Sunday, 1 September 2013

Liquorice Allsorts Cake

The theme for this month's cake club was Back to School sweetie favourites, never a great one for sweets I decided to create a cake in homage to one of my Dad's favourites, a liquorice allsort cake. I bought a pack of allsorts to decide which one to create and plumped for the round pink one with a liquorice centre.

I once again turned to what is rapidly becoming one of my baking bibles - The Birthday Cake Book by Fiona Cairns for the underlying liquorice toffee cake recipe and liquorice toffee buttercream and then came up with a simple bright pink fondant topping with a black fondant ring inset in the top of the cake and then decorated with assorted liquorice allsorts.

I normally make my cake the night before I need it so it has time to cool fully and rest and it makes for easier decoration too.

What you need to make the cake 
  • 85g butter softened
  • 100ml milk ( I used skimmed and it worked fine)
  • 30g liquorice, roughly chopped
  • 200g chopped dates
  • 175g self raising flour- sieve onto a plate
  • 1 tsp bicarb- sieve onto a plate 
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten in a mug
  • Baking parchment to line the base of your baking tins
  • Oil spray / cake release spray to grease your baking tins
What you need to make the buttercream
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 30g liquorice, chopped roughly
  • 170g butter softened
  • 200g icing sugar
What you need to do 
  • Grease and base line your cake tins (I used 2 x 20cm cake tins, deepest you have as the mixture grows quite a lot, the original recipe calls for 2 x 15cm by 7.5cm deep !, so if necessary use 3 tins or use excess mixture in muffin tins)
  • Preheat your oven to 170c (fan)
  • In a saucepan, bring the milk and chopped liquorice (cake) to the boil, once at the boil remove from the heat , squish the liquorice and then leave to infuse for about least 30  minutes or so, strain and retain the liquorice milk.
  • In a separate bowl soak the chopped dates in 175ml of boiling water, leave them to soak for at least 20 minutes, mush with a fork until you have a smoothish paste.
  • Cream the butter and sugar (from the cake ingredients) until light and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs, adding a little of the flour if in danger of curdling.
  • Fold in the rest of the flour, mushy dates and liquorice milk.
  • Spoon the mixture in to the baking tins and level
  • Bake for approx 30 minutes until golden and tested cooked with a skewer
  • Leave to cool for about 10 minutes in the tins, then remove and cool fully on a wire rack, removing the baking parchment
Now on to the buttercream and decoration
  • Firstly lets make the buttercream, cream the icing sugar and softened butter until you have a smooth no grainy fluffy buttercream, leave to one side.
  • To make the caramel, in a heavy based pan slowly dissolve the demerara sugar with 3 tbsp water, once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil, do not stir, allow to boil until the mixture turns a lovely caramel colour and has thickened slightly.
  • Remove from the heat and add the cream and treacle to the pan, stir well and then the chopped liquorice and bring to the boil, turn the pan down and keep stirring until thick and glossy.
  • Remove from heat and leave to cool , remove the chunks of liquorice ( this is hard work as the caramel is very sticky, I used a cocktail stick to spear the pieces)
  • Now whisk the caramel (please ensure this is cooled sufficiently as you will split your buttercream) in to the buttercream
  • Use about a third of the buttercream mixture to fill the cake, then cover the whole cake in a coat of buttercream, leave to set in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Roll out cerise fondant to cover the cake. Smooth and shine.
  • Cut a suitable sized hole in the top of the cake with a round cutter and remove the cerise fondant
  • Roll out a small quantity of black fondant and place in the hole, now stick lots of liquorice allsorts around the base of the cake with edible glue.
  • Ta dah ! Liquorice allsort cake

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