Hello again, sorry it’s been a while.
Mook’s birthday and her Star Wars Themed Sleepover have kept me rather busy of the past week, but I’m really delighted to say that all the hard work paid off and Mook proclaimed her sleepover party to be the ‘best ever’ – high praise indeed!
Mook has always favoured things that might be considered quite unusual for a young girl – for three years running I had to create Postman Pat cakes, all different – so it came as no great surprise to hear that this year she wanted a Star Wars themed birthday party. As a Star Wars fan *whispered* it was certainly more appealing to me than Postman Pat, but after scouring the web, and Pinterest, for inspiration for the cake I instead decided to simplify the design down to a blue and white star cake. I left a space on the front to place her favourite Star Wars character figure, and as blue is Mook’s favourite colour it was, fortunately, a big hit.
Mook chose to opt for a chocolate cake, so I decided to try a new recipe. I plumped for a Peggy Porschen Victoria sponge recipe from her book Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes (You can get a copy from her website http://www.peggyporschen.com), using the chocolate variation.
Having used my mother’s tried-and-tested 6-6-6-3 or 8-8-8-4 (ounces and eggs) recipe for years, I was somewhat surprised at Peggy’s suggestion of a whopping 8 eggs and no baking powder, but the result was a wonderfully moist yet substantial cake.
A schoolboy error on my part – not checking my stock of ingredients before going to the shop! – meant I had to substitute the caster sugar with soft brown sugar, resulting in a VERY chocolatey cake, but it proved popular with the kids and grown-ups alike. The acid test of cutting the cake tops to level the two layers proved that, despite my brown sugar improvisation, the baking alchemy had worked it’s magic.
I used ready-to-roll and pre-rolled icing to cover the cake, in my opinion there is nothing wrong with taking a few shortcuts, and used star cutters from the left-over icing to decorate the cake.
Ribbon from my local haberdashers finished the cake off, and hid a couple of my icing errors!
I didn’t marzipan the cake, which would have produced a smoother finish, as Mook is not a fan.
Overall, I was really pleased with the cake and would definitely use Peggy’s recipe again.
I have a couple of tips, gleaned many years of baking cakes and a few heartbreaking disasters, which I’d like to share.
- Always measure out your ingredients accurately – and check you have everything before you start!
- Use all your ingredients at room temperature, there is much less likelihood of the cake mixture curdling at the early stages
- It takes a bit of time to grease and line your baking trays, but not as much as starting again when your cake is stuck to the tin
- When using silicone baking cases and trays use a little vegetable oil to grease them
- If you bake infrequently buy the tiny jars (individual portions) of apricot jam – I found them at my local supermarket – you will get just the right amount to use as a glaze and will not leave an opened jar, which can go off before you next need to use it.
I hope some of those tips will be useful – happy baking!