Birthday Cake

After much humming and hah-ing about what cake to make for my daughter's 2nd birthday I came up with a grassy knoll....

Not very exhilarating you may think, but atop it will be plonked, er carefully placed, Ben & Holly's castle.  I was going to make Gaston the ladybird from the same series, but there is no way I am going to be able to get to the shops for black and red gel in time unless Waitrose get here tout de suite.  So grassy knoll it is with a few toadstools and perhaps a mini Gaston to decorate.

If you don't have small children you will have no ides what I'm talking about, but suffice to say it's a pre-school TV program that is funny enough for adults to enjoy (due to a very sarcastic Nanny Plum) and Littlest loves it.

The recipe I am using is an old favourite - very easy to make and it really is the most moist, scrummy chocolate cake ever.  At every birthday party, people can't believe I made it.  I am never sure whether to take that as a compliment or not...

Anyway, it is, of course, a Nigella recipe from her book Feast.  I am wont to cheat and when time is tight use Betty Crocker instead of the given icing recipe, but shhh!  Don't tell!

For the cake:

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
40g best quality cocoa
175g soft, unsalted butter
2 large eggs (free range please!)
2 tsps vanilla extract (NOT essence!)
150ml sour cream


Preheat oven to 140ÂșC/gas mark 4.  Line two 20cm cake tins.

Bung all the ingredients into your kitchenaid/food processor and mix until you have a smooth, thick batter.  Divide between the two tins and bake for about 35 minutes but do check according to how your oven bakes (Mine new oven seems to cook very quickly and I take them out about 20-25 mins!).  I also put a small dish of water in the bottom of the oven to keep the sponge moist.
Leave to cool for 10 mins before turning them out of their tins and cooling on a wire rack.

I fill with 1/3 tub of Betty Crocker choc fudge icing and then splat the rest over the top.  Then leave as is, or decorate with flowers, mini-eggs, whatever takes your fancy!

My Easter cake, decorated by the kids!

Or, I have smoothed over some warmed apricot jam and then rolled icing to make a variety of party cakes.


Ah-ha!  I think I hear the soft rumble of a Waitrose van....Let the cake-making commence!


  1. God you're a bit good! You've inspired me to try something like this. Joel's a big dinosaur fan. I'll report back! (I'm visiting today from the Love All Blogs showcase)

  2. Oh i love Nigella's recipes too! I need to try this one soon too!

  3. The dinosaur is easier than it looks. Just bake a normal round sandwich cake, slice off about a quarter and flip the cake up (for the hump). The other sliced off bit is the tail. The head is one large ball of icing! I always buy the ready rolled, cos I like to cheat! Then it's laying it over, coaxing and on to the equivalant of a play-doh session! I copied the look of the Waitrose one...