A few months ago I started volunteering for the brilliant charity Free Cakes For Kids and the latest bake I made was a smarties chocolate cake.
It was a for a three-year old boy and I decided to have a relatively simple design but with a hidden smarties ‘surprise’ inside.
The charity works all over the UK and I actually first heard about it when I was in Cardiff studying for my postgraduate journalism diploma (a very long time ago). When I heard about the Hackney branch I signed up and this is the third cake I’ve made so far.
The organisers send out a list of potential cakes and then volunteers sign up, it’s as simple as that. The charity works by matching up volunteer bakers with families in need in the local area with children who usually wouldn’t get a birthday cake.
The chocolate smarties cake is a relatively easy one to do for a birthday and it’s jam-packed full of chocolate so a winner for a child. The smarties surprise in the middle is an extra treat as when you cut into the cake a pile of colourful smarties will fall out.
This is a good one for people like myself who aren’t the most precise when it comes to icing as the chocolate fingers around the outside, and the smarties on top, cover a world of not-so-perfect icing skills.
225g self raising flour
75g cocoa powder
225g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
50ml milk, whole is best but semi skimmed will do
For the icing:
100g unsalted butter, very soft
500g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
Five tubes of smarties
Two packets of chocolate fingers
How to make…
Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4 and line three 8inch cake tins with parchment paper.
Mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and doubled in size, around three minutes with an electric whisker or five without. If using an electric mixer make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl so all the ingredients are well mixed in.
Add in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is completely combined (if the mixture curdles throw in a tablespoon of flour inbetween the eggs).
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and carry on stirring until everything is combined. As you’re mixing, slowly pour in the milk, and when the entire mixture is combined, pour into the three baking tins.
Next pop them into the oven for 25 minutes. The sponge are done once they spring back when you gently press them, or a sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely before the icing stage. While you’re waiting for the cakes to cool make your icing. Beat together the butter, cocoa powder and sugar until it forms stiff, smooth, peaks.
Next assemble your cakes. Spread a thick layer of butter cream on top of the first sponge layer. Now take a cookie cutter (or cut freehand with a sharp knife) and cut a circle out of the second cake layer (feel free to eat or find a volunteer to taste test this bit).
Layer the cake with the hole in on top of the first layer and fill the hole with some of the smarties. Next cover with more of the butter cream and then finish with the final sponge layer.
Cover the top and sides with the remaining icing and then place chocolate fingers around the outside of the cake and smarties on top. I tied a ribbon around the chocolate fingers to make sure they stayed in place but you should be ok if you leave it to set in the fridge overnight.