If you have read Julia's previous post about the exciting calendar announcement you will have seen the fabulous new logo which has been created for us by Nick Ritchie. The logo was the obvious choice for the birthday cake design.
I knew it needed to be a fairly substantial cake to do the logo justice, so I turned to my friend Abbie in her capacity as the office baking expert and general wizard with icing for advice. Abbie suggested making a Madeira cake and text me the recipe her and her mum use for many of their cake creations.
Madeira was definitely the right choice as the result was a sturdy cake that was easy to cut in half to add a filling and it provided a nice flat surface for icing. Although solid, it was not too heavy and had a lovely subtle lemon flavour.
The ingredients below are for a 7 inch round or 6 inch square tin, I was filling a 9 inch square tin and so used 7 eggs instead of 3 and adjusted all the other quantities accordingly.
175g butter (room temperature)
175g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
pinch of salt
dribble of milk
grated zest of 1 lemon
Line a 7 inch round cake tin with greased baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 170C.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together with a fork, making sure the ingredients are fully combined and the mixture has a paler appearance than when you started.
Whisk in the eggs and then fold in the flour a bit at a time.
Finally add a little milk until the cake mixture is a soft drop consistency.
Scoop the mixture into the lined tin and make sure it is levelled off so it does not rise unevenly.
Place in the oven and cook for 1-1.25 hours until a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean (the larger cake took about 1.5 hour)
By the time the cake had cooled last sunday, I'd run out of energy for the icing part (plus we had to fit in watching an episode of the Wire that evening) so the cake lived in a tin for a couple of days before completion.
I sliced the cake in half and filled it with strawberry jam and whipped cream. I then heated a bit more jam with a splash of water to make a glaze to help the icing stick to the cake.
I used a packet of white icing which comes ready to roll. I used a 1kg packet for this cake but if you are making a 7 inch round cake a 500g packet would do.
After covering the cake in a layer of icing a few mm thick I cut out the design from the remaining icing using a stencil I created from a print out of the logo. Abs advised me to paint the food colouring onto the icing rather than mixing it in to produce a more vivid colour.
I left the painted icing letters to dry before putting them on the cake (just using water as glue) and so finished it hastily in the morning before work. We had a quick candle ceremony before I chopped it up to distribute to the other Keston Kids and the office where I work.
I was concerned the it may not have been as enjoyable 3 days after it was baked but the Madeira cake was still yummy and by the end of wednesday at work there were only a few crumbs left as evidence.
Thanks for your help Abbie (and Mrs M)