In case you can't tell, this birthday cake was entirely made up, albeit with a little inspiration from Pinterest, and embarrassingly the first birthday cake that I have ever made for any of my three children. In previous years I have been very fortunate to procure them from the Rose Petal Cakery, when it was open. Now closed, I was about to shop elsewhere when my husband (sternly) suggested that I get off the Hong Kong bandwagon that thinks it's acceptable to spend $$$ on an item of food that small children attack and demolish within minutes! He has a point... This beauty however was far less $ but immeasurably more fun, especially as I took my son online to Mrs Simms via Honestbee to choose the sweeties that he wanted to go inside. When he uttered the words " Mummy, all my friends are going to love my cake", getting up out of his seat over breakfast to inspect it at every opportunity, I knew I had done the right thing! Thankfully our semi-annual dental check up occurred yesterday, and as of tomorrow the house will be purged of refined sugar until Hallowe'en!
If you are also considering a pirate party, it's a pretty straightforward recipe: 2 chocolate sponge cakes, chocolate buttercream frosting, plenty of Kit Kats plastered onto the exterior with buttercream and edible sand made from Digestive biscuits. For the treasure, and in the absence of any chocolate gold coins in HK, we used Hershey's kisses as loot, Meiji gold wrapped chocolate as bullion, jelly diamonds, candy bracelets, not forgetting a few jelly crocs and sharks swarming around the base.
For the cakes (you need to make 2 of the below to sandwich together)
200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
150ml sour cream
100g raspberry or strawberry jam for the filling
For the buttercream
900g icing sugar
300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120g cacao/cocoa powder, sifted
120ml whole milk
For the sand
I large packet of digestive biscuits
100g unsalted butter
12 large milk chocolate KitKats
Chocolate gold coins or gold-wrapped sweets/chocolates to pose as bullion
Preheat the oven to 180C and line & butter two rectangular cake tins. Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature and put all the cake ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream) into the food processor and blend until you have a batter. Place into two cake tins and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Start checking at 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, you may want to halve the recipe and make two lots, otherwise you will need a very, very big bowl! Combine the icing sugar, butter and cacao with an electric whisk on a medium speed then add the milk drop by drop, until all incorporated. Then turn up to high speed for around 5 minutes.
Once the cakes are cooled, place one on top of the other and cut into a perfect rectangle. My cake tray had curved corners, so we cut these off. Then open your kit kats and start working out how many you will use. For ease, you might want to make your cake 2 kit kats long by one kit kat wide, or you can cut the kit kats into fractions as they cut fairly easily and tidily. Then trim your cake to the desired length.
Once you have defined the length and width of your cake, you can smear the jam on top of one cake along with some buttercream icing, to make your filling. Place the other on top. Now smear buttercream along one side of your cake and start sticking your kit kats on. No need to break them into fingers; keep them whole where possible as it will look neater and stick better. Make sure you are laying your kit kats lengthwise, not vertically, and I recommend to make the kit kats taller than the actual cake. Continue smearing buttercream all over the other sides (but not the top yet) and stick your kit kats on. Once you have finished this, if you need to take a break, stick the cake in the fridge where your buttercream will set so the kit kats won't fall off.
Now fetch all your sweeties to decorate the treasure chest. First, apply a generous layer of buttercream to the top of the cake and stick in all treasure which is not wrapped. We used jelly diamonds for jewels and candy necklaces.
Prepare the sand by smashing an entire packet of digestive biscuits in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Then melt 150g unsalted butter in a pan and add the biscuit crumbs. Adding the butter will ensure it sticks a little better to the cake board and sweeties and so it doesn't blow away. Once the crumbs are combined with the butter, cake them onto the board around the cake and stick in the rest of your sweetie treasure. We used gold wrapped chocolates for bullion and added some jelly sharks and crocodiles to swarm around the bottom.