Sunday, 14 October 2018

Twins' 3rd birthday cakes - recipes and decoration - Pin it do it

I thought I'd finished writing this last year but apparently not!  I've just added the photos so here it is in time for this year's Halloween if you're after a spooky cake idea.  Sadly I don't really have any "during" photos as it was a bit frantic the evening before their party!!

For weeks before the big day, carrot cake was requested by the twins for their birthday cakes this year.  There was a last minute change from one of them suddenly wanting chocolate cake and so the two cakes this year were decided.  I had already chosen a design to go with their Halloween party theme and hoped to make two monster cakes much like the one I saw on Pinterest but as separate cakes.  I asked them which colour monsters they'd like and orange and green were the final choices.  (Perfect Halloween colours too!)

For the chocolate cake I used a BBC chocolate cake recipe as inspiration and a BBC Good Food carrot cake recipe.  As usual, I changed them slightly and obviously used different decorating mediums and techniques so keep reading for my monster cake recipes and instructions!

Warning: I swore A LOT during the icing of these cakes - make sure you have GOOD piping bags before you start!  After 2 failed bags, I was almost in tears at 1am finishing them off with a very small piping container meant for the kids to use on biscuits!



225g plain flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
250ml milk
125ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water


Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into a large mixing bowl, add all remaining ingredients, except the boiling water, and beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.  Add the boiling water, a little at a time, mixing until smooth.  (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)

Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tins, before icing.

When cool, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the cake tins to loosen the cakes.  Carefully remove the cakes from the tins ready to assemble and decorate.


250g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
235ml double cream

For the chocolate ganache, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate melts.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened.  Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.


175g light muscovado sugar
175ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
140g grated carrot (about 3 medium)
100g raisins
grated zest of 1 large orange
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated will give you the best flavour)


Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4.  Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.

Tip the sugar, oil and eggs into a large mixing bowl.  Lightly mix with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.  Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into the bowl.  Mix everything together, the mixture will be soft and almost runny.  Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre.  Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack.


140g/5oz butter, softened
140g/5oz icing sugar (the original recipe calls for twice as much but I prefer it less sweet)
1-2 tbsp milk
gel food colouring

Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft.  Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add the food colouring and mix until well combined.  Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the icing to form furry spikes.  For the second batch in the other colour, use the Wilton #322 nozzle to pipe hairy fur all over the cake.


I didn't have time to make cake pops so I just used fondant icing and made 3 white balls and stuck them onto cake pop sticks (£1 for 12 from Asda), added black fondant pupils (stuck on with water) and green coloured fondant eyelids and piped orange buttercream eyelids for the hairy monster.  Once they were decorated, I placed them in a tall glass to hold them upright so they wouldn't get damaged.  Another warning though, these were quite heavy and one did eventually slide down the stick so this isn't the best option.

Decorating Method:

I did a simple crumb coating first with the coloured icing then piped as outlined above.  I made mouths and teeth out of pre-coloured fondant icing and stuck them on before piping around them.  The eyeballs were left until morning as I was concerned about them collapsing.  I just stuck the pop sticks into the cakes when we were ready to go.

The results:

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