I blogged yesterday about our zero-waste (ish), zero-spend (ish) party for BigSmall. And showed you all a picture of the cake.
Here’s how we did it.
I adapted Nigella’s Coffee and Walnut Cake recipe from her Kitchen book.
This is what you need for the cake (you will need to make two batches of this):
- 225g butter at room temperature
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 large free range eggs
- 200g plain flour
- 2.5 tsps baking powder
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1-2 tbsps milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- food colouring-I decided to just buy the primary colours, and use them to create the other colours needed. I bought the pastes, as I think these give a much better colour, without adding lots of extra liquid to the mix
- smarties-2-3 tubes
This is what you need for the buttercream:
- 250g softened butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsps milk
This is what you do for the cake:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)
- Grease and line the base of 2 8″ sandwich tins (if you have 3 that are the same size, use 3!)
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs and mix well
- Add the flour, baking powder and bicarb and mix well
- Add the vanilla, and enough milk to make a ‘dropping consistency’
This is what you do for the buttercream:
- Cream together the butter and icing sugar
- Add the vanilla extract, and enough milk to make the buttercream spreadable
- Whiz for several minutes
I divided this mix into three bowls (I just did it by eye), and then set about with the colours.
In the first bowl, I added about half a tsp of red colouring (remember it’s easy to add colour if it’s not strong enough, but hard to take it away if you’ve added too much!).
To the second, I added yellow.
And to the third, I added red and yellow (about a quarter of a tsp each), to make orange!
I only had 2 tins, so I baked them 2 at a time, they each took about 20 minutes, but check after 15.
While they are cooking, make another batch of cake mix, and this time add:
Blue to the first bowl
Blue and yellow to the second, to make green
Blue and red to the third, to make purple.
The whole time I kept reciting “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain” to remind me of the colours, and the order (I decided to amalgamate Indigo and Violet into Purple)
I baked 2 colours at a time, and turned them out to cool on a baking rack.
Don’t panic when they come out of the oven with the colours looking very subdued. The outside goes quite brown, but the inside will still be vibro!
Allow to cool completely before assembling.
- Start with the bottom layer (purple) and put it on the plate/board that you are going to present the cake on
- Use a round pastry/cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle. I did this by eye, and used a 5cm diameter cutter
- Place this purple layer on top of the next layer (blue), and use the hole as a template to make sure you get all the holes lining up
- Continue until all your layers have a hole in them, except the red one. Leave the red (top) layer intact
- I was worried about the smarties for the pinata element losing their colour if I assembled the whole thing the day before, so I assembled it in two stages:
1) Assemble the whole cake except for the top layer.
Place the purple layer on the plate/board that you are going to present the cake on
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top, and place the blue layer on top of this, making sure the holes line up
Repeat, with the next layer being green, then yellow, then orange, with a thin buttercream layer in between each, and the holes all aligned
Apply a thin layer of icing around the whole cylinder, and then put the whole thing in the fridge for an hour or two.
Ice the top and sides of the red layer seperately, and place that in the fridge too.
You should have quite a bit of buttercream left, cover this and keep it in the fridge.
2) A couple of hours before you are ready to finish your cake, take the buttercream out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. Once it has, whiz if for a couple of minutes until it is nice and spreadable.
Take both bits of your cake out of the fridge.
Tip smarties down the ‘tube’ of holes in the bottom bit of the cake, and fill it right up to the top. I think our cake used about 2 tubes.
Sit the red layer on top (you might need to level off the top of the yellow layer to get the top piece to sit flat.
Use the rest of the buttercream to ice around the whole cake, and over the top layer. A pallet knife is useful to get a nice smooth finish.
I decorated around the bottom of the cake with a line of smarties, and also iced numbers on the top, to try and make the top look vaguely like a stopwatch to fit with the theme of the party!
Did that all make sense?!