Easy (but fab) Birthday Cake

Easy no-faff chocolate birthday cake – easily customisable with a plastic toy. What’s not to love!

So, I love baking but sometimes my ambition outweighs my time and talent when it comes to making cakes for my family. I often start my search on Pinterest and find something which I like the look of, and then freestyle my own (slightly less fancy/intricate) version. The children have been pretty pleased with the results (and me too!). This cake I made for my son’s birthday last week, and as a Pokemon mad fan his immediate choice was “make me a Pokemon Mummy”. Well I winged this one, but he ended up with a chocolate cake, covered in newly discovered (and really tasty) caramel M&Ms and good old Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers.

The recipe is a traditional equal measure chocolate cake which bakes in no time at all, and is then iced with chocolate butter icing. Simple! The best bit is that the cake doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped (mine rarely are) because you’re going to cover it in chocolate fingers and top with M&Ms (or Smarties, or Maltesers or Chocolate Buttons – whatever you fancy!)

Ingredients:

225g Unsalted Butter (softened) plus a bit for greasing your tin

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Free Range Eggs

220g Self Raising Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

50g Cocoa Powder

Splash of Vanilla Extract

For the Buttercream: beat 200g of butter with about 500g of icing sugar. I like to add in a splash of vanilla extract and chuck in some cocoa to taste.

Method:

Start by preheating your oven to 180c and butter two 20cm sandwich tins (I prefer the spring based ones). Line both bases with greased baking paper.

Don’t ask me why there is an ice scraper on my island…

Add your butter, sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix until light and pale (I like to use my faithful Kitchen Aid to do this). Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. It’s best to have a taste at this point (well that’s what we like to do – then I have to wrestle the bowl and beater away from my daughter before she scoffs the lot). Divide between the two tins as evenly as you can, and bake on the same shelf for 25-30 minutes (sticking a skewer in usually works for me. If they come out clean then the cake is done).

Next leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 5 mins and get on making your buttercream. Add the butter, vanilla extract, cocoa and icing sugar to your bowl (again I use my Kitchen Aid, but make sure the cover is on and I also pop a tea towel over the top to help catch the inevitable fog of icing sugar escaping from the top!).

Then carefully remove the cakes from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once they are fully cooled, put one upside down on a flat plate or board, dollop some of your butter icing on and place the other cake on top (I like to put it upside down as you get a flatter edge). Roughly cover the whole cake with the butter cream and smooth down a bit with a palette knife. Then, edge the cake with chocolate fingers, pressing them in firmly, pop on your chosen toy(s) and pour on your choice of sweets to top. So easy to make and looks fantastic.

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