I’ve been working REALLY hard on getting my buttercream perfectly smooth – it’s gotta be as smooth as The Fonz. You know what I’m talking about…
There’s something about a satin finish to that icing application that makes you feel smug about buttercream. Maybe it’s something only obsessive bakers get? It’s like achieving Olympic gold in the Dressage (which incidentally, I forgot to watch this afternoon as I was up to my elbows in buttercream and chocolate shavings!) I am still getting flaws, but I’m getting better. Tips?
* Always crumb coat first, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
* Use a nice, firm side scraper.
* On the second coat, don’t be scared of layering on that cream THICK. It’s going to come off anyway…
* When scraping around, try to make one whole turn.
* Keep the palette knife nice and hot (using hot water) when bringing in the top – it’ll get you a beautiful finish.
I wanted to use a traditional recipe for the BFG – after all, it should be cream, shouldn’t it? And if any of you have read my Victoria Sponge recipe, you’ll see I’m a stickler for keeping to traditional recipes. In fact, I’m a bit freaky about it. Oh dear.
However, this cake was about style and about practising techniques. It needed to be butter-creamed so I had to sacrifice tradition for technique. It seems to have worked.
It looks the part.
The proof is in the eating…
The BFG (Taken from ‘The Hairy Bikers’) (I made a deep 6″, this recipe is for an 8″)
The Cakey Bit…..
225g/8oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
160g/5½oz self-raising flour
65g/2¼oz cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
4 medium eggs
* Preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/Gas 5. Grease 2 x 8″ sandwich tins (or 6″ for a deeper cake) and line the bases with baking parchment. I always butter the edges of the tin and lightly flour too.
* Put the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and eggs into a food processor and blend until smooth and thick. If you do not have a food processor, use a hand-held whisk or brute strength! Scrape down a couple of times to make sure the mixture is well blended.
* Add chocolate chips and fold through.
* Divide the batter between the cake tins and level it out with a spatula.
* Bake for 22–25 minutes or until the cakes are risen and just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tins. They should be springy to the touch and a skewer inserted should come out clean. Remove them from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack. Take off the lining paper and leave the cakes to cool.
* Make the buttercream…
375 g butter (unsalted)
750 g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
* Beat the butter until smooth and pale, then add the icing sugar. Then beat the living hell out of it until smooth, creamy and fluffy.
* Split the cake and pipe a ring of buttercream around the edges.
* Fill the middle with delicious cherry conserve or fresh pitted cherries. (Soak them in cherry brandy or kirsch for an even more indulgent dessert!)
* Pipe buttercream all around the cake now, then place the top half back on.
* Crumb coat and chill for 30 minutes.
* Add a second coat of buttercream, then decorate using cherries, chocolate shards etc. I used a Wilton 1m tip to create the swirls and fresh pitted cherries for the top.