05 August 2009

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake

It was a great 4th birthday party! While I don't think there is much point going over the top with extensive cooking and preparations for small children, surely, a birthday cake is a must and an outlet for creative energy. My daughter currently loves Hello Kitty and all things pink as you might guess from the photo. I had never done any cake decorating before but bravely took the plunge and, frankly, felt nicely pleased with the result. I spent some time researching what others have done to conlude I really had to go my own way - but I do feel I need to mention Bakerella's amazing Hello Kitty Cake Pops: http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2009/02/here-kitty-kitty.html - they are absolutely stunning...

I kept it a lot simpler. I baked a plain chocolate buttermilk cake in my springform tin. The pink frosting has as its base a white chocolate ganache and is decorated with Hello Kitty faces and pink and white peppermint chocolate buttons and red and lilac mini smarties. This is what you need:

250g flour
200ml buttermilk
125g butter
200g sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
100g white chocolate
250g mascarpone
100ml creme legere (substitute creme double if you like)
red food colouring
black food colouring
rolled fondant (white)
icing sugar
mini smarties (red, yellow, lilac)
peppermint chocolate buttons (white, pink)
liquorice rotella wheel

The cake is very easy to make, plain and tasty. Firstly, set aside your dry ingredients, namely the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl. Then cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs, then alternate between the dry mixture and the buttermilk. Pour into a prepared tin and bake at 180 C about 40 minutes until done. Let cool on a wire rack and place upside-down on your serving platter. This has two advantages: the cake has thus a very flat surface and the slightly convex shape makes it easier to frost at the bottom (or rather to tidy up the platter after frosting).

The frosting, again, is a very straightforward affair, all you need to do is to melt the white chocolate in a mixture of mascarpone and creme legere while you are heating it up. Add red food colouring to create your desired shade of pink. Whisk well then leave to cool down, the mixture will thicken as it cools. You might want to bake and frost the cake a day in advance, as I did. Keep it in the fridge over night but do not decorate it until shortly before you want to eat it. The disadvantage of this kind of frosting is that after a while, the smarties will leak their colour into it. I suppose one could avoid this problem using pink icing but, personally, I find icing in great quantities too overwhelmingly sweet. And I happen to like chocolate ganache. As I said, I am new to cake decorating and don't own fancy equipment so I applied the frosting with a tablespoon, several layers to cover well, and made the swirly top with a teaspoon.

You won't need me to tell you how to drop smarties etc. onto your cake, this, however, is the secret of those lovely Hello Kitty faces. If you are seriously contemplating baking such a cake, you will surely find a Hello Kitty image somewhere at home; make a drawing and cover it on both sides with self-adhesive clear foil, then cut out the image. Roll out your fondant to the desired thickness and place your template on top. Mark the outline with a toothpick or knife and cut along this line. You now have your basic kitten face. For the nose, I used half a mini smartie in yellow, glued on with a sticky paste of icing sugar and a few drops of water. Spread a little of this onto the cheeks to apply the whiskers which you cut from an unrolled liquorice rotella wheel. Eyes were made from a thick paste of icing sugar mixed with a few drops of black food colouring - I found handling this paste and implanting the eye with the tip of a toothpick easiest. The red ribbon was simlarly fashioned from a paste of icing sugar with a few drops of red food colouring, a red smartie placed in the middle. Keep your kitties in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Meow, meow.

No comments: