It was my Dad’s birthday the other day, so I told him I’d bake him a birthday cake. Which is good, because I thought he was 65, when he was actually 66 (I’m sure he’d appreciate me telling you this!!). So the cake made up for my error in maths (although I think it was my Mum who pointed out my error – I don’t think Dad’s got a clue how old he is anymore!!).
So I gave him three options, all found from the wonderful Good Food website:
And he went for number 2! Which was probably the most tricky of the three – mainly because of the nutty meringue which sits on the top.
- 175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the meringue topping
- 2 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 tsp instant coffee granules
- 25g chopped walnuts
For the filling
- 100g softened butter
- 50g icing sugar, sifted
For the drizzle icing
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- Make the meringue: whisk the egg whites until stiff, add half the sugar, whisk again until stiff, then repeat with the remaining sugar. Mix the coffee with 3 tbsp boiling water to dissolve the granules. Gently fold the walnuts and 1 tsp of the coffee into the meringue. Set aside while you make the cake mixture.
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually whisk in the eggs. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then finally fold in 2 tsp of the coffee liquid. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins, putting a little more mixture in one than the other.
- Spread the meringue on top of the tin containing less cake mix. Bake the untopped sponge for about 20 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Continue baking the meringue-topped sponge for an additional 20 mins, then carefully remove both cakes from their tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- To make the filling, beat the butter and icing sugar together, adding 2 tsp more coffee. To make the icing, mix a final tsp of the coffee into the icing sugar. Add a drop more water to make a runny icing. 5 Sandwich the 2 cakes together with the coffee filling, putting the meringuetopped sponge on top. Drizzle all over with the coffee icing to finish.
It wasn’t actually as hard as I thought it would be. It was a basic Victoria Sponge, with some added coffee (I actually added way more than the recipe suggested as I wanted to make sure it tasted quite strong – Dad loves his coffee). The trickiest part was making the meringue. The recipe said to make this first, but I made it last to try and stop it from going flat. Especially as it was a super hot day when I made it – I didn’t want it going all warm and sloppy whilst I was making the main sponge.
Then it was a case of trying to judge when it came out of the oven. After 20 minutes I took the bottom half out, turned the oven down to 150, and then kept it in there for another 35. I also used caramel on the top as a nice drizzle, rather than the coffee icing it suggested.
And it passed the taste test! Mum and Dad both loved it. The only downside was that we couldn’t add candles to it, but it tasted delicious.
Have you made any fab birthday cakes recently? Leave a link to a picture in the comments below!