Thursday, 20 November 2008

Sparkly Cakes

I've always loved making cakes, but have never really done much cake decorating - I'm not sure that the infamous Funfetti cake counts really... Oh yes, and how could I forget the beautiful cake that I made for my niece last year? The cake was great, but perhaps asking my great-niece and nephew (then aged 4 and 3) to help with the icing and sprinkles was a slight mistake?!

However, in my explorations of my newly-local area I recently happened upon a wonderful shop in Wendover called 'Cornelli'. It's a small shop on the High Street, and it is filled from floor to ceiling with excitements of the cake-decorating kind. Much is aimed at the professional (I can't quite envisage the day when I'm purchasing specialised cutters to create sugarpaste carnations), but there is much to delight the amateur cake decorator too. Anything that can be thrown at a cake in a haphazard manner works for me! Having heard much about the famous edible 'Disco Glitter' I was highly excited to find pots of this in many different colours. As a primary school teacher I'm sure that I must have ingested much non-edible glitter over the years, particularly at Christmas time, but it is nice to be able to find some that is actually meant to be eaten. I went for the gold. I also chose some fabulous gold swirly cake candles to match the glitter.

And so in recent weeks I have utilised my new purchases on two occasions, baking birthday cakes for my two sisters-in-law. The first cake was Nigella's Honey Chocolate Cake (from Feast). Buoyed up with Disco-Glitter-Fever I ignored the idea of decorating it with bees and went for the altogether more sparkly option. I found the chocolate stars in Tescos - a Dr Oetker/Supercook brand.

Sadly - as you can see - the cake sank rather dramatically (I'll blame the fact that I had to cook it in a holiday cottage, and was therefore unfamiliar with the oven). However, this just meant that it was dense and fudgy rather than light and cakey, which made it a delicious pudding served with raspberries and creme fraiche. Happy Birthday Anne!

The next birthday cake was a Coffee Walnut sponge. I used Nigel Slater's recipe, a recipe that has often been called into service for my husband's birthday cake.

I was a bit concerned that the glitter wouldn't show up so well on a paler icing, but this didn't prove to be a problem. Sparkles obviously work on any cake! I used the curly gold candles on this cake too, but didn't manage to get a photo - we were too busy cutting slices of the cake to go with our coffee. Happy Birthday Anthea!

Although the pots of glitter are small, the glitter is so fine that I think the pot will last for ages. I think that 2008 might just have to be the year when I make my first ever Christmas cake... and guess what will be on the top?