It was my housemate Stacey’s birthday recently and I decided to make her a birthday cake. My theme was ‘chocolate and mint’ so I started by doing an Internet search to get some ideas. This is a great way to get inspiration – just looking at pictures of loads of cakes! Once my idea was ready, I gathered the necessary ingredients and began baking!
I made a simple chocolate sponge using 4 eggs, I matched the weight of my flour, sugar and butter to the weight of my eggs, which was 218g. This is a really straightforward way to make a basic sponge. I also added about a quarter of the weight of cocoa powder (about 50g), and 3 tbsp milk to make up for the extra powder. Cream the butter and sugar together first, then add the egg and milk, and finally fold in the flour and cocoa powder until smooth.
I wanted three layers of sponge for my cake so I separated the mixture into three shallow tins and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes. I inserted a skewer in the middle to make sure they were done, if it comes out clean you’re onto a winner.
I left the sponger to cool and started the buttercream. After completing a cupcake decorating class recently, they suggested that the best mixture for buttercream is 12oz icing sugar, and 6oz butter. I also added 1 1/2 tsp green food colouring and 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint natural flavouring.
My icing came out very runny, and when I smoothed it between my sponge layers it oozed out quite a lot. Maybe adding the food colouring and flavouring changed the mixture, I’m not sure, but it didn’t work out right for me.
So I added a few more ounces of icing sugar to thicken it up. With a palette knife I spread the thicker icing around the side of the cake.
I stuck Aldi’s version of Matchsticks (mint and dark chocolate crispy sticks) around the entire side of the cake. I then tied a green ribbon (from a local haberdashery) around the cake, for both decoration and to make sure the Matchsticks stayed in place!
I bought two packets of mint Aero Bubble, and two packets of mint Poppets. You can get the Aero Bubbles from newsagents like Spar etc. The Poppets I got from an independent sweet shop, but I’m pretty sure they’re available in other chains.
I made a quick chocolate buttercream from 50g butter, 2 heaped tbsp of icing sugar and one level tbsp of cocoa powder. This was nice and thick. I spread it over the top of the cake with a knife.
I placed the Aero Bubbles around the edge, luckily I had just enough to fit perfectly! Then added the Poppets in a smaller circle in the middle. You can make any pattern you want, but I think this looks quite effective.
And the cake was ready!
Add some candles, present to the Birthday girl, and tuck in! This cake went down great with my friends and housemates, with two people going back for second slices. It was very minty, if I do a cake like this again I might do chocolate buttercream for the filling instead to tone down the minty-ness. This cake would also work with orange flavoured buttercream and orange chocolate sweets, and an orange ribbon of course!