Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Burger Birthday Cake

Obviously, this isn't a bread recipe. Which means it probably shouldn't be here. But it came about in exactly the same way as a Bread Factory invention, so I thought I'd include it.

Nothing to do with my feeling a bit pleased with myself. No, no.

It was Dan's 11th birthday party at the week-end. Two weeks ago, while making preparations, I asked him what seemed like a perfectly inocuous question:

'What sort of cake would you like for your birthday party?'

Of course I should know by now that this is the wrong sort of question to ask Dan if you want a particular type of answer. Too open-ended. Too much room for interpretation. Too much space for 'what if?' So while I was blithely anticipating a request for 'chocolate' or 'marble', what I got was...

'I think I'd like it to look like a burger.'

Now, if Dan had been unaccompanied at this moment I might have convinced him that what he really wanted was a good old chocolate sponge. But he wasn't alone, was he? He had a confederate. Seated next to him was best mate Natty who agreed that Burger Cake was a stroke of genius, Burger Cake would be just the thing - and between them they talked it into certain existence.

Not that I minded, really. I like a challenge.

And so Burger Birthday Cake was born. Not a work of art, perhaps, but not a bad approximation. And very simple in the end. Two Victoria sponges for the 'bun', one thinner chocolate Victoria sponge for the 'burger' plus a load of icing, food colouring and sugar balls. Here's the cake recipe I used along with directions for my additional twiddles.

2 classic Victoria sponges 
225g caster sugar
225g butter, softened
4 eggs
225g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
a little milk, if needed

1 chocolate Victoria sponge + a three cupcakes
115g caster sugar
115g butter, softened
2 eggs
75g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
a little milk, if needed

Butter icing 
250g butter, softened
loads of icing sugar - make sure you have a whole packet

Water icing
icing sugar + cold water (frankly, I have no idea how much I used of either, but you need about 1 tbsp of water and then add icing sugar until it is thick enough to spread without running off the cake)
gold sugar balls

First, make the Victorias.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Grease two 20cm/8in sandwich tins, and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Cream the sugar and butter using an electric beater until very light in colour. Beat the eggs in one at a time, adding a little flour with each if the mixture appears to curdle. Now fold in the baking powder and remaining flour. The final mixture should have a soft dropping consistency (it should fall easily off the spoon). If it is too thick, add a little milk until it is right. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the sponges are lightly springy.

When putting the sponges out onto wire racks to cool, turn one upside-down, so the risen side will flatten (this will be the bottom 'bun') and keep the other risen side up (this will be the top 'bun').

Now make the single chocolate Victoria using exactly the same method, but folding the cocoa powder in at the same time as the flour and baking powder. Don't put all the final mixture into the prepared tin - you want the 'burger' to be thinner than the 'buns'. Instead, leave enough to make three cupcakes, which you can bake at the same time as the cake. When this sponge is ready, turn it out upside-down on the rack, so the risen side flattens.

When the cakes are completely cool, make the butter icing that will mimic lettuce and ketchup. Beat icing sugar into the butter until it has the sweetness that you like. Now split the icing into two equal portions. Add green food colouring to one and red food colouring to the other. You'll need lots to get a deep enough shade. Spread the red icing liberally onto the bottom 'bun', allowing some to splurge over the edges. Now place the chocolate sponge on top and gently squidge it down a little. Spread the green icing liberally, leaving a little of the chocolate cake exposed along one edge so that it looks like undressed burger, and again let some bits splurge over the edges. Now put the second Victoria sponge on top, but set it just a little way back from the edge at the point where you have left the exposed 'burger'.

Make the water icing and brush a very thin layer over the top of the cake. Dot it with gold sugar balls, to mimic sesame seeds on the top of a burger bun. Et voila!

Still can't quite believe it worked as I'm not usually a show cake type of gal. No thumbometer necessary on this one. I think you can see what Dan thought from the main picture. It tasted pretty good too - and interesting how the coloured icings tasted different. The red had a clear citrus flavour while the green didn't add anything to the butter and sugar.