So this week I made one of the most important cakes I’ve made to date! My brother and his girlfriend (Chloe)’s joint 22nd birthday cake! I love making cakes as birthday presents as I know there is no way that anyone else will ever have the same thing. My brother said when he came to collect it that it is always nice to have things that are homemade and I’m so happy that they both loved the cake!
I am so very proud of this! It is three layers of fluffy chocolatey cake, kinder bueno flavoured filling, chocolate icing (with real chocolate!) and an assortment of chocolatey decorations! Estimated calories per slice: God Knows. It’s cake, enjoy it, salad is always there tomorrow ;)! For anyone who does not know, a Happy Hippo is a cute little wafery hippo shaped piece of deliciousness made by Kinder filled with either milk and hazelnut filling or coco and hazelnut filling. If you’re a fan of kinder chocolate, kinder buenos or any other kinder related chocolate you will love these. Actually I think most people will love these,such an underrated chocolate! They also made a special appearance on last year’s Kinder Cake. Click here to check out that one if you’ve not seen it yet!
Okay, so for this recipe you will need the following:
600g plain flour
450g of margarine (or butter, I use Stork, fluffiest cake every time!)
700g of caster sugar
12 tablespoons of coco powder
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
700ml of milk
80 of coco powder
900g of icing sugar
300g of unsalted butter (supermarket’s own is the best way to go here)
80ml of milk
10 squares of chocolate
4 Kinder Buenos
Kinder Chocolate (I used about 40 of them for this cake)
Kinder Happy Hippos (I got both flavours and used about 17 for the cake)
White Chocolate Buttons
The Happy Birthday chocolate letters I got from ASDA which were a nice little finishing touch!
These ingredients make enough mix to make 4 layers of chocolate cake and ice it. If you do not want or need a cake this big you can half the ingredients to make a two layer normal sized cake.
Keep all ingredients at room temperature as everything seems to work a lot better then! I like to go out and buy the ingredients the day I’m baking the cake so then they have not been sat in the fridge for ages. Chocolate wants to go straight in the fridge, the colder the better as it melts very quickly once you start decorating!
Oven goes on 180 degrees C for this cake. You need to grease and line three round cake tins. I buy ready cut circle sheets of baking paper from Poundland to stop the cake sticking in the tin. You get a whole bag of them for £1 (Yes, at the pound shop, really! :P) and they save so much effort! You could cut them out yourself I suppose by cutting round the bottom of the cake tin but why would you want to when it can be done for you so cheap!
All of the dry ingredients can go in one bowl together. This includes the plain flour. bicarbonate of soda, coco powder and salt. You need to cream the margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until it is light and fluffy. You will need to start with a wooden spoon before moving on the electric mixer if you have one to avoid butter and sugar flying all up the kitchen walls. As my mother would tell you I have created far too many cake related disaster zones in her house. It used to drive her mad. The dog however loved it. It appears that I have now learnt, it’s a pity I learnt when I no longer live with her though! Crack the eggs into a mug and whisk gently. Then add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture slowly followed by the vanilla extract.
Next you need to add the milk and dry ingredients. The best way to do this is to alternate them a little bit at a time. Sift some of the dry ingredients into the mixture, beat this in and then add some milk. Keep doing this until all of the ingredients are mixed in and you will end up with an amazingly smelling chocolate cake mix! Pour this (it is quite a runny mix and will pour easily) into the greased cake tins and pop into the oven for 35-40mins.
After 35-40 mins test the cake by poking a skewer into the centre of the cake. When you remove the skewer it should be clean and the cake should be spongey to the touch. This means the cake is cooked. If there is cake mix on the skewer then allow the cake to cook for a further 5 mins and repeat. Chocolate cake cracks very easily so be careful not to over bake and do not open the oven door until those 35 mins are up! Resist temptation to open that door and let the oven do what it was designed to do.
Leave the cakes on a wire rack to cool. I also made some cupcakes with the leftover mix! These only take 10-13mins in the oven and are a great way to make sure you are not wasting any ingredients. Downside is that you end up eating them! While the cakes are cooling you can start on the icing.
