Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Wedding

I didn't get caught up into the whole royal wedding frenzy until yesterday. I knew I was going to bake something for the event and then I figured I could probably rig the big screen TV in our reception area at work to stream the event. Yesterday I went about figuring out when the whole she-bang was going to commence and was faced the realization that it was going to be an early morning affair...

Cut to my alarm going off at 5:30am this morning (after Kris woke me up at 4:30am thinking we had overslept....) and me frosting two cakes all the while trying to catch the first glimpse of THE dress. And while I'm not usually one to get excited for such things, it really was fun to watch such pageantry with 1 billion other people.

Princess Kate Paper Doll is kinda awesome

So why two cakes? Well one of my colleagues passed along a newsletter with a recipe for Prince William's famous groom's cake AND she happened to win a couple giant chocolate easter eggs last week, the remnants of which were still laying around the office. And I had pretty much already decided to make a Victoria Sponge cake since an old colleague from a job in London had passed her recipe along and I still hadn't tried it. Also- I saw someone decorate the top with berries to look like the Union Jack and that is just too freaking cute to pass up.

Prince William's Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Adapted from The Daily Candy
Makes enough for at least 15 people

For the cake
  • 1 box graham crackers
  • ¼ cup raisins (or more!!)
  • ¼ cup nuts, chopped (or more!)
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate
  • 5 oz. milk chocolate
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 14-oz. can condensed milk
For the frosting
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate
  • 2 tbls. butter
  • 1 tsp. milk

Start by breaking all the graham crackers into bite size pieces and putting them all in a large metal bowl. Then for good measure take a wooden spoon and smash that into the graham crackers a few times to really break everything down. Add the raisins and nuts and mix.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk chocolate, dark chocolate, butter and condensed milk, stirring frequently until melted and combined. Add the chocolate mixture to the graham cracker mixture and mix very well. The original recipe has you put the "cake batter" into a 11" X 3" lasagna dish covered with wax paper, but I think this would look much better in a cake pan or two. Whatever receptacle you choose, just be sure to first lay down a layer of wax paper. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

For the frosting, melt the remaining chocolate and milk in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until mostly melted, add the butter and continue stirring off the heat until combined. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting over and around the cake. Serve in small slices- this thing is like a giant candy bar.

Victoria Sponge Cake (a l'Americaine)
Adapted from a friend's recipe
Makes enough for about 8 people

For the cake
  • 8 oz. butter, softened
  • 8 oz. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8. oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tbsp berry jam (or more to taste)
For the frosting
  • 1/2 bar of cream cheese
  • 4 oz. butter, softened
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 5 strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and paper two 8" cake pans.

In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder. Mix well (I did this by hand and it was a cinch). Divide the batter between the two cake pans and spread the batter out evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes before flipping them. Allow to cool completely before spreading the jam between the two cake layers, making sure to level the cakes if needed.

For the frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mix and beat for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you are happy with the taste and texture. Add the vanilla once you are satisfied.

Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake and decorate the top with berries. If doing the Union Jack, it's easiest to start with the strawberry halves and work outwards in sections.

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