Sunday, 17 January 2016

How to make a hidden "number" cake (and what to do with the leftover cake...)

This is the (very delayed!) final installment of all the cakes I made for D's recent 3rd birthday...

And these extra treats I made from the leftovers. Mmmm

Anyway onto the recipes!

Number 3 cake

As soon as I saw a pic of a similar cake I knew I had to try it. This was my first attempt and although I'm really pleased with how it turned out I would definitely do a few things differently next time.

What you need:
Ingredients for pound cake
Ingredients for sponge cake (I cheated and used a Betty Crocker cake mix)
Buttercream icing

Pound cake ingredients:
250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
225g caster sugar
250g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 medium eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. First make your pound cake
- beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and vanilla essence and beat until pale and creamy
- add the eggs one at a time
- gently mix in the flour and baking powder
- if you want to have coloured sponge , add the colour now and mix well
- to make multi-coloured cakes I divided the mixture into 4 bowls, coloured each a different colour and then layered them in the cake pan
- spoon into the cake pan and smooth with the back of a spoon

2. Cook the pound cake for 50-60 minutes at 160 degrees (fan). Once cooked remove it from oven, leave it to cool for 10 minutes and the turn it out onto a cooling rack.
3. Once it is completely cool, wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the freezer for at least an hour.
4. Then remove, unwrap and cut into thick slices. Using the cookie cutter, cut a number 3 out of each slice 

5. Save all the discarded sponge (you can use them later...) and put all the 3s on a lined baking tray and freeze again while you do the next steps

6. Make your second cake mix. I used a packet sponge mix, you could also make another pound cake mix of you wanted (but I thought that might be a bit heavy for little people) and you can add a different colour to this sponge if you like
7. Line the cake pan with baking paper and add a small layer of the second cake mix. Then line all the 3s up, so they are standing in a row

8. Next fill the pan with the remainder of the uncooked cake mix. I found it easiest to do this with a no-nozzle piping bag because the 3 had lots of nooks and crannies and I wanted to make sure no air pockets formed
9. Make sure you cover all of the cooked pound cake
10. Cook according to whichever sponge cake recipe you use but be prepared for it to take much longer to cook. I started checking with the skewer test at the allotted time but ended up cooking it for about another 20 minutes 

11. Leave it to cool completely before icing it (I couldn't wait til the party to see if it had worked so cut the end off to have a sneaky peek!)

Yay success!!

12. Dirty ice with a layer of buttercream icing and refrigerate while you prepare the fondant
13. Sprinkle a little cornflour on your work surface and roll out the fondant. I made the marbled effect by squishing together different coloured rolls

14. Cover your cake and smooth down the sides and corners and decorate as desired - I cut out some small stars, brushed their backs with water and stuck them on

Don't worry that the inside cake will dry out with the second lot of cooking. The advantage of using pound cake is that it remains very moist throughout - definitely no dryness anywhere. 

What would I change?
Firstly I'd use a smaller number cookie cutter. I bought a bigger one as didn't want the 3 to get lost in the cake but actually it ended up being a bit big for the cake tin and only just got covered by cake!
I'd also cover it with white icing and then maybe add multi-coloured stars. I wasn't very happy with how the coloured icing turned out but by that time it was midnight and so I wasn't going to change it!
Otherwise I was pretty happy :)

Leftover cake pops

Remember all that lovely colourful sponge you discarded in step 5 above? Well fear not, now you get to use it!

Leftover sponge
Leftover buttercream icing (or make more if you've run out - recipe HERE)
Cake pop sticks
Candy melts/chocolate to melt

1. Using a cheese grater, grate the bits of cooked sponge until they are crumbs
2. Mix in the buttercream icing, one teaspoon at a time. How much you'll need depends on the amount of crumbs you have (you can see how much I used in the picture below) - you can always add more icing but you can't take it away if you've put too much in and don't have any more cake crumbs!! 
3. Mix the icing and crumbs together really well until you have roughly a playdoh-type consistency
4. Be aware that if you use coloured buttercream, your cake pops will also be coloured, rather than the colour of the sponge. So if you want sponge colour to shine through use white icing (I used green icing mainly because I had some leftover from D's monster cake but the cake pops did then end up very green!)
5. Once your cake mix is ready, roll out small balls using your hands and insert a cake pop stick
6. Place the cake pops on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and put in the freezer while you're doing the next steps
7. Prepare some sort of receptacle to stand your finished cake pops in. As you can see in the photo below I used half a pumpkin (it was around Halloween so we had a few lying around!) with a few holes poked in it!
8. Melt your chocolate (I used green candy melts and melted them in the microwave)
9. Pour a big pile of sprinkles on a plate
10. Retrieve your cake pops from the freezer
11. One at a time cover them
In chocolate (either dip them in or spoon it over them) and quickly roll them in the sprinkles plate
12. Stand them upright in your chosen receptacle to harden


Yum :)

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