Thursday, 3 September 2015

Chocolate and Honeycomb Checkerboard Cake

Happy September! How did that happen? I swear it just turned July the other day. With September comes a rush of birthdays, so expect a lot of birthday cake posts over the next few weeks! First up, Reiss' birthday! As explained in last year's Birthday Banoffee Cake post, he's not a huge fan of the standard (and my go to) chocolate cake, so I'm always looking for inspiration for something a little bit different.
Those of you on a diet, it's best you turn back now. Those with a sweet tooth, you've come to the right place!

Introducing my white and dark chocolate checkerboard cake with honeycomb buttercream icing topped with a mountain of home-made honeycomb shards and chocolate swirls!
What a glorious mess. Honestly, this one's not for the faint-hearted. There's more sugar in there than I care to admit. I'm talking serious sugar shakes after one slice. However, that said, you have to go all out on your birthday, right?

I've had picture after picture of checkerboard cakes pinned onto my Sweet Treats Pinterest board for years now, such as this one, so I finally decided to take the plunge and attempt my own. I followed this recipe for the white chocolate and dark chocolate sponges, although had a huge fiasco involving dodgey flour and had to throw my first batch away, before quickly dashing to the shops to buy more ingredients - baking nightmare! After a second attempt, I cut circles in each sponge, making sure they were the same size (this is essential for a successful checkerboard effect), then carefully swapped the rings over so the flavours were alternating.

Just FYI, my cake wasn't attacked by tiny pirates. I had a bit of a crumbly malfunction and required some structural support.

I used this recipe for a honeycomb crunch buttercream icing. Be prepared to be horrified at the amount of icing sugar used; I had to use slightly less as I just couldn't bring myself to use a whole pack! After trimming the sponges to make sure they were level, I stuck them both together using a layer of icing before covering the whole cake in a probably over-generous smothering. No need for neatness with this cake, just throw it all on there!

Onto my favourite part: decorating! This was the first time I've ever made honeycomb, although this recipe was incredibly simple to follow. The whole process was surprisingly easy, not to mention very satisfying seeing the bubbly frothy reaction after adding bicarbinate of soda to the melted sugary mixture (it's like a controlled edible version of mixing Mentos and coca-cola).

Ever since stumbling across their jaw-dropping milkshakes a few months and immediately following their Instagram account, I've been in awe of Patissez's incredibly indulgent cakes. I took inspiration from their honeycomb cake for my decoration, piling up shards of honeycomb on top and sticking honeycomb crumbs along the bottom. Probably best to have the dentist on speed dial!

I then threw on my confetti of white and dark chocolate swirls.
Time for the moment of truth... Hold your breath and cut out your slices of cake to reveal the patterned surprise hidden inside! Breathe a sigh of relief that it actually worked!
One more photo just because...
I'm not going to lie, this cake is incredibly sickly, not helped by the fact that I put a bit too much icing on top, so make sure your slices are small! I also learnt the hard way that if you decorate the cake with the honeycomb and store it away for over a day before eating it, the honeycomb with absorb the cake's moisture and dissolve into a sugary, bicarb-ary mess. Sad times. So if you aren't eating your cake straight after you bake it, be sure to store your honeycomb shards in a sealed Tupperware box until you need them to keep that lovely crunch!

I shall now be laying off the sugar for the rest of the week...

What have you been baking recently?

Love, Beth xxx

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