I should possibly thing of more whimsical names for my cakes. However, I’m not sure its quite me to call this something like “Fingerlicious chocolate cake” or “Chocolate decadence”. Anyway, this cake tastes dreamy, looks impressive and can be made by even the least confident of bakers. The only 2 pieces of advice to be given when making this is 1. make sure the sponges are cool prior to decoration and 2. don’t eat the chocolate fingers before you’re finished decorating. You might run out.

To make your own version of this cake you will need:

3 large eggs

170g caster sugar

170g butter

155g self raising flour

15g cocoa powder

To decorate

50g dark chocolate

300g icing sugar

250g marscapone

Chocolate fingers (I used 2 1/2 packs but you may need more)

Any sweets you fancy – I used M&Ms, Magic Stars and silver balls

Preheat the oven to 180°C, cut some baking parchment to the size of your cake tins to line them. Using an electric whisk beat your eggs and sugar until they leave a trail of mixture over the surface. Sift in your flour and cocoa powder and fold in.Melt your butter and fold in, until your mix is smooth.

DSC_0082Separate into two cake tins and bake for around 12 minutes, until a skewer comes clean when you poke in into your cake. Set aside your cake to cool.

Make your marscarpone icing by whisking together the icing sugar and marscarpone. Melt your chocolate and slowly whisk it into the mix.

DSC_0083DSC_0084DSC_0085Sandwich together the 2 sponges using some of your icing. Use a pallet knife to cover your cake in a smooth layer. You’ll have made too much icing, but I freeze any excess for future baking (one day I plan to make cupcakes with a range of icing on them to use them up).

DSC_0086DSC_0087Place the chocolate fingers tightly around the edges of the cake (this makes the cake look so tidy, you’ll feel impressed with yourself).

DSC_0088DSC_0090Top with your sweets. I finished mine off by studding with the silver balls but any other cake decorations would work equally well.

DSC_0092DSC_0091Place the cake in the fridge to firm up before serving so it doesn’t squidge too much when you cut it. I made this for my friend Miss S’s birthday party and it went down a storm. So this is possibly one of the best all ages birthday cakes you can make – perfect for adults and children alike.

Vanilla sponge 2 ways – Dr Who cupcakes and Sprinkle Cake

Vanilla sponge 2 ways – Dr Who cupcakes and Sprinkle Cake

I think when it comes to cake simple is definitely underrated. As it was D’s birthday this I obviously made him a cake. Not one to usually do cake making by halves I also made cupcakes to have at his birthday party. Simple vanilla cake is a big favourite with D (and his friends) so I thought I’d use the opportunity to sing the praises of the most versatile cake mix in my repertoire. The techniques for making this are exactly the same for the cupcakes and the full cake, just scaled up for the cupcakes.

IMG_0577DSC_0063To make the full cake you will need

170g self raising flour

170g butter

170g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

Good quality jam

To decorate

160g soft butter

320g icing sugar

1 tbsp milk (or as we ran out of milk, i used apple juice)

Sugar strands

Candles!

For 12-14 cupcakes you will need

225g self raising flour

225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate

140g butter, softened

280g icing sugar

1 teaspoons milk

Food colouring (I used blue for a Dr Who theme)

Silver balls/other cake decorations

To make your sponge mix preheat your oven to 180°C. Sift the caster sugar into a large bowl, crack in your eggs and add your vanilla essence. Whisk this mix until thick and foamy. Sift in your flour. Melt your butter and gradually whisk this into the mixture until smooth.

DSC_0051DSC_0052DSC_0053Depending upon whether you’re making a cake or several cupcakes either split your cake mix between two larger cake tins lined with baking paper, or between several cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Bake for around 15 minutes or until the cake is golden.

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I added sprinkles to the cake mix to make the cake a bit multicoloured

To decorate the cake sandwich together the 2 cakes with the jam.

DSC_0056DSC_0057Whisk together the butter, milk and icing sugar together to make buttercream. If you whisk the buttercream enough it goes a lovely pale colour. I always like to add the buttercream to cakes in excess and then smooth the whole thing over taking buttercream off as I go until its in a smooth even layer.

DSC_0058DSC_0060To finish off add sprinkles and candles.

DSC_0062Serve with an enthusiastic round of “Happy birthday to you”

DSC_0063To decorate the cupcakes just do the same thing but add food colouring to the buttercream (I have just discovered gel colouring and I am a fan, although my nails are now pretty blue). Decorate the cupcakes with a swirl using a flat knife, if like we you’re in a hurry and have no time to pipe. I topped my cakes with silver balls and some Dr Who decorations (we might be 27 now but we’re both big fans).

DSC_0070DSC_0074The only thing left to do under the circumstances is to eat the cake.

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