I was a big fan of Enid Blyton books when I was little – from the Magic Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair series, to the Famous Five and Secret Seven, and, of course, the Malory Towers books. I’d be wanting to re-use my castle mould for a long time, it’s only had one bake since I bought it – see my Chocolate Lego Castle Cake from last year.
This time I was determined to make a good, stable, and plentiful recipe – it’s a huge mould so does need quite a big mix. I seem to remember last time never quite having enough mixture, and having to keep mixing up more batches to add to the top! I started with a bundt cake recipe, as this has the same kinds of volume and lightness I was after, and scaled it up to fit the capacity of the mould, which was about 3 litres.
Ingredients – to fit 3 litre castle silicon mould or similar
4 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
525g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
375ml low fat yoghurt
– Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl
– Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a teaspoon of flour each time to prevent curdling
– Add half the yoghurt and half the remaining flour, mix, add the remainder, and mix again.
Technically you should fold in the flour and yoghurt but I found this to be a bit challenging with so much mixture! Even my Breville mixture was struggling by the end – but the texture wasn’t affected by beating instead of folding.
– Prepare your mould/tin by greasing it very well. I used a cake release spray to get in all the corners and crevasses, and made sure it all had a good, thick coating. Then, dust with a layer of flour, and turn upside down to shake off the excess
– Pour the mixture in the tin, no need to spread it out as the weight will make it flow into all the corners. You’ll see that this recipe didn’t quite fill up the mould, I didn’t get the steps to the castle, if you wanted this you’d need to scale up the recipe by another 20% or so.
– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cover the top of the mould in greaseproof paper – this will stop the top from cooking too quickly and burning, and also prevent the middle from rising too much and giving you an uneven base
– Overall my cake too around 1 1/2 hours to cook. After 45 minutes, check to see how it is getting on. The top will look cooked but if a skewer or similar is inserted you’ll see the inside is not done.
Return to the oven and check back every 10-15 minutes, again inserting a clean skewer (I use the back of thin teaspoon) to see if it’s done. If it comes out completely clean, the cake is cooked, if not, it’s not! Be sure to test a different part of the cake every time, and push your skewer down into the very centre of the cake as this is the bit that will cook last.
– Leave to cool for at least an hour before gently easing out. It may be tempting but the cake is more likely to break when it’s hot. After leaving mine for a couple of hours and it turned out perfectly – I was so happy! The excess flour you can see in a couple of parts brushed off easily the next morning.
The texture of this cake was perfect and I’d definitely use again – easily changing the flavour with some cocoa powder; orange or lemon rind and juice; spices such as ginger, cinnamon; coconut… the list is endless!
To ice, I wanted a flavour that would complement the vanilla, but also a look that would go with the brickwork effect of the castle.
I’ve used the Primrose Bakery‘s caramel icing recipe many times, it bubbles up wonderfully to a delicious sugary brown and cools to a lovely smooth texture. I adapted it slightly here to thin down slightly so it would flow into the intricate design of the cake a bit better.
350g soft brown sugar
350g icing sugar
– Put the milk, butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, and heat on high until boiling. Stirring constantly, allows to boil for one minute.
– Take off the heat and beat in half the icing sugar, sieved. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before beating in the remaining icing sugar.
– Continue cooling until it reaches the consistency desired for your cake. If it cools too much and gets too thick to pour or spread, simply heat up again for a few seconds at a time.
I covered my cake using a combination of pouring and spooning over and into the detailed sections, all with the cake on a wire rack over a cling film-covered baking tray, to catch any drips. It was quite a sticky job so no in-progress photos!
For the finishing touches, I added black gel colour to some chocolate fondant, and cut out the required shapes.
Windows for the towers:
… and of course a suitably grand front door!
And for a final finishing touch, well, no castle is complete with flags!
And, flags or no, I think it’s a pretty good replica of Lulworth Castle, which the Malory Towers books are rumoured to be based on.
This months cake club was held at the lovely Kay’s Tea Room in Willington – a delightful little venue and one I’ll definitely be returning to.
And the selection of cakes was equally as fab – with lashings of ginger beer of course!
How amazing are these Famous Five figurines?
And the castle went down such a treat! Out of that huge cake there was just a lone tower left for me to take home to Rob.