Piñata Cake

I’ve always wanted to bake a Pinata Cake.  I’d seen loads of them on the internet but never had chance to bake one until last year.  There is a really fab Pinata Cake recipe in the second Clandestine Cake Club book “A Year Of Cake”. In fact it’s the cake picture which adorns the front cover.  People wonder how you manage to get the sweets or chocolates inside the cake in the first place.  My son asked if you get to beat the cake with a stick like a traditional Pinata until it breaks and the sweets fall out! Er no, you’d end up with crumbs but the idea is the same. You cut up the cake and a load of sweets fall out of the middle that you’re not expecting to be there.

In the Easter holidays it was my turn to be on my local WI Supper Rota. I usually choose to do this when there is a meeting which falls during the school holidays. I bake a couple of cakes.  There was a mix up over the supper rota but that’s another story.  Normally I wouldn’t bake anything so fancy and highly decorated but I had the ingredients in already and they needed using up.

The original Pinata Cake recipe is a chocolate sponge but I chose to bake a vanilla one.  The icing is made up of double cream whipped up with two packets of Angel Delight.  I hadn’t eaten Angel Delight for years. It was always something we had at my Nana Margaret’s house.  Nana Margaret was my Dad’s mum and she was a dreadful cook.  She nearly gave us food poisoning with raw burgers. My poor grandad must have had iron guts.  One day he nearly broke his tooth eating a rock hard apple pie which my Nana had put in the microwave for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds.  At least she didn’t bodge up making Angel Delight.

To bake a Pinata cake you need to bake four layers of sponge. When these are cooled and turned out of the tins onto the rack you need to find a large circular biscuit cutter and cut a hole in the centre of two of the cakes. The other two are left whole.  To assemble the cake you spread a layer of Angel Delight icing on top of one of the whole cakes. Then place the first of the cakes with the hole cut out of it and repeat with the cream layer. Do this again with the other cake with a hole in the middle. Finally add some more cream.  Before you put the top layer on you need to fill the hole full of your chosen sweets.  The original recipe showed Smarties in the middle but I reckon any sweets or chocolates would look amazing. I used a large packet of Haribo Starmix inside mine.

It took iron will power not to get a spoon and start eating the icing there and then. I used two packets of strawberry flavoured Angel Delight although I reckon any flavour would taste great. Last year I baked a similar cake with Banana Angel Delight. This made it yellow and the inside was decorated with Haribo Minion sweets.  The top of the cake was decorated with blue sprinkles.  For this cake I raided my baking cupboard and found a couple of random jars of sprinkles which needed finishing off.

img_2045
The Pinata Cake uses Angel Delight and double cream as the basis of the icing.
The top of my Pinata Cake used lots of random sprinkles I had left in my baking cupboard.

Of course because of there being a mix up over the WI Supper Rota I thought I was on the list but I wasn’t. I turned up at the village hall and one of the ladies said I wasn’t doing it. As I had spent my entire day off baking and decorating three cakes I was extremely annoyed. When one lady said they had enough cakes and to put them back in the car I was so angry and upset. She also said well you could freeze them.  I told her I was taking them in, I had been baking all day and I had no room for them at home. Not only that but only one out of the three cakes was suitable for freezing.  My friend took pity on me and said I could sell them at the meeting. So that’s what happened. The three cakes were sold to cover the cost of my ingredients.  This also meant that I didn’t get to take a photo of the cake with all the sweets spilling out of it when it was cut.  I never mentioned to the lady that bought it about the inside of the cake so she would have had a surprise when she cut into it.  Next time maybe?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Cooking The Books March 2014- Chocolate Birthday Cake from A Passion For Baking.

Now for the last challenge in my Cooking The Books challenge using Jo Wheatley’s  A Passion For Baking.  I had already signed up to take part in a Virtual Cake Event with The Clandestine Cake Club which was taking place this weekend.  This is designed for members who can’t always get along to a cake club or if there isn’t one in their local area.  I love taking part and this month was a great theme- Sweet Shop Fantasy!  As soon as I signed up I began to think about what sweets I could use in and on a cake.  After lots of choosing I narrowed it down to two favourites: Percy Pigs from Marks and Spencers and Revels.  Though I nearly went with Maltesers but then again I wanted a cake flavour I’d never made before. So, to tick off more than one box I chose to bake a recipe from A Passion For Baking using the Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe in the Celebration Cakes chapter of the book.

My daughter was working today and was out all afternoon so my son came and asked if he could bake me a Mother’s Day cake.  I explained that I only had enough eggs and butter in to make a chocolate sweetie cake but if he wanted to he could bake this cake for me. He has made a chocolate cake before and did a great job so I let him loose in my kitchen!

