Tomorrow, we have yet another sad farewell in my workplace, as Marian leaves us after more than half a year to go back to Uni. Marian is a bright, bubbly influence around our office, so she will be sorely missed. However, I am sure that she will go on to great things.
To mark Marian's farewell, I have made a very cute cake that I found in Ruth Pretty's Cooking at Springfield. Ruth runs a successful catering business in New Zealand, and is very well known there, but I originally learned of Ruth from one of the Kiwi food blogs that I regularly visit. While I was in New Zealand on vacation, I took the opportunity to buy one of Ruth's cookbooks, which don't seem to be stocked in Australian bookstores.
The cake that I made for Marian is the one which determined the cookbook that I would buy. Ruth calls it "Perfect-in-Pink Cake", but the yellow cake with raspberry jam, pink marshmallow and pink icing reminded me of an Iced VoVo biscuit (apparently a favourite with our new prime minister, Kevin Rudd). I decorated this very sweet concoction with a star in honour of Marian, one of our own stars!
To make this cake, you need the following ingredients:
a pinch of salt
50g butter, cubed
2 tablespoons boiling water
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cornflour
1 1/2 teaspoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon butter
5 teaspoons hot water
cake lollies to decorate (eg cachous; non-pariels)
Make the marshmallow first. I recommend doing this the night before, as it needs time to set. Start by greasing an 18cm cake pan very well, then sift together the cornflour and icing sugar and use this mixture to coat the interior of the pan. Shake out any excess powder.
Put the gelatine in a small heatproof bowl and add the 1/4 cup of water. Stir until combined and set aside for the gelatine to soak up all the water.
Heat the sugar and the 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan while stirring to avoid the sugar burning onto the pan. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from the heat.
Heat the gelatine slurry over a bain marie until the gelatine liquifies, then pour into the sugar syrup and return the mixture to the heat and bring to the boil. You should then turn down the heat and boil the mixture for 15 minutes, stirring all the while so that the sugar doesn't burn onto the pan. Remove from the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before pouring into the bowl of an electric mixer, combining with the vanilla essence and sufficient cochineal to colour the mixture a hue of pink to your liking. Beat the mixture until very thick (but do not overbeat) and pour into the prepared pan to set on the benchtop.
Once the marshmallow has set, make the cakes. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease 2 x 18cm cakepans well with butter, and line the base of each pan with baking paper.
Beat the eggs, salt and sugar together until thick and pale. Melt the butter in a bowl by combining with the boiling water and set aside. Sift the dry ingredients together, then fold into the batter alternately with the melted butter. Distribute the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans, and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
Cool the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cakes are cool, spread one side of each with raspberry jam. Turn the marshmallow round out of its tin and place on top of the jammy side of one cake, then place the other cake on top of the marshmallow, jammy side down.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake. Place a cookie cutter of your choice of shape (I used a star) in the centre of the cake and pour in non-pariels or other cake lollies to fill in the shape of the cookie cutter, and press the lollies lightly into the icing while the cutter is still in place. Once you have secured the lollies in the icing, carefully and slowly remove the cookie cutter.
What issues did I have in making this creation? I found that despite generous greasing, my cakes stuck slightly to the sides of the cake pans, and I had to run a knife around the edge of each before turning out. Removing the marshmallow in one piece from the cake pan was a battle, as can be seen from the rough edges in my photos! Should I have used a springform pan? Maybe I should have lined the tin with baking paper, or used a silicone pan. Or maybe if I had not overbeaten the marshmallow, it would have come out more readily because it would have been more flexible. In the end, I was grateful just to remove the marshmallow from the pan in one piece, so I won't ponder these mysteries further until I make this cake again.
This one's for you Marian, you star - good luck!