Birthday cakes need to be a bit special, involve lots of sweets and, at our place, be mainly based on the idea of chocolate overload. At the moment, Lego Ninjago is the Birthday boy’s current obsession. I’m not too good at cutting out shapes from sponge cake and icing with different colours. I’ve actually never purchased food colouring (although I expect there’s plenty in the smarties) it just looks a bit chemical when it’s sitting in it’s little bottle. Kind of like not minding eating a rabbit stew when it’s served up in an Italian trattoria but not wanting to buy a whole rabbit to cook myself I guess.
I find, the easiest way to incorporate the kids favourite thing in their birthday cake is to literally stick the toys on the cake with a side helping of sweets. Not as impressive as creating a cake ‘the the shape of’ but a lot less stress. Let’s face it , all the kids really want to do is pick the sweets off the top anyway!
For this cake you can use any kind of sponge. I tend to return to the birthday cake recipe of my childhood (or close to it) which came from The Dairy Cookbook. This one is just under a cup of butter creamed with just under a cup of sugar, 3 eggs, a cup and a half of self raising flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa with a splash of milk. Rather randomly it also had half a cup of prune puree because the outer cakes are gluten free almond, chocolate, prune and orange cakes so that the man of the house could be included in the festivities and I had some leftover prune puree. However, given the number of children who can be expected to lick the icing off and pick off the sweets it’s not exactly worth making a masterpiece of a sponge unless it is with the polishing off of the leftovers yourself in mind (which is indeed always at the back of my mind).
The icing is melted milk chocolate, a little spoon of yogurt, cocoa and icing sugar. Just because.
So, part one.. ‘Rise of the snakes’ Chocolate cake, chocolate icing, smarties, fruit jellies and an outer ring of chocolate , prune, orange and almond cakes (at home for birthday supper).
Part two; ‘Rise of the snakes’ Large chocolate cake with chocolate icing, smarties and fruit jellies (for the party…no gluten free on this one as we don’t have any gf guests coming and the man of the house will be too busy entertaining a bunch of 5 year olds to eat cake.. still have some leftover cupcakes for later)