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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A two tiered cake with a difference!

Today I am starting work on a two tiered cake which is rather quirky for a 90th birthday for a rather special lady.  The lady in question is my grandma Mavis who will soon be celebrating her birthday with all her children, grand children and great grandchildren around her.  She is an incredible woman, who for most of her working life worked full time whilst also tending to my grandpa who was disabled through polio shortly after my mum was born (my grandpa also went to work full time). 

Apart from her family the next most important thing in my nan's life is to make sure that she watches every showing of 'Deal or No Deal' and nothing or no one can come between her and the television when it is on!

Needless to say I am making her a 'Deal or No Deal' cake for her celebrations and I thought it might be fun to take you through each stage of making the cake, so that people can appreciate the amount of work and ingredients that go into making a special occasion cake and then perhaps understand why my prices are a little more than you would expect to pay for a shop bought cake.

The first thing I always start with is turning the oven on to make sure that it is up to temperature by the time the cakes go in, and then I line the tins.  This in itself is quite time consuming.

I have a special tin that can be divided into various size square or oblong sizes.

Next I work out all my quantities bases on a standard 6" round cake and then multiply the amounts up, OK if your brain is functioning properly, but mine has times when it goes into complete melt down!  For today's sponges I used a 14egg recipe of which 7 were duck and 7 were small chicken.  I mix the eggs like this because the duck eggs are so large and as I only have three ducks laying I don't get as many eggs.

As you can see the quantities are BIG and today i have used three and a half blocks of unsalted butter before I even think about making butter cream!
My most important ingredient for a lovely vanilla taste is a vanilla bean paste which I use rather freely and you can really notice the difference between this and vanilla essence in the buttercream.

My other secret tool is my food mixer, a Kenwood Titanium, which has a huge mixing bowl and a cover to stop everything flying everywhere!

When I am creaming the butter, sugar, eggs and paste I use the K beater blade shown above and cream the mixture until it is really pale, adding a little sifted flower with each addition of eggs.
When it comes to incorporating the flour I change the paddle to a balloon whisk to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture.

Finally, the lovely creamy mixture is spooned into the prepared tins and placed in the oven on about gas no3 for about 1 1/2 hours.  This is not an exact science and really does vary from oven to oven.  half way through i cover the top of the cake to prevent it from burning and after about an hour and a quarter I will press down lightly on the sponge to see how it is doing.  Once I feel that it might be ready I check it with a skewer, which should come out clean if cooked.

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