I won’t lie to you, I am so delighted with how
beautifully this cake turned out. Inside, it’s a light, moist chocolate sponge,
layered with pink buttercream, and then the outside is a full-on mosaic of
everything from the pick and mix counter.
Though it looks pretty impressive, it’s actually quite
easy to put together too – all you need is a bucketful of sweeties, and a
little bit of patience. This one is themed around Valentine’s Day, but you
could of course go for whatever colours (and sweets) you fancy – a range of sizes
and textures is best, to make the whole thing really pop. I used the following:
Haribo Starmix & Strawbs, teeth & lips, ice cream cones, white
chocolate buttons, Wild Berry Skittles (better colours for Valentine’s Day),
Smarties, Dolly Mixtures, sugar pearls, sugar hearts, and Gummy Bears. Keep in
mind that with things like the smarties and the skittles, you might not want to
use all the colours, so you need to buy more than you think.
A note on my cake recipe – if you’ve made one of my cakes
before, you’ll know that I always recommend margarine instead of butter (it
gives a much lighter cake) and that I always suggest weighing the eggs, in
their shells, and then using the same amount of margarine, sugar and flour.
This means no matter what size the eggs are, the cake is never dry, and it’s
why my measures for those ingredients are approximate. For the flour, use the
weight of the eggs minus 25g, to allow for the cocoa powder. Finally, for a
cake this big, you need a hell of a lot of buttercream – better to have too
much than not enough.
Approx. 240g caster sugar
Approx. 215g self-raising flour
First of all, make the cakes. This is a three layer cake,
so you’ll either need three sandwich tins, or you can just do what I did and
bake in two batches. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). After you’ve
weighed the eggs and made a note of the amount, break them into a bowl and mix
with the margarine. Add the caster sugar and mix again. Finally, add the flour,
cocoa powder and baking powder, and beat again until you have a smooth mixture.
Grease the sandwich tins and line the bottom of each one
with a circle of greaseproof paper. Divide the mixture equally (remember, if
you only have two tins, that you need to divide the mixture in three and bake
another layer in a minute) and bake for 20 minutes, until a cake tester
inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for a few
minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Don’t try and cover the cakes until they’re stone cold,
or you’ll end up with a mess. When you’re ready to make the buttercream, simply
beat together the margarine and icing sugar until smooth, then stir through
enough pink gel food colouring to get the right colour (by the way, I always
recommend gel colouring instead of the water-based stuff, which can cause your
buttercream to split).
Sandwich the three cakes together with a thin layer of
buttercream, to form a tall stack. Next, cover with more buttercream as evenly
as possible, using a palette knife to spread it out. Top tip – if you haven’t
got a palette knife, I find a plastic card such as an old library card or
something (wash it first) works brilliantly. Try it before you laugh.
Finally, gently push the sweets into the buttercream to
create the mosaic. Use smaller items (like the sugar pearls and hearts on my
cake) to fill in the gaps, and try not to group the same sweets together in one
place. It’ll take a little while, but it’s totally worth it. Ta da!