Tank Cake

It’s September and my partner’s birthday is getting close… I usually bake him a massive cake to celebrate it but I have no idea what to bake this year. He likes tanks and anything WWI and WWII related so last year I made a huge tank cake. I want to share it with you as it’s a pride and joy of mine.

For the ingredients I just baked 2 recipes of vanilla sponge cakes and 1 chocolate sponge.

I had the idea to create a sort of camo pattern cake so I separated the vanilla cake mix in two and added some green food coloring to one half. That gave me 3 colors to work with: natural sponge cake, colored green and the brown of the chocolate cake.

I baked 3 sponges using 3 different cake tins. The large rectangular one will be the base, the big round will be the body and the small round will be the top. 

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Once the cakes cooled down I piled them up sticking them with buttercream and proceeded to cut the shape of a tank. Once I finished cutting bits off (and eating them) I covered it all with green buttercream. It looked like this:

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I added some Oreo biscuits to create the wheels of the tank and Kit-kat bars to create the tracks covering the tank wheels. I think they look really good!

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I added some more cookies and other biscuits to add more detail and then I piped on hinges, bolts, plaques and other details with butterceam to make it look more “real”

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And here is the result!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I crushed half a pack of digestive biscuits to create the sand underneath the tank and I forgot to take a picture of it but I also bought green plastic soldiers to put all around the tank as a decoration. Ta dah!

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Make your own cookie cutters

I can’t believe I never thought of that!

Cookie cutters sometimes are so ridiculously expensive that you want to think it twice before buying a design that you might only use once a year… Well, this is the solution to our problems my friends!

You will need:

A can of larger (who hasn’t got one of those around?) or any other drink, but lager cans tend to be taller therefore you’ll get more cutters out of it.

A pair of kitchen scissors.

Super glue and maybe some electrical tape.

And here’s the process!

1. First of all you need to wash your can thoroughly. 

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2. For this step you might want to use garden gloves or any other kind of protection for your hands as tin can cut really easily through your skin. So proceed to cutting the top and bottom of the can, very carefully!

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3. Then cut the rest of the can in even stripes.

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4. Now you just need mold the stripes into the shapes you desire (down side is that you can’t really make any crazy shapes so you want to keep it simple) To tie the ends together you can either use super glue or electrical tape. You can also tape all around one of the edges of the cutter so you won’t cut yourself when pressing the cutter onto the though.

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5. And now you just need to use your cutters to get your desired cookies! 

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Steps 6+7 cook and enjoy!

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A word of warning…

The information in this photo might sound random and out of the blue but I think it’s important to share:

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My dad has an allotment and I remember helping him to pick up potatoes at the beginning of every summer. I also remember he pretty much made me throw away the potatoes that had a green coloured skin. He said: “Potatoes grow under the soil to protect themselves from the sun, when a potato sees the sunlight they go green. It’s like when you go to the beach without sun cream and you go red, and it’s painful. Now we don’t want that, do we?” Wise works daddy…

 

Mojito Cupcakes

Summer is pretty much gone and I hate cold drinks in winter, so I had to work out another way to have a Mojito cocktail without ice… So what better than cupcakes???

These are delicious and they are very original, outside the typical chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes you see everywhere. Let’s start with the ingredients!

Ingredients

125ml milk

10g mind leafs (crushed)

190g flour

1 1/2 tsp rising powder

114g butter

250g sugar

2 eggs

2-3 tbsp white rum (2 if you want it soft, 3 if you want it porpper! Your choice)

The zest of 1 1/2 limes

A pinch of salt

You might want extra mint leafs and an extra lime to decorate.

For the buttercream

170g butter

250g icing sugar

1 tbsp of lime juice

1 1/2 tbsp white rum

 

How to proceed

Preheat your oven at 180ºC

Pour the milk in a saucepan with the crushed mint leafs, heat it up and take it off the hob once it start boiling. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes, then sift the milk and leave to cool for a further 30 minutes or until completely cold.

Mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then combine together.

Add the completely cool and sifted milk to the mix and combine until uniform.

Prepare your cupcake tray with liners and fill them 3/4 in.

Put in the oven until golden or until an inserted screwer comes out clean. Usually it takes 20-25 minutes depending the oven so keep an eye on them!

Once cooked leave them to cool on a cooling rack. Meantime you can prepare the buttercream.

Mix all the liquid ingredients together and add the sifted icing sugar little by little while combining together. You can add few drops of yellow or green food colouring to give them a more vivid appearance, like this. But in this case I haven’t.

When the cupcakes are completely cold proceed to pipe the buttercream on them, use your favourite nozzle or simply do it with a spatula giving them a smooth finish. Add some mint leafs and/or slices of lime to decorate and you’re ready to go! You can also use lime candy like this to decorate them in a more sweet manner.

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Victoria Sponge Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

The Victoria Sponge Cake is a British classic, I twitched this all time favourite to add one of my favourite ingredients of all: CHOCOLATE! So instead of filling the cake with cream or buttercream I made chocolate buttergream. Om nom nom…

This traditional recipe is also one of the easiest cakes to make as you just have to add all the ingredients together without worrying to much about the result.  For this recipe you will need two 20cm/8” cake tins. Let’s start:

Ingredients

4 Eggs

2 tsp Baking Powder

225g Caster Sugar

225g Self Raising Flour

225g Butter

Ingredients for the filling

Raspberry or Strawberry jam 

75g butter

225g icing sugar

60g good dark chocolate (melted)

 

How to proceed

Preheat the oven at 180ºC.

Add all the ingredients together: start with the eggs, then the sugar, baking powder, self raising four and finally the butter.

Mix thoroughly until well combined, do not over-mix.

Divide your mix evenly between the two tins, level the surface of the mix so it’ll cook evenly.

Put in the oven for 25 min at 180º

When cooked -you will know the sponges are cooked when they separate from the edges of the tin and when an inserted screwer in the middle comes out dry, you will eave them to cool down. Leave them in the tin for few minutes and then take them out to cool completely.

Meantime you can prepare the filling: Sift the icing sugar, melt the butter and the chocolate together and mix everything well. If the icing seems too dry you can add few tablespoons of milk one at the time making sure it doesn’t become too runny.

When the sponges are completely cold spread some jam on the bottom half of the cake, then carefully spread the chocolate buttercream on top of it (you can pipe it on to avoid spreading away the layer of jam) put the other sponge on top of the spread and press lightly to set the two halves together (don’t push too hard or the filing will spill through the edges!)

Your Victoria cake is nearly ready, now you just need to sift some icing sugar or cocoa powder on top of your cake and you’re read to go!

You can use some sort of stencil when putting the sugar on the top to create nice patterns. Like for example: this flowery one, or this less feminine more “trendy” stripy one. I’d really like to try something like this some day, but I didn’t have the time nor patience today so this is how mine turned out:

 

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And as one of my favourite architects used to say…

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