Last week was Niall’s birthday and like any kind and wonderful girlfriend I made him a birthday cake. I really wanted to make something special, and I love the effect of these buttercream roses. They look so elegant that I used them as my decoration. Niall enjoys fruit flavours so I wanted to make a raspberry sponge to contrast the white of the buttercream. However, no matter how hard I looked I could not find a recipe for a fruit sponge of any kind. Baking cakes can be very hard sometimes, they are temperamental and just any imbalance in ingredients can cause a cake to fail. Despite not finding a recipe to work from I decided to have a go at just putting some blended raspberry in the mix and crossing my fingers. The cake burned on the outside and was uncooked in the middle. I’m not ashamed to admit that I did have a little cry about it. However, ever the resourceful girl, I decided to pull myself together as it was already 10pm and I needed to make this cake by the next morning. A quick visit to the Pinoy mart and I had secured a box of cake-mix which required water to be added to it. I measured the raspberries in my measuring cup, topped it up with water until it reached the required amount and used this as my flavouring. This cake was a triumph compared to my previous one. Some of you may consider this cheating, but box cake mixes are there for a reason, they produce consistent results every time. If anyone has a recipe for a fruit flavoured sponge then I would love to have it.

Ingredients

1 box of strawberry cake mix (follow the instructions on the back of the pack)

100g  of frozen raspberries

Cream cheese butter cream

200g of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 stick of butter (113g)

300g icing sugar (you may need more)

A few drops of vanilla essence

150g white chocolate (melted)

A few drops of vanilla extract

Directions

To make the buttercream melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir and leave to cool slightly. Beat together the butter and the cream cheese. When the chocolate is still melted but not hot (you don’t want to melt the butter) add to the butter and cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the the vanilla extract and stir in the icing sugar until the butter cream has thickened to the right consistency. Leave at room temperature. If you put it into the fridge it will set and make it hard to frost the cake.

Make the cake according to the directions of the pack. I substituted some of the water for blended raspberries. Bake the cake in the oven until a tooth pick comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 20 minutes to cool before trying to remove it. Once the cake is out leave it in a cool place or refrigerator to rest for a couple of hours before you attempt to slice the layers. If the top is uneven, level it off. Slice the cake in two then fill the middle with the buttercream and sandwich the two halves together. Put a crumb coating on the cake and leave to set in the refrigerator for another hour.

When the crumb coating has set you can begin to decorate. Using a piping bag and 1M Wilton tip, make spirals all around the cake. You start in the middle then work out to make the rose. The nozzle does all the work, there isn’t really a trick to it. I did the side of my cake first then did the top. Fill in any dead space with lines of the frosting.

I find that as I am doing the piping work my butter cream begins to melt in the bag, so if you want a really sharp finish you will need to do it in stages, letting the buttercream chill in the fridge between applications, Mine are a bit messy because it was 2am and I just wanted to go to bed. Once the cake is finished, chill in the fridge for one hour, then serve and impress all your friends. Voilà a very beautiful birthday cake.

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