I’m very happy to be guest hosting Bake Of The Week this week for Helen at Casa Costello. Whilst she’s off having a lovely holiday, me and Lucy at Baking Queen74 have stepped in to keep the linky running. To kick off this weeks link up I’m sharing the birthday cake that I made for my boyfriend last week.
He’s got a bit of an obsession for Yoshi at the moment, no doubt fuelled by the fact that I bought him big silly totally impractical Yoshi slippers for his birthday last year. It took me a while to find them and I ended up buying them from a seller in Hong Kong on Ebay. Totally worth it though just to see his reaction. He has worn them pretty much everyday since I gave them to him. When Yoshi’s Woolly World was released on the Nintendo Wii U recently he had to have it and even bought a woolly Yoshi amiibo. Boys and their toys eh?
Despite the fact that he knows I am not very good at decorating cakes, it’s a skill that I just haven’t mastered and I doubt I ever will due to my lack of patience when it comes to decorating, he has challenged me to decorate his birthday cakes in the most elaborate way I can manage. This all came about when I started watching Cake Boss a few years ago and he watched a few episodes with me. Three years ago I made him a Jaws themed cake with a truly awful attempt at a sugarpaste shark. Two years ago I attempted a giant cupcake with very badly piped red swirls and last year I attempted Rocket Racoon in buttercream. These last two cakes never made it to the blog as they were not at all attractive but tasted delicious.
This years cake is a masterpiece compared to my previous efforts at decorating. I know that using sugarpaste/fondant would have been easier, however after I mastered white chocolate buttercream for a yule log a couple of years ago, he is no longer interested in sugarpaste (the previous icing of choice) and now prefers buttercream. I’m happy with this decision as I’ve never liked the taste of sugarpaste, it does however make decorating cakes harder. Which is precisely why I decided to make him a woolly Yoshi birthday cake, recreating the textured look is much easier when piping buttercream through a fancy nozzle than it would have been using sugarpaste. Even though I own a varied selection of piping nozzles, bought in the hopes that I will one day learn how to use them properly, they are rarely used. Rummaging around through my collection revealed this one which is described in the handy little instruction book in the decorating kit, that I never look at, as a 5 hole flower tip. More experienced decorators out there may not think this was the best choice but I thought it worked quite well to give Yoshi his textured appearance.
- 225g caster sugar
- 225g soft unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g self raising flour
- 3 tbsp milk
- 250g soft unsalted butter
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 150g white chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Green, yellow (optional), ivory (optional) and black food colouring pastes. I used Wilton colours.
- 4-5 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180°C then grease and line the base of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract and the milk. Fold in the flour and then divide the mixture equally between the cake tins, make a small dip in the centre of the batter in each tin so the cakes rise evenly without peaking. For extra precision, weigh the batter as you spoon it into each tin to get perfectly even layers.
- Bake the cakes for 25 minutes or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let the cakes rest in the tins for a couple of minutes then turn out onto a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool until completely cold.
- When the cakes are cold, melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water (bain marie). Once melted let the chocolate cool for a few minutes.
- Beat the butter for the buttercream in a large bowl until soft and fluffy then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Next pour in the melted white chocolate and beat the buttercream again until it is completely smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated.
- Transfer 2 tbsp of buttercream into a small bowl and colour it black, this will be used for the eyes and the nose. Spoon a further 6 tbsps of buttercream into a separate small bowl and add a little ivory colouring or leave uncoloured. This will be used for the eyes and cheeks.
- Colour the remaining buttercream using green food colouring, depending on which brand you use you may want to add a little yellow colouring to get the right shade of Yoshi green.
- To assemble the cake place one layer on a cake stand, securing in place with a dab of buttercream on the plate. Spread over the jam and a fairly thin layer of green buttercream then sandwich the cakes together.
- Use an offset palette knife to apply a thin coating of green buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, this is a 'crumb coat' that will catch any loose crumbs preventing them from ending up in the decoration.
- Use a blunt knife to gently score markings for the eyes and the cheeks, or just go freehand, I found it easier to mark it up first.
- Next fit a piping bag with a large plain nozzle and fill with the white buttercream and pipe half moon shapes for the eyes and elongated half moon shapes for the cheeks. Smooth these over to a flat finish using a blunt knife dipped in a mug of hot water.
- Use a small piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle to create black ovals for the pupils, then top these with with small ovals of white buttercream in the centre. Reserve a small amount of black buttercream for the nose. As before, smooth any rough edges with a knife dipped in hot water.
- Finally fit a 5 hole flower nozzle or similar (see photo above) to a large piping bag and fill with the green buttercream. Start by piping the face first and then pipe buttercream in vertical columns around the side of the cake. Use the remaining buttercream to build up the nose by piping in a criss cross pattern until the buttercream is all used up and you have a clearly defined nose that is higher than the rest of the cake.
- Use the last of the black buttercream to pipe nostrils on the nose.
- Leave the buttercream to set for a few hours then serve.
If a woolly Yoshi isn’t enough computer game related cake decoration for you this week, then check out Elizabeth’s ultimate Super Mario birthday cake or her Halo Reach birthday cake – both of which I’m sure my boyfriend would love!
Bake of the week round up
Now on to the Bake of the Week entries from the last linky hosted by Lucy. The return of the Great British Bake Off to our screens last week has had a big influence on the entries with 6 variations on the show stopping black forest gateau, a madeira cake and a walnut cake too.
First up the GBBO inspired bakes.
- Kick back black forest gateau from Tin & Thyme has a hint of chilli to spice things up.
- Black forest ring cake from Jo’s Kitchen gives us all the flavours in a different shape.
- Black forest gateau from Jibber Jabber is traditional though booze free.
- Black forest brownies from Mummy Mishaps are perfect bite size treats full of booze and cherries.
- Black forest flapjacks from All You Need Is Love And Cake is great twist suitable for taking on summer picnics.
- Black forest gateau from Alyssia Rose uses the recipe from the new GBBO book and is a choctastic feast.
The rest of the bakes.
- Yafawi Sfeeha – Palestinian cheese buns from Domestic Gothess.
- Mini damson madeira loaves from Baking Queen74.
- Hokkaido milk bread from Domestic Gothess.
- Strawberry yoghurt bundt cake from Petite Raisin.
- Peanut butter and jelly pretzel bars from Something Sweet.
Well done to everyone who took part over the last fortnight. There is a fabulous selection of cakes and bakes here. Do pop over to visit the blogs to find out more about the recipes.
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If you’d like to join in this week just add the badge to your post, link back to this post and leave your link below. If you happen to be baking bread this week then you are also very welcome to join in with Bready Steady Go (hosted by me this month) or if you’re baking with pastry this week then feel free to link up with The Pastry Challenge (hosted by my co host Lisa this month).