I was asked to make a cake for a former colleague’s daughter who was about to celebrate her 11th birthday. Tina and I worked together for several years but had sadly lost touch since then. Through the power of Facebook, we have thankfully been chatting and catching up again. It also turns out that both our daughters will start the same senior school in September this year so it looks likely that we won’t be losing touch again.
Amber had specific requirements for her cake. It had to be white with bright coloured decoration and just HAD to have a bow! Not one to let a birthday girl down, I rose to the occasion with this two tier vanilla cake.
The top tier was a 6″ round and the bottom was an 8″ square. The bow was made from fondant, which was rolled very thinly and folded, supported overnight to hold its shape.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Grease a 9″ square tin and line the base with baking parchment. I’ve found the best performing baking parchment is this one from Lakeland Limited. I’ve used it loads and, so far, it’s never stuck on me.
3. In your bowl place your flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix together for several minutes until thoroughly combined. I used my Kenwood Major on high speed for 4 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible.
4. Add the chocolate drops and stir until just mixed.
5. Pour into your prepared tin, smooth the top and place 16 walnut halves on top to mark out each of the 16 pieces your brownie will be cut into.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes. You will notice that the top of a brownie sometimes ‘bursts’ through as it cooks. This is normal; don’t worry.
7. Test the brownie in the centre with a cocktail stick. If it comes out fairly clean (a little bit of ‘goo’ is ok, but not lots!) then your brownie is cooked. If the cocktail stick is still very wet, then place the brownie back into the oven for 5 minutes and test again. If the top is browning too much, then place a sheet of foil loosely over the tin for the last 10 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven. Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes in the tin, then make sure that the edges aren’t stuck to your tin (use a plastic spatula if you’re using a non-stick metal tin. Turn out onto your wire cooking rack.
Can be served either warm – with custard, cream or ice cream – or left to go cold and enjoyed with a nice cuppa while you put your feet up!