This cake really speaks for itself doesn't it?
A Sweet 16 cake for a very sweet sixteeth birthday for my lovely sister-in-law. The brief was simple; no berries, not cheesecake (a favourite of my other sis-in-law), butter cake please. And one of her favourite candies was Flake. I took it as an opportunity to try one of these candy-covered cakes that I've seen around so much, you know the ones with a border of KitKats around them? But with lots of mini-sized Flake chocolates instead! And I got to pull out my trusty old Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cakes book (stolen off my Mum) to figure out how to cut the shapes of the 1 and 6. Oh, and SPRINKLES! Always sprinkles.
The cake was my favourite yellow cake, with the addition of a bit of vanilla bean to make it a little bit more special. I baked a huge lamington trays worth of cake, cut it up into the shape of a 16 and covered it in dulce de leche icing. That's right. Then SIX packets of treat-sized flakes and a whoooole lot of sprinkles later, this cake emerged. It was surprisingly easy to put together and had a great visual impact. And it tasted great. You could replace the Flake with any other of your favourite mini chocolate bars, and the sprinkles with anything else you want. Gummy bears are fun. This cake is an assured crowd-pleaser.
It's crazy to think that she was an itty-bitty 3 year old when I first met A. Time flies at such a scary pace. Anyway I think the birthday girl thoroughly enjoyed her cake because she has requested the same one for her big birthday bash in a few weeks. Time to stock up on a whole lotta Flakes!
Sweet 16 Flake Cake
(adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Step-by-Step, serves approx 15)
For the cake:
355g (approx 2 & 3/4 cups) plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225ml (about 1 cup minus 1 tbsp) milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or replace 1 tsp with the scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod)
400g (approx 1 & 3/4 cups) white sugar (I used caster/superfine)
225g (approx 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease and line the base with baking paper a 24x32cm lamington tray (you can try to use individual tins but you will have to figure out the best sizes for the shapes that you need to cut out. Essentially you need three skinny rectangles and a large circle). Dust lined tin lightly with flour. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix milk and vanilla together in a measuring jug. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until blended. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 mins or until pale and creamy. Reduce speed to medium low, add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mix and milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture (I did it by adding 1/4 of of the dry mixture followed by 1/3 of the wet mixture at a time). Beat until smooth, occasionaly scraping bowl with a spatula. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth with a spatula, then bake until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (I think mine took approx 45-50 mins but oven times will vary). Cool in tin for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out on to a wire rack and cool completely. Can be baked the night before assembly, wrapped in clingfilm and refrigerated overnight. Cut your cake into pieces to form the shape of a 16 (you can sort of see what I did below, grab the AWW kids birthday cake book for clear instructions).
For the icing:
1 can (395g) of dulce de leche (instructions on how to make it here, or you can buy Nestle Top 'n' Fill Caramel)
250g salted butter, softened
2 cups (about 250g) icing sugar, sifted
To decorate: 6 packs treat-sized Flake chocolates or other mini chocolate bar, rainbow sprinkles
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy. Add dulce de leche and with the mixer on low, gradually add icing sugar until smooth and combined. You can adjust the icing sugar to achieve the desired icing consistency. You want it to be easy to spread but to hold its shape. Use a spatula to carefully cover the whole cake in a thin layer of icing. Place chocolate bars around the border of the cake and cover the top of the cake with rainbow sprinkles. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve, remove from fridge at least half an hour before serving.