You need to beat the icing sugar, unsalted butter and coco powder together. I find it easier to beat the butter first and then the icing sugar and coco will incorporate into this mixture a lot easier. I definitely recommend an electric mixer for this, definitely could not mix all this by hand! This mixture will get very thick and you might find you need to add a few tablespoons of the milk as you go in order to mix all that icing sugar and coco powder in.
Do not give up though, I promise all that icing sugar will go into that butter! Once all the icing sugar, coco and butter has been mixed together slowly add the milk. The more you mix this mixture the lighter and fluffier the icing will become. Melt the chocolate (I do this in the microwave, 40 seconds on 800w, stir the chocolate and repeat until it is melted) and add this to the icing mixture. Give the icing a good 5 minute stir in the mixer and you should have a super chocolaty icing!
I crushed 4 Kinder Bueno chocolate bars and added them to a bit of the icing mixture to make a Kinder Bueno flavoured buttercream icing for the centre of the cake. Crush the Buenos into a bowl using a wooden spoon and then mix in some of the chocolate icing. You will need to add some more milk to this to make the icing into a better consistency and the buenos will thicken up the mixture. This is quite a chunky filling as the chocolate has wafer in it so if you are making a cake for someone who is a bit funny with textures you can just used the chocolate icing.
Secure the bottom cake layer to a cake board using a bit of the icing. Spread a layer of the Kinder Bueno filling over the top of this layer and add the next later. Add another layer of the filling and pop the top on the cake. You can have as many layers to the cake as you like but remember it still has to stand up! It does not need to be pretty as all of this is going to be covered. Just try to make sure the filling is evenly spread so the cake looks better when cut.
We now need to cover the outside of this cake with the chocolate icing. This is quite a thick icing due to the fact it is made with real chocolate so may take you some time. Again it does not need to be pretty as we will smooth it all out later and cover it. I added an upside down cupcake in the middle as I wanted the candles to be raised above the hippos. Once you smooth all the icing out with a pallet knife the cake will unfortunately resemble a giant turd! Fear not we will make this turd pretty!
Decorating is my favourite part! Normally I do not really have a plan and tend to indulge in a little bit of creative freedom but the second I knew that Michael and Chloe wanted a Happy Hippo cake I knew exactly what I was doing!
Using the Kinder Chocolate bars I pushed these into the icing all the way around the outside of the cake.
I absolutely love the effect that this technique gives. I love the fact that it involves no piping even more! I can pipe, I enjoy piping but sometimes it is so nice to make a cake that involves absolutely no piping. As the icing has chocolate in it will dry quite solid, so once you’ve got those chocolate bars pushed in there they will set. It also reinforces the whole cake.
I tend to decorate the bottom and then decorate the top. That way I know how much room I have left inbetween and can make sure everything is even. As I bought both flavours of Happy Hippos I indulged my inner OCD and alternated them all the way around the top of the cake facing outwards. These guys just look so cute! I also popped the candles in the top of the cake. Now I know exactly how much space I have left for the rest.
As Kinder Chocolate is a mix of milk chocolate and white chocolate I wanted to include the white chocolate buttons as they create a nice colour contrast, match the hippos and really brighten things up. I did two layers of buttons above the kinder chocolate and now the cake is really starting to come together. I love using marshmallows for a bit of colour so put these inbetween the hippos on the top of the cake.
So now we are pretty much done apart from the top of the cake! I wanted the candles to be in the middle so did not have any room for any more hippos. But then I realised I could cut them in half! I did feel a bit mean cutting the poor hippos but it worked. I put the rather startled looking faces at the front of the cake and the poor amputated bums behind the candles at the back.
I used a little bit of Glace icing to attach the happy birthday chocolates to the cake board. I think little decorations like this really bring a cake together and make it look finished. I also stuck some alternating chocolate buttons around the bottom of the cake too.
And that is it! We are done! I am so pleased with how this cake turned out. I find chocolate cake a lot harder to make than sponge and everything actually came out perfectly but best of all I have two very happy customers who have a wicked cake to celebrate their 22nd!