Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Insolence of Youth

My baby is four, how did that happen?  Four! How very rude of him to keep growing up... Yes, it's JD's birthday and as usual I am finding it a little harder to cope with than his elder brother's progression in age.

He, on the other hand, is having a whale of a time.  From the early morning wake-up call, through the tearing of paper, punctuated with gasps and cries of "I've always been wishing for a [insert name of relevant gift here]....", through lunch and the blowing out of all four candles at once!

Ah, yes, the cake... always a pleasure to make a lovely cake for my boys' birthdays.  Though I don't believe that anyone should ever feel guilty about buying birthday cakes from the supermarket, or paying a bakery to make one, I get a lot of enjoyment from decorating the children's cakes to match their latest interests or passions and see it, in a way, as another gift; one given with special love and time from Mummy...

As we are very much all about dinosaurs at the moment, this volcano cake seemed appropriate.  Two ordinary chocolate sponge cakes; one made in a pudding basin and the other in my tarte tartin tin.  Iced with chocolate buttercream and sprinkled with grated plain chocolate and a little dessicated coconut, dyed black with food-colouring paste (just mix 1/4 tsp paste with 1/2 tsp or so of water and mix in the coconut to colour it.  Spread on foil to air-dry a little before using).  The 'molten lava' streaming down the sides is actually melted white chocolate with a little orange colour paste stirred in (Sugarflair's Tangerine/Apricot, if you're interested).  Spooned into the top crater and running gloopily down the sides, it looks rather good, I think.  The 'magma'-filled recess also made a good spot to place the candles, the chocolate achoring them steadily.  A good result all round, I feel!

Cath xx

In the interests of honesty and transparency, I feel that I should confess that, actually, I messed up the first attempt at the basin cake, by cooking it at too high a temperature for too short a time.  So we had a kind of melting-middle chocolate sponge with cream for pudding on Sunday.  As Homer (Simpson, this time) might well have said "Mmmmmm.... unexpected pudding".

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