Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cake of the Week - a chocolate Barca cake (in away colours)

Of course, my cake of the week just HAD to be Monkey's birthday cake. The origins of this cake go back a whole year actually, and I like to think comparing these two cakes will give you an idea of where I have gone with baking over the last year and also displays how great tutorials and recipes from other bloggers can really make a difference.

So, last year, when Monkey turned 6, we took him to Barcelona for the weekend as husband was running his first marathon and he had asked to go. Whilst we were there, we took him to see Barcelona play and I took him to the museum during the morning of the marathon, once husband had run past where we were staying and before we went to see him cross the finish line.

His birthday wasn't until just after we came back so I had time to make him a cake and I came up with the idea of turning into a Barcelona cake like this:

Which at the time, I was pretty impressed with. All I did was buy some ready to roll icing and the blue and red seemed to be close to Barcelona home colours and then of course, cut out the 6 from yellow icing, adding an offcut that looks mysteriously NOT like a football. Monkey loved it, especially as he had no idea I was making it and it was a bit of a spur of the moment late night decision which I basically winged my way through. 

At the time, we teased Monkey that if he'd been a year older, he could have had a David Villa cake as his squad number was 7. This is because when we were out there, he chose an away shirt with David Villa's name on the back as a present. You can see him in it here. 

Fast forward a year, and when I asked Monkey what kind of cake he wanted, his answer was unequivocal: a David Villa cake, in the away colours of his shirt, which is now so last season. Hey ho. So, this is how I did it, with links to recipes or instructions that I used. 

First, I made a chocolate cake. My go to recipe at the moment is on The Pink Whisk by the lovely Ruth. Yes, the recipe is for chocolate muffins but Ruth says you can use the same quantities to split between two 20cm/8 inch sandwich tins. I actually make it in a single tin, cook it for about an hour. I allow it to cool in the tin, so that I can shave the top level, then slice it in two, admittedly not very straight. 

Then, I referred again to Ruth's blog to follow instructions for covering the cake with sugarpaste. This can be summarised by saying having levelled and sliced it, I sandwiched the cakes with chocolate buttercream, chilled the cake, topped it with icing and spread it around the sides then chilled it again. Having bought the same pack of ready to roll icing, I realised my mistake in that there was far too little green for the job, but I ran out to the supermarket and bought some white sugarpaste and kneaded about half of it into the green and very quickly, it became evenly coloured. It probably was about right as the green needed to be lighter than the stuff in the packet. I rolled it out, and learned that I need to keep turning it or it sticks very easily, even if you have lightly dusted your workspace! Placing it on the cake is always a nervy moment but I get there and it's never as perfect as Ruth's final result but it will do. 

Next, I needed to do the red and blue flash that was on the front. For this, Monkey had given me his shirt for me to work from which was actually quite handy. I rolled out the red icing into an oblong shape, then trimmed it to the width I wanted and cutting it to the desired angle on the right hand side. I rolled out the blue icing and again trimmed it to the width I needed, overlapped it onto the red icing so I made sure when I cut that side, it was at the same angle. Then I fixed them both to the bottom third of the cake, using a few dabs of water from a clean paintbrush, another trick I learned from Ruth. I made sure they lined up against each other. 

For the lettering, I had thought ahead enough to go and buy number and letter cutters from Dunelm Mill a few days before, so I rolled out the rest of the blue icing, cut out the lettering I needed, and again fixed them to the cake with a bit of water. This was the nerviest part, making sure I got the spacing about right and I wished that I'd made a bigger cake at this point! 

Once it was done, I was ready to go for a lie down. 

And here it is, with candles on Monkey's big day.

And do take a look at Cake of the Week, over on Helen's blog.
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