I have always been pretty terrible at baking; the oven is my greatest foe. No matter how many adjustments I’ve made to the cooking time, temperature and the height of the shelf, every cake comes out like a slab of concrete. That was until I tried ready-mix. I know, call me Delia Smith – but I have to say that incorporating olive oil into the batter as per the instructions, makes a vast difference! Apart from this small cheat tactic, all decoration and design were done by me. I even sketched a Great British Bake Off style design before embarking on this project! If you want to attempt your own, here’s how I assembled it:
About three weeks before the day of the cake-worthy occasion, I purchased two boxes of Betty Crocker’s Velvety Vanilla cake mix from Tesco. I simply followed the instructions and divided the batter into four bowls. To each of these, I added the smallest drop of Pro-gel food colouring: Sky Blue, Bright Green, Yellow and Pink. I then poured two colours each into two parchment-lined 7″ baking tins. Using a fork, I swirled the batter through to create a cream slice icing effect. I repeated this process for the second box. After baking, I allowed them to cool, then wrapped in cling film and stored in the freezer.
A day before the occasion, I thawed the cake halves out, trimmed the lightly-browned tops off with a serrated knife, and then the edges by placing a quarter plate on top of each half and cutting around it. Using a small egg cup, I punched a hole in the centre of three of the four cake halves. Then I began layering with buttercream, using a palette knife.
After sandwiching, crumb coating, chilling and final-coating three cake tiers, I filled up the centre hole with smarties. I found that three cardboard tubes were sufficient to fill the cake to the top. Please excuse my cold, red hand as I model this!
I finally placed the final hole-free cake tier on top of the smarties funnel to complete the piñata and then again double coated it in buttercream and chilled for 15 minutes.
After removing from the fridge, now was the time to do the real decorating. I bought two different 100 gram bags of vibrant sprinkles off of eBay and I was sure to choose something which would accentuate the colours of the cake tiers inside. I simultaneously poured and pressed the sprinkles into the side of the cake – though I’d advise against chilling the freshly butter-creamed cake for any longer than 7 minutes, as this made it difficult for the sprinkles to stick to the cake…
At this point, I was exhausted and there were seemingly hundreds of microscopic sprinkles in every corner of the kitchen! If you attempt this, I definitely recommend rolling the cake in a tray of sprinkles instead. I chilled the cake again for 1 hour.
Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures from around this point as my camera went flat, but next, I made a ganache with three parts white chocolate to one part cream.
And then quickly whisked in a generous drop of Pink Pro-gel food colouring. Keep whisking until smooth and if needed, adjust accordingly with more double-cream until slightly viscous. I poured this on top of the cake from the centre outwards. And whilst the ganache was still warm, I pressed in a few ‘pick and mix’ sweets as well as half a creme egg, and Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs since it’s Easter. (Camera recharged…)
You can see the jelly beans, fried eggs, jazzies and fudge pieces here. You’ll see in pictures below that I later added pink foam shrimps and dolly mixtures to create a fuller, more ‘loaded’ appearance.
I also tried adding a giant rainbow lollipop but the outer layer came loose and broke away. The cake didn’t need this anyway. The smarties fell out just enough to create a piñata effect but not too much to spill off the cake board. This has to be the most vibrant cake I’ve made. And instead of blowing £60-£80 on an online order, I spent about £12 total making this. The family said it was moist and colourful and ultimately a triumph! I definitely recommend making your own multi-tiered cake. If I can do it – anyone can.
Thanks for reading! Another book-related blog post is on the way…
- Betty Crocker ‘s Velvety Vanilla Cake Mix 425 grams } x2
- Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Buttercream Style Icing 400G } x2
- Pro-gel food colours: Sky Blue, Bright Green, Yellow and Pink.
- 1 single cake board (can be found in the baking section of the supermarket)
- 100 grams vibrant sprinkles strands/balls purchased on eBay } x2
- Your own choice of ‘Pick and Mix’ sweets.
3 tubes of Smarties or similar to fill the cake funnel.
- 100 grams of white chocolate and 30ml of double cream.