Our good friend James had his 21st birthday last week, and to celebrate he had a hobbit party. I got to make the cake...
It was some of the most fun I've ever had baking. Plus it went down really well, and I got to wander through Englefield Green dressed as a hobbit, carrying a cake shaped like a hobbit hole. I'll miss being a student.
|What a motley crew. Also I took my shoes off as soon as we got there, don't worry|
The cake recipe belongs to Jamie and is a family favourite from what I gather - and I'm not surprised. YUM.
Ingredients (for the cake):
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ cup cocoa
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup hot instant coffee (or hot chocolate)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1tsp vanilla extract
1. Line a 9x12" rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper, and heat your oven to 170°C.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the oil, coffee (or hot chocolate) and milk and beat for two minutes.
4. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and whisk.
5. Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for 40-45 minutes.
If you're planning on making your cake into a hobbit hole I recommend baking it the day before, so it can cool properly and the flavours can mature a bit before you decorate it. If you're hobbit hole-ing it up:
You will need:
- 1kg fondant icing
- icing sugar
- gel food colouring: red, yellow, blue, black
- a rolling pin (or empty wine bottle)
- 1tbsp jam, any flavour
- a pastry brush
- gum tragacanth (optional)
- cocktail sticks
- a sharp knife
- shot of vodka
1. Begin by putting the jam into a small saucepan, and heating until it's runny. Put to one side.
2. Slice about 2.5" off the end of your cake. Take the piece you've just cut off and shorten it so it fits on top of the larger cake (using the jam as glue), then stick the second cut-off on top and carefully smooth the corners. Then, cut a small, shallow groove down the middle of the cake. It should look something like this:
3. Grab your fondant icing and the blue and yellow food colouring. Sprinkle some icing sugar on your worktop, then knead the fondant icing until it's soft and malleable. Cut off 1/3 and put it to one side, then add the food colouring to the remaining 2/3 and knead in until you have the desired colour.
4. Sprinkle some more icing sugar, then roll out the icing 'til it's about 3mm thick. Using the rolling pin for support, drape the icing over the cake and smooth it down. Carefully cut off any excess.
5. From here on it's mostly your call. I made some grey coloured fondant and cut it out to look like paving stones. To stick them on, lightly brush with the vodka (I don't really know why this is but my Mum's friend's daughter makes cakes professionally and it's what she uses, so I just go with it).
6. Mix some icing sugar with a splash of water and yellow and blue food colouring, then either grab a piping bag or just spoon it over the cake to resemble grass.
7. Create yourself some brown fondant, and cut out a round door and window. To give the wood effect, mix the colours in a small pot and then literally paint it on. Grab a cocktail stick and make the grooves, then dip the stick in the black colouring and paint where the grooves are. If you're feeling super nerdy you can also make yourself a little door handle and scratch in Gandalf's mark.
8. Make a few strips of pink fondant and roll them up into roses, and accompany with leaves (which Zosia kindly made for me). For the fence, cut a handful of cocktail sticks in half and stick them into the 'grass', then use a few splodges of the water icing to secure more cocktail sticks to lie across horizontally.
9. Aaaaand you're DONE. Now dress up like a hobbit and take it to your friend's house while you sing THIS all the way there.