Now I know it’s not Halloween! Really, I do.
But it has been mega, mega, mega busy at work and blogging feels like a luxury I just don’t have these days.
Nevermind, here we are.
Better late than never.
This cake was huge fun to make. I loved him – he didn’t even get named (unlike Sven the Skull)! There are many, many ‘mummy cakes’ on Google images and I researched lots of them with an idea in mind, but it’s funny how your own take/style develops, even though you mightn’t think you HAVE a style. There’s also something particularly satisfying about baking a spherical cake – maybe it’s something to do with the mysticism of the circle/sphere. the world is a globe, Stonehenge is formed in a circle, many of the world’s most important ancient sites, when mapped, are found to line up in a near perfect circle… I love the band ‘A Perfect Circle’, circles have no end or no beginning… There’s something soft and gentle about a circle/sphere that makes you want to cradle it into your hands, pat it, form it. Who doodles concentric circles whilst on the ‘phone? I do. Who makes spheres out of blu-tac whilst working? I do.
We digress. Back to The Mummy.
He is a zingy lemon sponge, using River Cottage’s lemon madeira recipe, but with added lemon zest, extra lemon juice and drenched in a lemon sugar syrup.
Lemon Madeira Cake
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons, plus the juice
200g golden granulated sugar
4 large eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
Tablespoon of water
2 tbsps caster sugar
Lemon Curd Buttercream
250g unsalted softened butter
500g icing sugar
275g lemon curd
(Beat butter, then beat in icing sugar, then beat in lemon curd)
* Grease and line a spherical tin – I used Wilton’s sports ball pan. I lined it by cutting a circle about half the size again of the circumference of the tin. (So one plus a half) Then I folded and folded again, making a quarter of a circle shape. I then cut down towards the centre a few times from the edge (not right to the centre), so that when it opened out, it was fanned. Then stick to the sides of your pan with butter or spray.
* Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
* In a bowl, beat the butter with the lemon zest. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is very light. Add the eggs one at a time, adding 1 tsp of the flour with each and beating thoroughly before adding the next egg. Fold in the remaining flour, using a large metal spoon, then fold in the lemon juice.
* Pour the mixture into the lined tins. Spread out evenly with the back of the spoon, then push the mixture up the sides, creating a well in the middle. This will ensure your madeira cake does not ‘dome’. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you are a nerd like me, then take the internal temperature with a thermometer – it should be between 195 degrees C and 205 degrees C. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
* Add all of the sugar syrup ingredients to a pan and bring to a simmer, checking and tasting. I like mine tart, but others may want to add more sugar.
* Poke the cooled cake all over and drench in syrup.
* Allow to stand for a while then split each half of the cake and spread with a layer of lemon curd buttercream. Sandwich the two halves with a layer of plain lemon curd.
* Carve two eyeholes into the cake. Spread a thin layer of plain buttercream all over the cake, then refridgerate for 20 minutes.
* Roll out strips of white sugarpaste/fondant and soften the edges with a ball tool. Wrap around to look like bandages. I carved an open mouth and filled with black sugarpaste, adding sugarpaste teeth on florist wire (let the people eating know though!)
* Use petal dusts to add detail.