Whenever it was mine or my brothers’ birthdays, when we were little, my Mum would always bake us a celebratory Smarties cake. It is one of those fond memories I have from my childhood and I always remember thinking how absolutely spectacular it looked as my Mum brought it out, topped with candles as everyone around us sang Happy Birthday. All those colourful button-like chocolates lined up neatly, the cocoa-rich buttercream oozing out the sides – it is an impressive sight when you are only six, seven, eight years old.
Last weekend we had a belated Easter-family gathering and knowing there would be a heavily-ladened buffet on offer with lots of savoury goods laid out I wanted to bring something sweet along for dessert, something for the children to coo over and for the adults to secretly indulge in with their cups of tea up whilst the children were busy hunting eggs! I have baked for years (having learnt everything I know from helping my Mum in the kitchen when I was a little girl) so I kind of just made this cake up as I went along! Therefore I was over the moon it turned out so well and was met with a lip-licking reception at the family party. So if you have a birthday, special occasion or party on the horizon or simply have a hankering for an indulgent chocolate-y treat then see below my recipe and step-by-step guide to recreating this colourful cake.
For each sponge layer (I chose to do three but you can do more or less – just double/triple the recipe accordingly)
4 oz soft butter
4oz caster sugar
2 free range eggs
4oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
(I made the middle layer of my cake as a chocolate sponge – for this repeat the recipe but add a heaped tbsp of good quality cocoa and a splash of milk if necessary.)
For the buttercream
8oz soft butter
16oz icing sugar
Heaped tbsp of cocoa
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Milk to loosen as necessary
To bake the cakes:
1. Start by putting your oven on 180C and grease/line your sandwich tins.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together well until it makes a soft mixture.
3. Add the eggs and half the flour. Mix again together until all combined and then add the rest of the flour and baking powder (and cocoa if necessary). Keep mixing together until you have a smooth, soft batter.
4. Spoon the mixture into the sandwich tins and smooth out with a spatula.
5. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check on the cakes after 20 minutes – spear the middle with a sharp knife. If it comes out clean and the sponge springs back when pressed, the cakes are done!
6. Turn out on a cooling rack and wait until completely cooled before sandwiching with the buttercream.
And for the buttercream:
1. Make sure the butter is nice and soft before adding a third of the icing sugar to it. Slowly mix the sugar and butter together until it is all combined and then repeat with the next two thirds of the icing sugar until you have a smooth, rich paste.
2. Add the cocoa and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and continue to combine. If the buttercream feels too stiff then add some milk to loosen it up. A splash of hot water will also help give it that glossy finish.
3. Layer all over your sponges, start building your cake and go crazy with the Smarties. (FYI – I needed 8 tubes to decorate this entire cake!)
And there we have it. A rather simple but show-stopping sweet treat, perfect for any party! If you decide to bake my Smarties cake then please do send me a picture on my twitter or instagram (@pinkpixiedoll) – I would love to see your creations. 🙂