Yes, OK, strictly speaking this is the 4th of 3 posts (!) detailing a quick, easy and really fun party that we threw for Mini Minx’s 7th birthday party. Well… 3 and a half: this is the birthday cake part of the post about the party food.
I made the entire cake on the morning of the party. What with also supervising the prepping for the activities and helping with decorations, etc., I was very lucky that it all turned out ok, especially as I started making the cake without a real idea of how it would turn out. I really, really recommend that you do the cake the night before! I’ve written this tutorial in case you’d like to do the same kind of cake and would prefer knowing at the start what the finished item will look like! I hope it helps.
So, you really need to read how I put together her original birthday cake: the Hermione G ranger-themed cake because all the techniques and steps I used are described there.
- Follow Step 1 of the linked Hermione Granger-themed Cake post to make a big cake board. It needs to be big enough to hold a 23cm square cake and a loaf cake beside it, plus plenty of space all around.
- Instead of making 2 loaf cakes at Step 2, I made a big 6-egg square Madeira Cake and a plain chocolate loaf cake. I wanted cakes that had a bit of substance to them because I felt that basic sponge cakes would be too lightweight.
Big Madeira Cake:
225g caster sugar
6 eggs, beaten
300g plain flour
15ml / 1 Tablespoon baking powder
grated rind of a lemonMethod:
a. Grease and line a 23cm square tin. Set the oven to 180degC / 350degF / gas 4.
b. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s really pale and fluffy. This takes longer than you think! About 5 mins in a mixer. Gradually add the eggs, still beating.
c. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then fold into the creamed mix. Stir in the grated lemon rind. Spoon into the tin.
d. Bake for about 1hr 10 or until cooked through and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.Plain Chocolate Loaf Cake:
175g plain flour
10ml / 2 tsp baking powder
2.5ml / ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g sugar (any sugar; I used light brown caster sugar because it needed using up)
75g butter, melted
a. Grease and flour a 23 x 13 x 7.5cm loaf tin. Set oven to 180degC/350degF/gas 4.
b. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb together. Stir in the sugar.
c. Beat the eggs into the melted butter and milk. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir lightly.
d. Spoon / pour into the tin and bake for about 45 – 55 mins till cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
- Make up a double batch of buttercream using 2 blocks of unsalted butter (500g), 4 cups of icing sugar, and my all-time favourite method of making Whipped Buttercream Icing.
- Turn the cold Madeira Cake into a single, closed book:
a. Anchor the cake to the right-hand half of the cake board with a smear of whipped buttercream icing. Then slice it in half and spread a thick layer of apricot jam in the middle.
b. Cover 3 sides of the cake with more whipped buttercream icing and use rolled-out white fondant icing and brushed cocoa to make ‘pages’ as per Steps 8-10 of the Hermione Cake tutorial.
c. Cover the remaining side and top of the cake with whipped buttercream icing and place rolled-out coloured fondant icing over it to form a top cover and spine. I used a mix of red and white fondant icing because I was running out… Roll out a long sausage of more coloured fondant icing and place along the bottom edge of the white ‘pages’ to look like the bottom cover of the book showing, as per Step 11.
d. Decorate the spine with fake gold lines and details (yellow fondant icing) if you like or just leave blank, as you’ll barely see it. I also pressed in the cake a little between the pages and spine to make it look like bound pages curving away from the spine, and ‘shaded’ it with yet more cocoa.
- Make the chocolate cake ‘book’:
a. Split the plain chocolate loaf into 3 slices. Sandwich the bottom 2 layers with more apricot jam and whipped buttercream icing and put them beside the Madeira cake.
b. Place the top layer on the Madeira Cake to look a bit like the open pages of the chocolate book – see photo for positioning. When you’re happy with the look, use a smear of buttercream to anchor the sandwiched layers beside the madeira ‘book’ and use a good thick layer of whipped buttercream to hold the top chocolate layer in place.
c. Now follow Steps 7-11 of the original tutorial to make the chocolate loaf look like an open book. I used green and white fondant icing and a load more cocoa and whipped buttercream (now do you see why I made so much in the first place..?)
- Decorate both cakes! I used white chocolate writing icing and a pen with edible ‘ink’ that I bought 8 years ago from a fancy cake decorating shop. It’s still going strong, and is why all the detailed writing on my cakes is in a strange purple tone… I’d spotted a candelabra candle holder in a shop weeks ago that I knew Mini would love, so added some other bits and bobs to the board to make the candle candelabra look a bit more at home: a Golden Snitch that the minxes had made, and a fondant icing wand. Yes, they were all anchored there with the very last dregs of the whipped buttercream icing…
- Eat! It was a good cake for slicing up and putting in party bags, and the mix of plain and chocolate sponge looked great. It was completely gone within 24 hours (we Greedy Trouts had 2 slices each), so I’d say it was the perfect size for a party of 10 kids.