Add a little sparkle this Christmas
By Mary Mahbir, White Swan Tea-Rooms, Monmouth 01600 719782
There is something very special about a Christmas tree decorated with baubles and bedecked with pretty twinkling lights. I love the shimmer of candles on a table during a Christmas meal especially if the flickering light is picked up in the surrounding glassware and crockery or maybe a sprinkling of gold table confetti.
But there’s no reason to confine the beauty of that sparkle to your home or Christmas tree. Why not make your Christmas cake look very special too. We use lots of edible gold leaf in the tea room to decorate cakes for special occasions and Christmas is no exception. Most supermarkets sell edible glitter or shimmer powders. Edible gold and silver leaf can be purchased from Bridgend Gold Supplies. If you can’t find edible glitter or shimmer powders, then try Vanilla Valley in Nantgarw.
Our favourite cake at this time of year is a rich chocolate cake, filled with buttercream, topped with a delicious chocolate drizzle and then decorated with lots of edible gold leaf or glitter.
For the cakes you will need 2 x 8” cake tins, greased and floured or lined with non- stick parchment.
9 oz/255g self raising flour
3oz/85g good quality cocoa
Half a teaspoon of baking powder
6 free range eggs
For the Chocolate buttercream:
4oz/115g salted butter
14oz/400g icing sugar
2oz/50g cocoa powder
Boiling water to mix
To make the cake, beat the butter and sugar in a mixer until it is well combined and pale. Add the eggs and continue to whisk for a few seconds. Sieve the flour, baking powder, and cocoa and add it to the bowl. Mix on a medium speed until the flour and cocoa are combined. Divide equally between the two cake tins and bake in the oven at 160C for 20 – 25 minutes or until firm to touch.
Whilst baking the cakes, make your buttercream filling. Put the butter into a large bowl and pour 3 tablespoons of boiling water over the butter. Sieve the icing sugar onto the butter and add another 3 tablespoons of the water. Mix well with an electric beater, adding tablespoons of boiling water as you go. You can cheat and buy a tub of Betty Crocker Chocolate Buttercream! When your cake is cool, sandwich it together with the buttercream.
Mix one tea spoon of cocoa powder and two tea spoons of icing sugar with two dessertspoons of boiling water. Drizzle this over the top of your cake and gently drop pieces of your gold leaf onto this icing which will act as a glue and stop the gold leaf from floating away. Don’t press the gold leaf down as this will allow it to shimmer and catch the light. If using edible glitter, sprinkle enough on top of the cake for it to catch the light. If using shimmer powder, brush this on with a clean paintbrush when the icing is dry. For a grown-up cake, tip a small glass of Baileys over each sponge cake before filling with buttercream and decorating.