Ever since the Great British Bake-Off, amateur bakers all over the UK have started setting themselves impossibly high standards. No longer satisfied with normal cakes, everyone suddenly started making three-tiered cakes, tuiles and other such stuff. I escaped this madness by the grace of not owning a television, so I’m still totally cool with not being able to make mille-feuille or croquembouche.
Unfortunately, the internet is doing to me what Great British Bake-off did to most others. Everyone and their dog is now into cake decorating and obviously, all of these pieces of art need to be posted online. I spend way too much time gawking at cakes that look like the Eye of Sauron, six-packs of Guinness, cats or giant hamburgers – things these cakes are all distinctly not but are made to look like for reasons I cannot quite fathom.
Despite all of my protestations of “a cake should taste good, not look good”, I kinda started feeling like a bit of a loser with all of my plain, boring, cake-looking cakes, and I felt that I also wanted to make something shiny and impressive. It’s just that I really suck at icing. I tried, it didn’t go down well.
I decided to scour the internet for some cheats that even a baking numpty like me could handle. I found some interesting creations that look impressive without actually being impressive. This one’s pretty famous by now, you may have seen it already. It’s essentially a dead plain Victoria sandwich that you cover with biscuits and m&ms. I think a plain Victoria might even be slightly nicer, but I wanted to go for the woah factor. It worked.
For one shiny flashy show-off cake, use:
- 200 gr flour
- 200 gr softened butter
- 200 gr sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 sachet baking powder
- an espresso cup of milk
For topping and decorating:
- 250 ml of fresh cream (for whipping)
- some vanilla-flavoured icing sugar (or just plain, what do you care)
- a few tbsp of jam of your choice (but strawberry’s best)
- a couple of packs of long chocolate biscuits like in the picture
- a bag of m&ms, with or without peanut centre
Beat the sugar together with the eggs. Add the flour, the butter, the baking powder and half the milk – use the other half if you think the batter looks particularly dense. Pop half of the micture in a buttered cake tin (a smallish one, about 20cm⌀) and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes on 200°C. Repeat with the rest of the batter so that you end up with two Victoria sponges.
Whip your whipping cream with the vanilla sugar, as much as you think is appropriate – I don’t like mine too sweet.
Once the sponges are cool, put the first one on whichever surface you want to serve your cakes on (in my case the signature black plate you see in tonnes of my pictures, mostly because the crockery is rather limited in my house). Cover with jam, then with some of the whipped cream, then put the second cake on top. Now lather both of them with whipped cream so that your decorations will stick.
Start by attaching the biscuits to the sides – the cream should keep them up. Then sprinkle m&ms on top until most of the whipped cream is invisible. Serve to children or easily impressionable adults.