Sunday, 9 October 2011
Twihards are surely itchy to correct the title of this cake having seen the pictures. I may be calling this a 'Twilight' Cake but I do know that it is in fact based on the 'Breaking Dawn' book cover, the final installment of the series. I wanted to do something special for my little sister's birthday and after tossing plenty of ideas around I settled on a Twilight theme - she is literally obsessed with the books and movies- but didn't know how to represent it on a cake. As fun as it sounded to try to sculpt Robert Pattinson out of ready roll icing I considered it a little beyond my capabilities (Let's face it, only God's hands could do justice to that work of art). You can buy cake decorations with characters from the movies on them, but you know what, I think cakes are like Halloween costumes, they are so much better when they are homemade with a bit of thought and humour than some generic outfit you can buy in a joke shop or on the internet. So I went with the book cover which seemed really do-able and more true to the story of the book. In researching this cake I learned that the pawn and queen chess pieces are a metaphor for Bella's progression in the series, moving from being a weak character to finally being the strongest, 'the queen'. I can almost feel the eyes rolling as I mention 'researching' the cake!
For the Devil's Food Cake
4 tbsp cocoa powder
175ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter, softened
350g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
125ml soured cream
For the Buttercream
75g butter, softened and diced
1 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180o C. Put the cocoa into a heatproof bowl and mix to a smooth liquid with the boiling water. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.
Break up the chocolate into another heatproof bowl and either melt over a pan of steaming water or, if you're lazy like me, in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring all the time.
Beat the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until very light. There is quite a lot of sugar in proportion to the butter so give it a good beating to break it down. Beat the eggs and vanilla with a fork until broken up, then add to the butter mixture a tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour, then fold in in 3 batches, alternatively with the soured cream. Mix the cocoa liquid into the melted chocolate, then fold into the cake mixture. When thoroughly combined- no streaks visible- divide the mixture between 2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins, greased and lined with baking paper.
The book says to bake for 30 minutes until risen and just firm and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, but I needed to bake for about 50 minutes. It could be my oven so bake for 30 minutes and test, but be aware that the cake may need more baking.
Run a bladed knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges and turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cold slice horizontally. Make up some buttercream (I tinted it red) by creaming the icing sugar, butter and milk. Sandwich the cakes together with the buttercream.
To decorate mould the queen and chess pieces out of ready roll icing having tinted red and white respectively.
The chessboard takes a bit of planning. Measure the face of the cake and divide into equal squares, you may need to leave a border either side. My cake face was 23cm so I left a 1cm border each side and then split the 21cm into 7 x 3cm squares. Melt 5 tbsp of apricot jam and brush the cake with it. This will help the icing to stick to the cake. Cover the cake with white ready roll icing rolled out quite thinly. Measure the cake face and allow for icing to drape over the side. I tied a ribbon around the edge of the cake so I didn't need the icing to totally cover the sides- a neat cheater's trick! Smooth over with your fingers to smooth out bubbles.
Cut out the black squares according to your calculations- mine were 3cm squared. Use a ruler to set the squares on the cake, leaving gaps for the quite checkerboard squares. I didn't need to stick the squares down, I found they stuck themselves. Arrange the queen and pawn and tie the red ribbon around the cake.