I often get asked if I think I’m taking on too much. For me, though, it just wouldn’t be right if I had lots of time to sit around watching TV (who wants to do that?!). I have always been the sort of person who likes to stay busy and I have lots of hobbies to prove it. Last week was no exception, as I decided to add more to my plate in the form of a commissioned cake!
Part of me absolutely dreads the thought of being paid to bake a cake for someone else because of the pressure to do well (especially when you’re a bit of perfectionist, as I am). I almost always say yes though as I like helping friends out. I was asked if I could make a cake for a special occasion: the only condition being that it had to have a yellow digger on top of it as the little boy it was for loves diggers! Challenge accepted.
I thought about making a cake topper out of sugar paste but then I though, as much as children love sugar, they love new toys more. The answer was, of course, an actual toy digger on the cake that could be played with forever!
Talking of cake, that was the next challenge. What sort of cake and design suits the cake topper (in this case, a yellow digger)? Well, I had a think about what diggers do and it became obvious… Diggers dig, of course! It had to be mud, I mean, chocolate cake!
This cake is really simple to make. The decoration is quite minimalist but I think a little attention to detail goes a long way. Take the Kit-Kat border, for example.
Making appealing cakes doesn’t have to be difficult and I hope that the recipe and instructions below will guide you through step-by-step.
For the cake:
- 400 g butter softened
- 400 g caster sugar
- 6 eggs large
- 360 g plain flour
- 40 g cocoa powder sifted
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g butter slightly softened
- 500 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 26 two-finger Kit-Kats
- A toy digger to top
- Line and grease two 8″ round tins, then preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Next, add your eggs, beating between the addition of each egg so that each egg is fully combined before adding the next to avoid splitting (if the batter does split at this stage, don’t worry. It’s usually because your ingredients were too cold. It won’t affect the taste, but the cake may be a little less light as a result).
- Once the eggs are fully incorporated, sift your flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into the bowl. Add the vanilla extract, too.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there are no pale streaks left in your chocolaty cake mix.
- Split the mixture in half, and pour into your two greased and lined tins.
- Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the a skewer placed in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes to cool (I like to wrap my cooled cakes in cling-film and use them the following day. This ensures they are soft and cut well.)
Time to decorate…
- First, start by making your buttercream. If you haven’t already, check out my post on making perfect icing, every time. I’m giving you a chocolate buttercream recipe here but my previous post contains lots of helpful tips on making all kinds of icing.
- To make your buttercream, start by beating your butter in a clean bowl for approximately 5 minutes, until pale and light.
- Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl and beat for a further 3-5 minutes.
- Place the icing in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes, to firm it up slightly.
- Next, stack and fill your cakes with a decent layer of buttercream (about a 5mm thickness is good).
- Now you need to coat the cake completely with the remaining buttercream. I like to pipe a layer all over the cake using my turntable and a piping bag with a round nozzle. Smooth the buttercream but don’t be too worried about an ultra-smooth, crumb-free finish (the sides will be covered with Kit-Kats, after all!)
- Now you need to dig a hole in the top layer of cake. I found a fork was the best tool to use for for carving out the hole.
- Place Kit-Kats around the perimeter of your cake (like a fence), breaking off the top of the Kit-Kats near the hole you dug to make it really authentic.
- Place the digger on top of the cake and sprinkle all over with the broken bits of Kit-Kat to really drive home that construction zone theme.
- Finish by wrapping a ribbon around the cake and tying in a bow.
- Leave the cake in the fridge overnight if it is not being served the day it’s made.
- And that’s it! It really isn’t too difficult to make a show-stopping cake.