Last week was a busy baking week. Toby turned six on Friday, so of course I had to make him a chocolate cake - or maybe two! Fortunately he requested a simple design, because then a friend asked me to make a christening cake for her daughter and a birthday cake for her husband, on the same weekend. Suddenly every available surface started filling up with baked goods...
So here's Toby's - a 6 with sprinkles in. Basically the same as Theo's 2 earlier this year, except that I didn't sneak courgettes into this one. We took this to his party at a local soft play centre, and I made a little one as well, for his birthday tea the evening before.
The christening cake was a Madeira sponge, from my tried-and-tested list of recipes. I was reminded just how long it's been since I've done any serious piping with royal icing, as I struggled to get just the right consistency. It was slightly on the solid side, but ju-u-ust about squeezed through the nozzle. The end effect came out pretty well.
Meanwhile, the birthday cake was a completely new recipe; my first attempt at making an egg-, dairy- and nut-free chocolate cake. I found the Vegan Society website a very useful resource. For decoration, I was back to piping with good old buttercream (well, OK, dairy-free-baking-fattercream). The recipient is a keen photographer, so I made an attempt at a very simple camera.
I was surprised that I could make a vegan cake without resorting to any odd ingredients. It tasted a little different to regular cake, but not too much. (I gave it a trial run, just to be on the safe side.) This was my adaptation of the chocolate birthday cake recipe from the Vegan Society site.
Egg and dairy free chocolate cake
400g self-raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
60g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
200 ml vegetable oil
600 ml (approx) cold water
Grease and line two 9-inch sandwich tins. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, and stir in the sugar and salt. Add the vanilla, vegetable oil and about 500 ml water, and mix thoroughly with an electric beater. Add more water as needed to get a fairly runny batter. Divide between the tins and bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
When cool, sandwich and ice with chocolate icing made with dairy-free baking margarine.