There have been lots of very grown-up things happening at work lately. People keep getting engaged and/or married, having babies, leaving to go and work for a big scary law firm. That kind of thing. So, in order to mark these life-changing events in appropriate style, I cooked up the most ludicrously childish cake (aesthetically).
Having decided roughly how I wanted the cake to look, I chose to do the chocolate and raspberry cake I did for Cat’s 30th birthday, particularly because it gave a really dark colour and a delicious, sophisticated flavour. There are LOTS of people in the office these days, so I went for a whopping 10” version with three layers. This was a beast of a cake. Pretty vulgar, actually.
First things first, though: some hidden sponge balls in Smarties colours.
I made up a two egg Victoria sponge mix. (For those of you who haven’t a clue what I mean: 1. Weigh two eggs in their shells, then weigh out the same quantity of unsalted butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour; 2. Beat sugar and butter until pale; 3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each; 4. Add flour and beat just until combined.) Next, I weighed the mixture into five bowls and coloured each to be as close to the colour of a Smartie as possible. (Can one singularise “Smarties”? Is “singularise” a word? “Pluralise” is… I digress.)
I scooped the mixture untidily into a cake pop thingy, which I had never used before. (As a side-note, those of you who know me will chuckle gleefully as you think about how much my error in loading the thingy irks me. I’m trying not to dwell on it.)
Also, next time, I will know to push it together firmly in the middle so that all of them are completely round. I had some funky shapes going on.
Next, I mixed a GIANT batch of chocolate cake mix and poured a bit in the bottom of each tin, laid the sponge balls on top, then covered them with more cake mix, ensuring that no colour peeped through.
At this point – approximately 10.30pm – I realised that my oven wouldn’t accommodate all three 10” tins in one go. FACEPALM. I baked in shifts, covered the baked sponges with a clean tea-towel overnight while they cooled, then wrapped them in cling film the next morning so that they kept well until I could pile them up that evening. I didn’t take pictures because they just looked like plain chocolate sponges – not exciting. Whilst waiting for the batches to bake, I sat and sorted an absurd number of Smarties into colours to make the decorative bit quicker.
The next evening, I made up a ½ batch of raspberry sauce and a 1½ batch of chocolate ganache from the other recipe, refrigerating the latter for a good while until it was thick enough to spread.
I located the middle of the cake and started poking Smarties vertically into the ganache. NB: If you’re planning to do similar, make sure you put the Smarties on at the last possible moment, as they will quickly fade and lose their crispness because of the moisture in the ganache. My careful Dulux-worth colour matching turned out to be almost entirely pointless. Mrgh.