Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yo ho let's go!

For the boys' 7th and 5th birthday party the theme was pirate. It tied in nicely with the international Talk Like a Pirate Day on 19 September. It was also a fantastic excuse for all the grown-ups to outdo each other with pirate costumes and antics. I never predicted the theme would be embraced with such gusto nor did I expect so many people to have an abundance of pirate paraphernalia stored away in their cupboards just begging for another day in the sun!

This year I went back to basics. Instead of going for an elaborate picture cake I made a simple treasure chest. I prepared double the recipe of my birthday cake standard, Nigella's sour cream chocolate cake, putting about a third of the mixture in one large loaf tin and the remaining two thirds in another, identical loaf tin. The smaller cake took approximately half an hour to cook while the larger cake took about one hour. The smaller cake became the lid of the treasure chest by turning it upside down and trimming the long edges off of it using a carving knife angled at approximately 45 degrees to the cake. These offcuts were later used to help prop the lid open. The larger cake, right side up (not inverted), became the bottom of the chest. Both the trimmed top and bottom cakes were iced with a delicious chocolate buttercream. I used Arnott's chocolate funsticks to make a border around the top of each cake. The top of the treasure chest was propped open by laying the offcuts from the top cake along one long edge of the bottom cake (the "hinge") and using wooden skewers further in front for added support. I used Chico lollies (pressed face-first into the icing) to make keyholes. To add a bit of sparkle on top, I removed the chocolate from some chocolate coated honeycomb pieces, placed the honeycomb in a sandwich bag and crushed it using a rolling pin. Voila, gold dust! All that was left to do was stuff the chest full of chocolate coins. These were snatched with alarming speed upon cutting the cake!

I was happy with how it all came together and particularly pleased to be presenting a cake containing no food colouring. Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggh!

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