Last year the toddler was all about the cars and trucks. This year however it’s animals, dragons and dinosaurs. He just can’t get enough of them. As his third birthday approached it became apparent that everyone (except him) was expecting an elaborate cake. So much for the laid-back early birthday years. I was going to have to up my game or endure a running commentary on all the ways I deprive my child.
The hardest part of this was cooking the base. I had a decent chocolate cake recipe. I just needed to double it up and make two layers for cutting the shapes from. I did a practise-run chocolate cake for my mother’s birthday and it went well. So of course when I did the double batch two days later it went totally wrong. Despite extra time in the oven, both were still soft and liquid in the middle. To the extent that one collapsed before I could get it back in the oven and attempt to salvage it. If you have a reliable oven that consistently cooks food in the same amount of time repeatedly, then here’s the recipe for the chocolate cake base. If your oven is similar to mine, then add an unspecified amount of extra time for cooking and stab with a knife periodically to see if it might finally have set.
5 oz self-raising flour
6 oz caster sugar
6 heaped tbsp cocoa
6 oz margarine
Cream the sugar and margarine in a bowl.
Add the eggs and mix together.
Fold in the flour.
Turn into a greased circular tin (approx 8 inches)
Cook at 200°C for 25 to 30 minutes.
After I’d mixed and baked a replacement cake base I was running out of time and patience for the whole endeavour. I still had to go and get groceries for the evening dinner. “*I£@ it,” I thought, and picked up a tub of pre-made icing that was practically trying to jump into my basket and save the day. I decided a minimal amount of cheating was okay. My contribution to the icing-making was a few drops of green food colouring. The label on the colouring had some disturbing warnings about children running around off their faces on E numbers. I added a good dose of it in anyway, because otherwise it would have been a white dinosaur, which is a dragon colour according to my son. Using the shop-bought vanilla icing meant I had to abandon my plan to add mint flavour to the icing. But the chances of my producing spreadable and edible icing were minimal anyway, so no great loss.
There it was – one green dinosaur cake. As could expected with a 3 year old that had been happy to see a brocolli cake, he was totally delighted when he realised it was, in fact, a dinosaur cake. Neither he nor I are massive fans of sugary icing, but the cake didn’t taste too bad at all, even if I do say so myself.
- I used my own cake mixture
- I only used one tub of icing
- A lack of any icing/decorating skills
- A total lack of any patience whatsoever