Friday, 30 April 2010

Birthday baking: A Double Chocolate Smarties Layer Cake!

I feel like I haven't stopped baking all week! Byron turned 24 on Monday and so that called for a layer cake. I've only made one once before but I had big plans for this one! Byron had asked for smarties, so I had a quick look on google images for some inspiration. I found a cake that had circular layers of different coloured smarties, it looked quite cool so I thought I'd have a go at making coloured stripes on my cake. The first part of the process was separating out all the smarties, this was not a quick activity!! I bought 22 tubes of smarties to ensure I would have enough of all colours needed!

I used the chocolate cake recipe from my Primrose Bakery recipe book. They said it was their go to birthday cake recipe and so I was expecting big things! I had a quick taste of the mixture pre-oven and wasn't jumping up and down so I was pleasantly surprised when it came out of the oven and tasted incredible!!! 5 days later and it's still as moist and delicious as it was on day one - I am definitely impressed!! The recipe said it would make 2 layers, maybe my cake tins were small but I could see straight away I could make far more so I split it into 3 cake tins. In between each layer I put some vanilla buttercream (I dyed it green for one layer and blue for the other - By's fave smarties colours) and then covered the whole cake in the Primrose's chocolate buttercream which I hadn't ever made before but it was so light and fluffy I will defo be using it again!!

My sis had sent me a chocolate disc she had made at work that said 'Happy Birthday By' on it so I stuck this in the middle of the cake and then began decorating with stripes of coloured smarties.

The birthday boy was very happy. It was certainly a more impressive looking cake than last year's and far more delicious too! Here he is blowing out his candles!

Double Chocolate Smarties Layer Cake:
Serves 12-14
From Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery
For the cake:

230g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids - I used Lindt)
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g light soft brown sugar
3 large eggs, free range or organic, separated
370g plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
500ml semi skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract

For the Chocolate frosting:

175g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids - I used Lindt)
225g unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temp
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c.
To make the cake: Break the choc into pieces and melt in 30 second intervals in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Set bowl aside to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3-5 minutes until the mix is pale and smooth.
Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl and beat them for several minutes, slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. 
Add the cooled chocolate to this mixture and beat well again.
Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.  Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well.  Pour in one third of the milk and beat again.  Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form.  Carefully fold the egg whites into the main batter using a metal spoon (Do not beat or you will take the air out of the mixture).  
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for about 30 minutes.
Insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes, it should come out clean if cooked.  Leave to cool.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, make up a batch of this frosting:

Vanilla Frosting:

500g icing sugar, sifted
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract

Beat half of the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer.  Once it has all been mixed together, beat the remaining butter and sugar for about 3 minutes. 
Turn the mixer down to slow speed, combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl and add it to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.  Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

I split it in half and coloured one half blue with gel colour and the other half green.

I used a palette knife to spread each batch of frosting on top of the cakes until the stack consisted of cake, blue frosting, cake, green frosting and then cake.  I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up and made the chocolate frosting in the meantime.  

To make the chocolate frosting: Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals in a glass bowl in the microwave until smooth.  Leave to cool slightly.  In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer.  
Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy.  

Take the cake out of the fridge and cover it in the chocolate frosting.  It doesn't have to be especially neat because the smarties will cover up most of the frosting.  Split your smarties into colours and starting at the base of the cake start making coloured rows up the side and onto the top of the cake.  I had a chocolate disc on top so I stopped placing smarties on when I reached the disc. 

It took quite a while to put each smartie on, but it was definitely worth it! 

We also went out to Gourmet Burger Kitchen for some burgers and oreo shakes. We were a bit disappointed with the amount of Oreos in our shakes as it had a very weak flavour, I actually had a pack of 4 Oreos in my bag at the time and joked we should have crushed them up and put them in but I'm not sure it would have blended!!! We make our Oreo shakes at home super Oreo-y so the ones we have elsewhere never quite compare! Here we are enjoying them:

The burgers were delicious though and so we were so full up by the time we got home that we couldn't even manage a piece of cake!!! how disappointing! So we cut it the next morning and took some to work for lunch, I 'accidentally' cut my slice too big and so had to eat the rest for breakfast ...shh! don't tell Byron! Here is what the inside of the cake looked like with the coloured icing:

On Tuesday night Byron asked me if I could make 40 mini cupcakes for him to take into work so I whacked out the old Martha Stewart Brownie cupcake recipe which I just fall more in love with everytime I make them and I did a few different decorations on top. Most were chocolate cream cheese frosting, some with smarties, some with white maltesers, and some rocky roads and the rest were Oreo cream cheese frosting with a mini Oreo. Not quite adventurous as my last mini's I made for the tea party but I was pretty worn out by this point!


  1. that cake is ADORABLE. sooo cute, love the color coordinated lines! and those cupcakes are so cute too! you decorated them very nicely. just for curiosity's sake, about how long did the 40 cupcakes take? you commented on my blog (i asked about wedding cupcakes) - and i'm trying to gauge about how long 80-90 cupcakes would take.


  2. The cake looks so yum - the chocolate frosting and the coloured frosting inside works really well. I showed a friend at work and she said don't show alan and philip or they'll want us to make it here! I told them you'd made by a birthday cake with smarties and alan said wow she must really love him! So i guess his wife never bakes for him! You look really nice in the pic of you and by - like the bow in your hair x

  3. This is a beast of a cake. It looks so pretty with the smarties. That frosting does look pretty lush too. I thought that the middle bit was mint flavoured - was it just coloured green?? Bet he was loving this. Arne says he wants one. xxxx P.S I love the bow too!

  4. Awww wow I love birthday baking hehe :). Your smartie cake looks amazingly good, my layer cakes never turn out as good as that hehe! To answer your question on my blog as well, the food colouring I used to get that red colour is just supercook red food colouring :).

  5. Hi Gem,
    Sure you can post a few of the Peach Cakes on here with a link back to me.
    Thanks so much!
    Robin Sue

  6. That cake looks fabulous - well done!! I want to make Manny a chocolate cake for his birthday so may go with the Primrose One - their chocolate cupcake frosting is the best I've made!

    Strange your GBK oreo milkshake wasn't very oreo'y - my husband always insists on having that one and its usually FULL of Oreos to the point where its difficult to slurp it up!



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