Phewwww, it's been a crazy week. I've been super quiet on the blog and instagram recently because everything has been full-on nutso in every other part of my life. Work, friends and home. One of the crazier things on the schedule was planning for Asian Gaga's hens night. Asian Gaga and I are complete and utter opposites in so many ways, so planning an awesome night for her and her friends presented quite a challenge. Luckily she knew pretty much exactly what she wanted, so it was just up to me to make it a reality. And my reality was always going to involve a large amount of baked goods.
As soon as I showed Asian Gaga this gorgeous Pocky Cake from Sprinkle Bakes a couple of years ago she was in love with it. We even discussed making it as part of a wedding cake table, but it turned out to be too casual for the style of wedding she's planning. I decided that the hens night would be the perfect time to make this cake. I didn't change it up too much from the inspiration, except to go even crazier with the strawberry flavours. I added Strawberry Nesquik to the icing to make it strawberry milk icing, and topped the whole thing with a ton of chocolate-dipped strawberries. Oh, and then I put the cake on top of a macaron tower.
Yes, I did make her wear that headdress. I love Etsy. So much better than a veil or a sash! Oh man, those macarons gave me grief all week. I had to make so many batches and I still wasn't happy with the texture of them. I made three flavours; strawberry jam, chocolate and Earl Grey, coconut and lychee. I totally overcatered for the night, considering that we had already had a full dinner including dessert. But better to have too much than too little, right?
I love this cake so much. Strawberry pocky is the best thing ever. Those skinny pretzel sticks covered in strawberry chocolate smell so great. The strawberry milk icing matches it perfectly. And who doesn't love chocolate-dipped strawberries? Sorry you guys don't get to see a peek of the icing and the fluffy vanilla bean cake, but I think it tasted alright. Asian Gaga loved it so my mission was accomplished. It's actually a fairly easy cake to assemble, even though it looks complicated. The pocky helps to cover any mistakes you may have made with your cake or icing, so no stress over making your icing smooth! If you're a strawberry fan like me you'll love this cake.
Strawberry Milk Pocky Cake with Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
(makes a thicker 7" cake or a thinner 8" cake, inspired by Sprinkle Bakes)
For the cake:
355g (about 2.5 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225ml (about 1 cup minus 1 tbsp) milk
2 tsp vanilla extract or scraped seeds from 2 vanilla bean pods
350g (about 1 & 3/4 cups) sugar (granulated or caster)
225g (2 sticks) butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease two 18cm (7 inch) (or 20cm (8 inch), cake will be shorter) round cake tins. Note this will make a fairly thick cake layer so you need a tin with higher sides. If using thinner tins, split the mixture into 3 tins instead. Line the base of the tins with baking paper.
- Combine flour and baking powder 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 well until very pale and creamy, at least 5 minutes.
- 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, occasionally scraping bowl with a spatula.
- Split mixture equally between prepared tins and smooth top with a spatula.
- Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre just comes out clean and the outside is golden, about 40-50 minutes (will vary depending on your cake tin size). Take cake not to overbake or cake will be dry.
- Cool in tins for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep cakes wrapped in clingfilm and chilled in fridge until you are ready to assemble. Can be stored in an airtight container overnight if you want to prep the cakes a day ahead.
250g (2 sticks plus 2 tbsp) butter, softened
3 cups (about 375g) icing (confectioner's) sugar
1 cup (about 100g) strawberry Nesquik powder
About 1/4-1/3 cup milk, adjust for texture
To decorate: Strawberry Pocky sticks (I used about 5-6 packets), chocolate-dipped strawberries (I made some with milk, white and dark chocolate)
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy.
- Add icing sugar, Nesquik powder to bowl and mix until it starts to come together, then gradually add milk while beating on high until light and fluffy. I added my milk 1 tbsp at a time until I achieved the desired texture. You want your icing to be stiff enough to hold its shape but smooth enough to be spread easily.
- Trim the tops of your cakes so they are level using a long, sharp, preferably serrated knife. Place one layer on your cake stand and use an offset spatula to spread a thick layer of icing over the top of the cake. Sandwich with the second layer of cake.
- Crumb coat cake and then chill for about half an hour, then cover with remaining icing and smooth with offset spatula.
- Decorate the side of the cake with pocky sticks. Carefully press the pocky into the icing on the side of the cake so that it stays in place. Chill cake to set the icing.
- Prepare chocolate dipped strawberries.
- Place cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Remove from fridge at least 15 mins before serving. Place chocolate-dipped strawberries on top and serve.