A child’s dream and a dentist’s nightmare

This afternoon I got back from a lovely day cooking for the bee-keeping course at Humble by Nature and I was planning on selecting one of the day’s recipes for my end June blog. But something else has since cropped up that I couldn’t resist documenting.

Yesterday was my son’s sixth birthday and he’s having a tea party tomorrow for lots of his friends from school. Six year olds are demanding creatures and expectations run high when it comes to things like birthday cakes. I decided to step fully outside my cooking comfort zone and have a go at creating a ludicrously chocolatey chocolate castle.

Here’s what I did.

I made three lots of chocolate sponge, each cooked in a rectangular tin (30cm x 20cm) that I’d greased and lined with baking parchment.

Here’s the recipe for one quantity of the sponge…

Chocolate sponge

You’ll need 3 lots of this – I’d recommend doing 1 quantity at a time so you end up with uniform cake sizes.

  • 175g butter
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs

To make the sponge, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth then transfer to the greased and lined cake tin and bake at 190C / Gas mark 5 for about 20 minutes until well risen and springy when pressed lightly in the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate buttercream icing

I used 4 batches of buttercream to cement the blocks of cake together and ice the castle all over.

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 175g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or water
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 2 tbsp boiling water and cool

To make the buttercream, put the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in the icing sugar, milk and cooled cocoa mixture then beat well until light and smooth.

Decorations

Subject to personal taste but here’s what I used…

  • 2 boxes of Cadbury’s chocolate fingers
  • 1 bag of Smarties
  • 1 bag of giant white chocolate buttons
  • 1 bag of Aero mint balls

I cooled the cakes on cooling racks before cutting two of the cakes into thirds lengthways. I then cut one of the strips from each cake in half. I set the third cake aside for later.

Next, I used the pieces of cake as building blocks for the castle. I laid out two long strips as the front and back walls of the castle and two shorter strips as side walls. I then covered the tops with a layer of chocolate buttercream before using the strips from the second cake to build another layer onto the existing walls.

I then spread the whole thing with icing before cutting the third sponge cake into squares to make the turrets.

I put a square of cake on each corner, spread buttercream on it and stuck a second square on top before covering the turrets in icing. I then stuck chocolate fingers vertically along the sides between the turrets, leaving a gap on one side for the castle entrance.

I then decorated the castle with an obscene amount of sweets.

Finally, I added the candles and a flag on each corner. The result is a child’s dream and a dentist’s nightmare.

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