As many of you who follow me will have seen, my twist on a victoria sponge cake was one of my most successful birthday cakes. But as the summer holidays set in, and the birthday season amongst my friends comes to a close, I thought I might share with you some of the cakes I made for both mine and my friends’ birthdays this year.
I’m not normally a huge fan of going overboard with a cake’s decorations, I prefer to keep them simple and elegant, to save me the intensive time decorating, and to save the people who are eating the cake from the dreadful fondant icing that is draped over almost every birthday cake ever. Don’t get me wrong, it has its uses, but I personally think it tastes gross!
For my birthday I made two cakes, one for my actual birthday drinks, and the other for a birthday meal with different friends later in the week. I found that bundt tins, once again were my saviour, and my housemate kindly gave me the most beautiful bundt tin I have ever seen (and had secretly had my eye on for about a year in Lakelands). I know I might receive judgement for using packet mix for both of my personal birthday cakes, but I was promised one by a friend who later realised she had no time to make it, so I ultimately had to ‘whip one up’, and the other I had to quickly make before a job interview on my birthday! I hope you can forgive me for my cheating 😛 Packet mixes can come in useful when you lack the time to measure out each ingredient and literally just want to bung it in the oven, and using a bundt tin meant no buttercream was needed to sandwich together layers.
For my first cake I whipped up a quick caramel glaze icing to drizzle over the top of my box mix toffee cake:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup unsalted butter
1-2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered/confectioners’ sugar)
In a saucepan, mix the brown sugar, butter and milk together with a whisk.
Whisk constantly over the heat until it is just brought to boil.
Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and cool for 10 minutes.
Add the icing sugar.
Whisk until drizzling consistency.
If the glaze is too thick, add more milk. Too thin, then add more icing sugar.
Then drizzle over the cake!
The recipe I adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet suggests double the amount I used, but I only had 1/4 cup of brown sugar left in my cupboard so I just halved the recipe and replaced the pecans she topped with with flaked almonds, as again, that was all I had to hand.
My second cake was using a packet sponge mix with a dab of cocoa added in, but use whatever cake mix/recipe you prefer. This time I made a chocolate ganache to drizzle on top, drizzled ready made carnation caramel on top of that, and scattered the top with crushed oreos, flaked almonds and silver ball decorations. It was certainly more indulgent than my previous cake!
I was sad that I made too much batter for this cake so that the sides got a little burnt, but I managed to scrape it off or hide it with the glaze. The chocolate ganache is a simple recipe of equal parts double cream to chocolate, so I used 200g chocolate to 200ml cream.
Finally comes my masterpiece. It had a secret layer of smarties in the centre which escaped when cut open, 2 layers of chocolate cake with a vanilla sponge in between, topped with mini marshmallows, and was surrounded by milk and white chocolate mikado. It took me several hours, but it was my best cake to date.
The recipe is just 1 batch of my vanilla sponge recipe and 1 batch of Mary Berry’s chocolate cake recipe! I didn’t change it one bit because Mary Berry is my baking goddess. She is one of my favourite chefs!
But yes, I hope you guys feel inspired to make some showstoppers of your own, as I’ve shown here, it can be quite simple to create something beautiful!