Wednesday, 23 October 2013

(Batman) Marble Cake

Yesterday it was my little sister Amber’s 21st birthday… She specified months ago that she wanted a superhero birthday cake, and then earlier this month, that she wanted marble cake – so that’s how this Batman marble cake came about! I’m not so great with modeling icing and decorating novelty cakes, but it actually turned out pretty good! You can just dust the top of the sponge with icing sugar, but I will give instructions on how to make the icing should you wish to do so. James actually helped me make this (I think just so he could lick the bowl afterwards) so a special thank you to him, and a very happy 21st birthday to Amber!

For the vanilla sponge:
5oz unsalted butter
5oz caster sugar
2 eggs
Few drops vanilla essence
5oz self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder

For the chocolate sponge:
5oz unsalted butter
5oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4oz self raising flour
1oz cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

For the buttercream filling:
2oz unsalted butter
4oz icing sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 180c and line/grease two loose bottomed cake tins.

First, make the vanilla batter. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla essence, and mix briefly before sifting in the flour and baking powder. Fold this into the mixture until its smooth.
Put this to one side while you make the chocolate batter.

In a second bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, and mix briefly before sifting in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Fold this into the mixture until its smooth.

Take 2 spoons, one for each mix, and dollop the mix into the tins, alternating the colours. Make sure to get the same amount in each tin.
Gently tap the bottom of the tins onto your work surface to get rid of any bubbles and to level out the mix in the tin. Next, take a skewer and swirl it around the mixture in the tin a few times to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sponges are springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, then remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

While it’s cooling, you can make the buttercream filling. In a small mixing bowl, gently cream together the butter and half of the icing sugar. Once this is soft and creamy, add the rest of the icing sugar and continue to mix until smooth.

Once the sponges are cool, sandwich them together with the buttercream and dust the top with icing sugar.* And you’re done!

*If you want to make the icing to go on top here are the ingredients and instructions. Sorry these instructions aren’t great, it’s hard to explain. I only covered the top of this cake and left the sides bare so you could see the marbling in the sponges, but you could use this to cover the whole cake if you wanted to.

4 tsp unsalted butter, melted
8 oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Food colouring

It’s best to plan your design before you start – you may need to make two batches if you’re covering the whole cake and then making layers on top of that, and you may need to cut out some stencils for your designs.

Once you have all this – you can get started.

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix together the melted butter and icing sugar, first with a spoon, and then with your hands. It should not be sticky, so add a little extra icing sugar if you need to. Form the icing into a ball with your hands and knead until it’s smooth.

Here, I separated the icing – half for the grey background, a quarter for the yellow oval and the last quarter for the bat – and put them in separate bowls.

For each different colour, add a few drops if food colouring to the bowl and knead into the icing until it’s evenly distributed. You can add more colouring, a few drops at a time, kneading well, until you have your desired colour. Make sure you wash your hands well between each colour to avoid mixing them.

Once you have all your icing separated and coloured, dust your worktop and rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out your base colour. If you’re just covering the top, use the bottom of the cake tin as a template to cut around, and if you’re covering the whole cake, you’ll need an extra couple of inches all the way around the base of the tin.

You can stick the icing onto the cake with a little buttercream if you have any left over, or just a little icing sugar mixed with a few drops of water to make a thin paste.

Once the cake is covered (whether in full or just the top) you can add any extra layers. Roll out the other colours and cut out your desired shapes, and stick onto the cake with a bit of icing as before.

It is a bit time consuming, but it’s fun too!

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