025
Choice of sweetie decorations? Do we go for Revels or Percy Pigs? Or both?

Well, first things first! If you’re a sweet toothed gal like me, DO NOT open the packets and put the sweets into a bowl to make them easier to handle. This is fatal!  As soon as that packet was open, my hand slid over to the bowl. Once I had tasted one Percy Pig, then I had to have another.. and another!  My son did the same. Before we knew it half the packet of Revels and Percy Pigs had disappeared down our cakeholes!  So I went into my baking cupboard and found a couple of packets of M&M’s!  These were meant to go in cookies donated to a coffee morning over the Easter holidays.  Now there would be enough to go on the cake.

My son, who is nearly 14 really enjoys being in the kitchen and sometimes cooks the tea on a Saturday night or bakes the odd cake for us.  He did ask me for instructions like “What does creaming mean?” and he asked if he was doing the chocolate ganache right for the icing. He was. I didn’t need to stand over him or watch him as I knew he would be fine.

037
My son decorating the chocolate cake with ganache.
038
The ganache (melted plain chocolate and double cream) filled and topped the cake. He then added the sweets to the top of the cake.

039

040
Percy Pig sweets were put in the middle and round the edge of the cake with all the Revels and the M&M’s round the outside.
041
Once decorated we had a slice with a cup of tea as a mid afternoon Mother’s Day treat. It was gorgeous.
043
Ooops! Naughty, naughty! I caught my son nicking some M&M’s off the top of the cake!
045
Get your hands off my cake!!!
046
The rest of the cake what was left over. Put away in a tin for another time. Don’t think it will last long though!

I was very impressed with the flavour of the cake and the bright sweetie colours against the dark brown chocolate.  Definitely a Sweet Shop Fantasy for me and a wonderful treat for Mother’s Day.  Back on that diet again tomorrow- famous last words!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Mocha Hedgehog Birthday Cake.

Who had a chocolate hedgehog birthday cake as a child?  I can’t remember having one myself but I do remember my mum making me a Mr Greedy cake when I was about 6 or 7!  It was iced with pink buttercream and I loved it as I was a huge fan of the Mr Men.  (The Little Misses hadn’t been invented then, shows how old I am doesn’t it?)  I have made chocolate hedgehog cakes for others though I never made one for my own children.  They ended up with things like pirate ships and mermaids.

Both my Dad and my step-mum celebrate their birthdays in December and with it being close to Christmas they sometimes miss out on their own birthday cakes.  So as they were coming over to our house for a birthday dinner I decided they just had to have a fun birthday cake.

I decided to test out the Chocolate Mocha Hedgehog Cake recipe from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.  It was baked in a different way to the way I had baked mine.  I had used a half sphere mould or a pudding basin to give the rounded shape in the past.  This recipe involved baking a round sandwich cake and cutting it in half.  It had the extra flavour of the coffee in it and I was pleased that it was a chocolate buttercream for the icing rather than a ganache.  My step mum can’t eat cream so a ganache topping was out.

Starting off the cake- I put butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a spoonful of Camp coffee essence into my KitchenAid.
Starting off the cake- I put butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a spoonful of Camp coffee essence into my KitchenAid.
060
I greased and lined one of my 20cm diameter cake tins.
061
The cake mixture was ready to spoon into the tin.
062
Once the mixture was in the tin, I levelled it with a spatula and put it in the oven to bake.
063
Out of the oven and cooling down on the side. The cake took about 35 minutes to bake.
064
Once it had cooled down I cut the cake in half vertically so that it made two semi-circles.
065
Now, on with the filling and icing. This was made by beating margarine, a spoonful of Camp Coffee, icing sugar and cocoa powder together in the mixer.

Now to assemble the hedgehog cake.  I sandwiched the two halves together using some of the mocha chocolate icing. So far so good.  When I put the cake on its side it definitely did not look like a hedgehog.  It looked far too flat.  I was meant to carve some cake off each side but me being thick couldn’t work out WHICH side I was meant to cut.  The hedgehog looked like it had been squashed trying to squeeze through a gate or door!  Oh well.  Also the recipe said to use two bags of chocolate buttons but it did not specify which size bag to use.  I thought it meant the standard size bags you buy individually.  I only just had enough buttons to cover my flat hedgehog.  To create the hedgehog’s eyes and nose I used some Skittles.  The recipe mentioned using Smarties but I hadn’t got any so Skittles had to do.  The eyes looked a bit small and lost, so I tried to make a big nose.  It looked a right mess.  My son came in and started laughing at the hedgehog saying it looked stupid.

066
My flat and rather cross-eyed hedgehog.
067
I only just had enough Chocolate Buttons to cover the cake and give the hedgehog his prickles.
068
I thought this could be an ideal shape for a mouse in future.

My Dad and step mum loved the cake and we all had a little bit after dinner. They then took most of it home in a plastic box to finish it off. As the cake had the coffee flavour it wouldn’t be ideal for very young children, better for someone who is a child at heart.  I really enjoyed the cake, despite it’s appearance and it tasted fab.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx