It’s always a little difficult making birthday cakes for boys. For girls you can always get away with a pretty cake but for the opposite sex you often have to get your thinking cap on. Thankfully I can now add football shirt cakes to my repertoire, the perfect cake for any discerning football fan and definitely one to impress the boys!
The weekend just gone marked the first year of my Little Bear Cakery blog. It’s been a life changing year: After starting the blog, I decided to quit my job as a chef in Nottingham and move down to Woking in December in order to find a cake job in London and eventually set up my own business. I moved back with my parents in Woking and started temping whilst looking for my dream cake job and baking cakes and blogging as much as possible. Alas my dream cake job didn’t come along, so in April I instead opted for a very creative chef position doing contract catering and fine dining in a bank in the City of London. To keep the cake dream alive, I completed an intensive Squire’s cake decorating course before starting my business in April which took off pretty quickly and has kept me extremely busy for the last 7 months! After nearly a year in Woking and months of house-hunting, September saw our offer accepted on a small property in Hackney. We will hopefully be moving in the next month or so and then we will see the birth of Little Bear Cakery London H.Q. – very exciting!
To celebrate the year that’s passed I’m going to share some of my favourite cakes from the last 12 months…
…This was the first challenge I set myself. I created this cake for a friend’s birthday and decided that if I pulled it off I would quit my job as a chef and find more cake related work.
…Six months later I made turntable cake number 2! See if you can spot the subtle improvements!
…My first Christmas cakes and sugar flowers…
…Some of my first cake commissions…
…and the very popular gardener cake…
Shoes and handbags cake…my first go at run-outs…
for the base
65g unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp golden syrup
65g dark chocolate (I use 50% cocoa solids)
25g dried sour cherries
25g dried blueberries
for the mousse
200g dark chocolate
300ml whipping cream
10ml boiling water
- Preheat the oven to Fan 150°C.
- Place the pistachios on a baking tray and into the oven for around 5 minutes to lightly toast them.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool before roughly chopping along with the sour cherries and blueberries.
- Grease and line the bottom of a 7″/17.5cm diameter springform tin with baking parchment and lightly butter the sides.
- Place the digestives in a food processor and blitz to a crumb. If you don’t have a food processor, give them a good bash with a rolling pin (or similar bashing device).
- Break the chocolate into pieces into a medium sized microwaveable bowl along with the butter and golden syrup.
- Melt them all together in the microwave in 30 second bursts stirring between each burst. Alternatively you could heat them together in a bain marie.
- Once melted together, stir in the fruit, nuts and digestive crumbs.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared tin, pressing it to the edges so that you have an even surface and place in the fridge for an hour or so to set.
- To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bain marie.
- Once melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Mix the boiling water with the instant coffee and stir to dissolve.
- Once all of the granules have dissolved, add the milk.
- Slowly stir this coffee mixture into the chocolate. Don’t worry if the chocolate stiffens slightly, it will loosen up again once you add the cream.
- Whip the cream with an electric whisk (or with a regular whisk and a bit of elbow grease) until it begins to thicken. It only needs to be lightly whipped until the whisk starts to leave a trail.
- Now whisk half of the cream into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Take a spatula or spoon and fold in the remaining cream until just combined. Try not to overmix it as you want to retain the air.
- Pour the mix onto the prepared base and place back in the fridge for a few hours to set.
- Once set, carefully run a knife around the edge before releasing the springform tin.
- Dust with cocoa, then slice and serve with a drizzle of pouring cream.