This is a collab cake bake with my housemate Kirsty; she was attending an Olympic Opening Ceremony Bake Off Party back home and needed to bake a quintessentially british cake, and had the idea of using her new giant cupcake cake mould to make a Team GB cake, and the idea was that we were going to frost the union flag onto the top of it. But then the ideas started rolling and we came up with the idea to do a red velvet cake, but then also a blue velvet cake interspersed with white icing. So it’s a literal cake representation of the union flag and everything Team GB.
So here it is:
This is a fairly traditional recipe to make, it follows the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rule for butter, sugar and flour. The recipe we used is from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy, we chose this recipe because unlike others this recipe has a raising agent, and we were already being inventive, innovative, bold (call it what you will) we didn’t want to risk it not rising or being too dense. It’s just the colouring and assembly/decoration that really make this cake. So I’ll go through those parts in more depth than the actual recipe. We made two cakes, one red, one blue. The ingredients are to make one cake, you’ll need to repeat to make the cake of the opposite colour. This is so that we get the layered effect inside.
Ingredients (per cake, you’ll need 2!)
350g (12oz) butter at room temperature
350g (12oz) caster sugar
350g (12oz) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
50g cocoa powder (we left this out of the blue cake to make sure we didn’t make it less blue)
1 teaspoon (roughly, add more to get a brighter colour) of red or blue colouring paste (I use this over food colouring liquid for two reasons, the colour you get is much brighter than you can get from food colouring and because you’re using less you don’t get a horrible taste that food colouring tends to leave)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F / Gas Mark 4)
- Cream the butter in a large bowl until nice and soft, then add the sugar, beating together until soft.
- Add the vanilla and two of the eggs and beat together until combined, at this point beat in about 1/3 of the flour to stop the mixture splitting and curdling.
- Beat in two more eggs and then the final two eggs, next add the cocoa (if using)
- Finally whisk in the colouring paste; you should have a vibrant colour like the image above, if not just add a little more colouring until you’re happy with it. It’ll change colour when it bakes anyway.
- Grease the tin with butter; and because you can’t line it with baking paper sprinkle flour over the greased tin making sure it sticks the entire tin, over the sink tap off the excess flour. This will stop the cake sticking and acts like baking paper (my old uni housemate and good friend Kat taught me this – thanks Kat!)
- Divide the cake mix between the two halves of the tin. And put into your pre-heated oven. As for baking times, ours took around 1hr per cake, because it is a very deep cake. The best way you can check it is by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the cake, when it comes out clean you know it’s ready. If it’s not clean when you take it out, put the cake back into the oven for another 5-7 mins, and repeat this until it is ready.
- Bake the second colour cake (if baking a two coloured cake)
This will be your base white butter icing, to decorate with the union flag you’ll need to colour the icing with the appropriate colouring.
110g (4oz) unsalted butter
450g (1lb) icing sugar
85g (3oz) cocoa powder
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Beat the butter in a bowl until it is very soft, then add the salt and vanilla essence and beat together
- Add about a quarter of the icing sugar and beat into the butter mixture until it’s fully combined.
- Add a spoonful of the milk and then follow with more of the dry ingredients.
- Repeat this until all icing sugar is combined in the mixture
- Beat this until light and fluffy.
This is what makes this cake!
Right, leave your cakes to cool for about ten minutes in the tin to let them gain some stability. To get them out of the tin, take a wire rack (I’m actually using one of the oven trays, just make sure it’s cool!) place it on top of your cakes. Grab hold of the wire rack and the edges of the cake tin, mine was hot so I still had oven gloves on, and flip making sure the wire rack doesn’t come out of contact with the top of the tin. Put it back on the work surface and remove the tin carefully. Put the cakes up the right way and leave to cool completely before moving onto the next stage.
To get the cake’s stripes of colours through it we need to layer the cake up. Though we already have a red top and bottom and a blue top and bottom we wanted more stripes of colour. so using a cake leveller (they’re inexpensive and bring precision to this) measure half way up the base and set the leveller to this height. Then with your hand steadying the cake with a sawing motion break into the cake, this part is usually the hardest as the cake’s outer skin is the thickest part. When you’ve got in don’t just go straight across, try to turn the wire so that you work around the cake in a circular motion and are only putting pressure on one part of the skin of the cake, you’ll create less crumbs this way and keep your cake more intact. Now level the top of this cake off with the same height as you just used to cut the base off. Move onto the tops of the cakes. so that you have four layers, two red, two blue.
We noticed that the blue cake had a slight green hue around the edge, so we wanted to steer clear of having the top piece as a blue piece, as it’s the thinest part so more of it would be green. So for this reason we stacked it, from bottom up, blue, red, blue, red. We piped a generous layer of white icing between each layer to stick it together, being careful to line the cupcake case lines up. Then we filled any gaps with some more icing. To stick the white chocolate fingers around the edge two layers of icing were piped and then the white chocolate fingers added to create the ‘cupcake case’.
As for piping it, as you know from previously posts, I’m still very a novice when it comes to piping. But this couldn’t be easier, so long as you take your time. I was concerned at first that the red wasn’t red enough, but it was just the lighting, I had gotten to the point where you added more colouring but it wouldn’t get any brighter. So the technique used for this pipe was just mini stars throughout. Starting with the St George’s cross across the main cake. These were to be the biggest stars as it’s the thickest part of the union flag. Then I went across with the red St Patrick’s cross, but slightly thinner this time. This was then followed by the white of the St Andrew’s cross surrounding all of the red. Then finally I piped in the blue from the rest of the Scottish Flag. And that’s it. The piping probably took about fifteen minutes all in all…pretty simple, but just take your time.
And this is the result! Kirsty found some great Team GB LEGO minifigures from the latest minifigure set and these really just set the whole thing off.