While The Cat’s Away…

Rob is in Scotland today & tomorrow doing a couple of gigs, and with him gone I did what any girl naturally would with a free weekend… shop!

This is just what I bought baking wise, I won’t show the rest – (half in hope that I can sneak it into my wardrobe without Rob noticing 😉

Did someone say cake pops….?

But my absolute favourite purchase has got to be these super cute teacup shaped silicon moulds. Just IMAGINE how amazing my cupcakes will look in these!

And the best part? They were the amazing price of £1 for a set of 2! I’m not enamoured by the ‘saucers’ that they came with, they’re quite cheap plastic and don’t add much, but perhaps I can borrow some of Rob’s paints and jazz them up.
At this price I couldn’t resist and bought 3 sets… but am already wishing I got more. Maybe a return trip tomorrow is on the cards!

All in all I’d call it a pretty productive day (Rob will call it expensive… here’s hoping he doesn’t actually read my blog!), and I can’t wait to try them all out. Watch this space…!

King of the Castle Chocolate Cake

Another week, another birthday. I don’t know what it is about July (9 months before April)… but babies and birthdays seem to be all over the place at the moment!

This one was for my lovely friend Matt, and to tie in with a joint party themed “When I grow up”. I had been racking my brains for a while when inspiration suddenly sprung up in the middle of the supermarket, and this wonderful silicon castle mould somehow fell into my shopping trolley 🙂

Baking the cake was more of a challenge – there was an awful lot of mould to fill with cake mix! A quick google on how best to use it bought me to this rather lovely blog, and some very hand tips on what kind of cake to use (muffin, good call!), greasing etc.

In the end I probably ended up using about 2 1/2 times a normal cake mix. It was very loosely based on this recipe, which I really have to advise should be taken with a pinch of salt. There is definitely not enough sugar in it, and too much bicarb / baking soda. I had to really call on my baking skills to get the lovely chocolate-y taste back from it being too acidic from these two!

Still, mix made, it went in the oven for the arduous task of cooking. I gave it about 40 minutes, then checked again every 10 minutes by inserting a skewer. Honestly I couldn’t say how long it ended up taking – definitely over an hour altogether.

Next step was a little tricky – getting it out the mould! I wish I had taken some of the advice I’d seen online and invested in some Wilton Cake Release. There was a lot of prodding with knives, shaking the mould, tugging, poking, easing… and finally it came out!

Overall pretty impressive – although sadly one of the back turrets stayed firmly in the mould. Not to be too disappointed though, this gave me a chance to taste the immense muffin mixture!

I was incredibly impressed with the detail that came out of the mould; having seen some other photos online I’d consider using it again and not covering the whole cake, just highlighting details with writing icing etc.

The more observant among you will notice these details don’t show up on the finished cake – it was a bit of a buttercream free-for-all!

The buttercream was a simple milk/icing sugar combination, with a splash of milk, good shake of cocoa powder, and some drops of black food colouring.
Covering the whole cake was no mean feat, so I started off on the principle of just getting everything covered, with detail and neatness to come later!

The missing turret I replaced with a big blob of fondant icing – I pressed it into the silicon mould to get the right shape, then “glued” it in place with plenty of buttercream, making a mental note to be a bit more delicate when decorating this side.

It took about an hour to buttercream the whole cake… and thankfully Rob was out, because the whole kitchen was a bit of a chocolate-y mess! I let it set for about an hour, before using a serrated-edge cake tool to mark lines around the cake to form bricks.

With the bricks done, there were just a few finishing touches to add: a castle door, made out of brown fondant, with lines for a wooden plank effect; a date stamp, for the year of Matt’s “construction” (!)…


…and finally – because it was really a big kids party – some lego characters battling it out for control of the castle.

The birthday boy was of course delighted – as was I when I finally got to taste a piece of chocolate-y castle 🙂 What do you think…?