Just after my brother’s birthday last year, I sent him a link to a ‘Playable Angry Birds cake’ on YouTube, to which his immediate response was that I had to make the same thing for him this year.
Thinking it would be a little too difficult to make and transport this enormous masterpiece to a civilised restaurant such as Armani/Aqua, my mum and I decided to opt for a slightly scaled version, which we hoped would still have a ‘wow’ effect.
Fortunately the cake did have its desired affect (see his silly excited smile above!) and I have subsequently been asked to share it on The Dim Sum Diaries – both the basic cake recipe and photos of the finished product, so here you are.
Firstly, the actual cake: my brother has never been a huge chocolate fan, so I made his favourite cake: carrot. Jamie Oliver has the most amazing carrot cake, which he fittingly calls ‘a rather pleasing carrot cake’. I found the recipe a couple of years ago and since then I will never make any other carrot cake. Once you’ve tried it, trust me, you won’t either. It’s quite a time-consuming cake, but the result is more than worth it.
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g light brown soft sugar
5 eggs, separated
zest and juice of 1 orange
170g self-raising flour, sifted
1 slightly heaped teaspoon baking powder
100g ground almonds
100g shelled walnuts, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch ground cloves
a pinch ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
250g carrots, peeled and coarsely ground
100g mascarpone cheese
200g full-fat cream cheese
85g icing sugar
zest and juice of 2 limes
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 22cm-square cake tin or a round equivalent with greaseproof paper.
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one by one, and add the orange zest and juice.
Stir in the sifted flour and baking powder, and add the ground almonds, walnuts, spices and grated carrot and mix together well.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then gently fold them into the cake mix.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared cake tin and cook in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes until golden and risen, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a rack and rest for at least an hour.
Mix all the icing ingredients together and spread generously over the top of the cake.
Our Angry Birds cake required double the quantity and thus just a little bit longer in the oven.
The cake was the simple part; it was the icing and the figures that took most of the day. Everything was edible: the pigs and birds were made of marzipan, fondant icing, a lot of food colouring and licorice; the structure for the pigs was made of Ferrero Tronkys; the slingshot was a Twix and two chocolate fingers, the broken bricks were broken almond biscuits, and so on.
There was a near casualty transporting the cake to the restaurant, which required re-making the structure and securing it with new toothpicks to keep it in place, but all in all it was an absolute success. I dread to think what he’ll make me do next year?!