So let's get to it and bake!
Raspberry & White Chocolate with Jelly Beans Illusion Cake. Yum
Yield: 1 x 7" 3 layers cake
Serves: 10 - 12
Time: hands on time around 90 minutes; plus 40 - 50 minutes bake time; cooling time.
Freezable: Yes, undecorated
You will need:
Electric Hand Held Beater
Spatula or large Metal Spoon
2 x 7" Sandwich Cake Tins
Bowl & Pan suitable for building a bain marie for melting chocolate
Cake Stand or Plate
Piping Bag (optional)
small strip of narrow Cellotape
Small Paint Brush, reserved for food use only
Tissue or Tissue Paper
For the Raspberry Sponge
140g Unsalted Butter, softened (plus a little extra for preparing the tins)
4 medium Eggs, beaten
10g Raspberry Flavoured Gel Flavouring
Gel Food Colouring
140g SR Flour (Plus a little extra for preparing the tins)
30g Natural Yoghurt
For the White Chocolate Sponge
20g White Chocolate
70g Unsalted Butter, softened (plus a little extra for preparing the tin)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 medium Eggs, beaten
70g SR Flour (plus a little extra for preparing the tin)
For the White Chocolate & Mascarpone Frosting
400g White Chocolate
400g Mascarpone (Full Fat)
Assembly and Decoration
1 tbsp. Seedless Raspberry Jam
40g White Chocolate
500g Jelly Beans
White Chocolate Cigarellos (optional) or White Chocolate Cadbury Fingers (optional)
How to make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c / Fan 160c / Gas 4.
2. Prepare the sandwich tins. Grease the base and side of two sandwich tins. Place a teaspoon of flour into one of the tins. Rock the tin around so that all of the greased surfaces are covered in flour. Knock the excess into the second tin and again distribute the flour in the same way. Tip out any excess flour.
3. Make the raspberry sponge. Place the softened butter and sugar into a good sized bowl. Beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the raspberry flavouring and beat again. Use a toothpick (or similar) to add a little of your chosen gel food colouring to the mixture. Beat again. Sieve the flour into the mixture. Using a spatula or large metal spoon fold this in gently. Add the yogurt and mix gently to combine.
4. Fill the two sandwich tins. Divide the mixture between the two prepared sandwich tins. You're aiming for the tins to be half to two - thirds full. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to level out the mixture. Make a small hollow in the centre of the batter to encourage the cake to bake level rather than domed.
5. Bake. Place the two tins in the centre of the oven and bake for about 22 - 25 minutes. You may need to rotate the tins three quarters of the way through the bake. The cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean. The cake will also pull away from the side of the tin slightly. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray. After 5 minutes carefully remove the cakes from their tins and allow to cool fully on the cooling tray.
6. Prepare a sandwich tin. Wash one of the used sandwich cake tins for the next sponge. Grease the base and side of the tin. Place a teaspoon of flour into the tin. Rock the tin around so that all of the greased surfaces are covered in flour. Tip out any excess flour.
7. Melt the white chocolate. Break the chocolate for the frosting and the sponge cake (totalling 420g) into smallish pieces and place in a bowl. Select a pan which allows the bowl to rest safely on the top of it. Pour a little water into the pan, about 5cm deep. Rest the bowl on the pan and ensure that its base doesn't touch the water. Place the pan and suspended bowl over a medium heat on the hob. Once the chocolate has almost melted remove it from the heat and stir with a metal spoon or spatula. Set aside to cool for a 4 or 5 minutes.
8. Make the white chocolate sponge. Place the softened butter and sugar into a good sized bowl. Beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again to combine. Sieve the flour and salt into the mixture. Using a spatula or large metal spoon fold this in gently. Add 1.5 tablespoon of the cooled melted white chocolate and fold in until all of the ingredients are combined.
9. Fill the sandwich tin. Spoon the mixture into the prepared sandwich tin. You're aiming for the tin to be half to two - thirds full. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to level out the mixture. Make a small hollow in the centre of the batter to encourage the cake to bake level rather than domed.
10. Bake. Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for about 22 - 25 minutes. You may need to rotate the tin three quarters of the way through the bake. The cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean. The cake will also pull away from the side of the tin slightly. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray. After 5 minutes carefully remove the cake from its tin and allow to cool fully on the cooling tray.
11. Meanwhile make the frosting. Tip the mascarpone into a bowl. Use a metal spoon to briefly stir it to soften, avoid over stirring. Pour in the remaining cooled melted white chocolate. Mix the mascarpone mixture well. Cover and place in the fridge to firm up for about two hours.
12. Prepare to assemble. Place a tablespoon of raspberry jam into a bowl. Stir to loosen. Add a teaspoon of water and stir again. Remove the frosting from the fridge and briefly stir through to loosen. Fill a piping bag (no nozzle required) two-thirds with some of the frosting, (I find it easier to apply the frosting to the cake this way, though isn't essential).
13. Start the assemble. Place one of the raspberry sponges on your chosen cake stand or plate. Spoon a little raspberry jam onto the cake's upper surface. Spread it out. Pipe on (or use a pallet knife) some frosting. Use a pallet knife to spread it out. Place the white chocolate cake onto the prepared surface. Repeat with the jam and frosting layer to the white chocolate cake. Place the second raspberry cake on top. Try to ensure that the three stacked cakes aren't leaning.
14. Apply the frosting. Pipe some of the frosting over the top of the cake and around the sides (or apply with a pallet knife). Use a pallet knife to spread the frosting all around the cake. Ensure that all of the surfaces have a nice thin layer of frosting. Place the cake into the fridge for half an hour to allow the frosting to firm up. Apply the remaining frosting to the top and sides of the cake either by piping it or with the pallet knife. Take your time to smooth out the frosting as best you can. Aim to get the side of the cake as smooth as you're able if you're not affixing any cigarillo (or similar). Either leave it this way or use a patterned cake scraper to apply a parallel pattern to the side, as I did.
15. Melt the white chocolate. In the same way as point 7, above, melt the white chocolate.
16. Build the illusion. Place the three straws into top of the cake, very close together, on a slight angle. Use a narrow piece of cellotape to secure the three exposed straw tips. Use a small brush (reserved for food use only) to apply a layer of melted white chocolate to the exposed straws. Decant the jelly beans into a bowl, remembering to retain one of the containers for the illusion. Paint a small amount of white chocolate to a jelly bean's surface which will be in contact with the straw. Stick the bean to the base of the straw where it emerges from the cake, apply a small amount of pressure. Gradually add two or three more jelly beans around the base of the straw. Allow the white chocolate 'glue' to dry for a few minutes before building up the layers of sweet on the straw. Whilst those on the straw are drying, start to apply a few to the top of the cake. You may want to have some overflowing the side of the cake too.
17. Affix cigarellos or white chocolate fingers (optional). Consider standing a line of cigarellos (or similar) to the sides of the cake. Simply apply a small amount of pressure to affix them to the frosting.
18. Complete the illusion. Place a clean tissue or tissue paper into the jelly bean container. Position the container in the illusion so that the straws sit inside the sweet container.
a) Avoid overfilling the sandwich cake tins. Should you have any sponge batter remaining, consider using it to make a muffin sized cupcake and bake it for about 20 minutes. If you have room in the oven you could bake it at the same time as the cake layers.
b) Avoid using too much jam and frosting between the cake layers as this could result in them slipping.
c) Don't be concerned if the first layer of frosting shows a few cake crumbles, these will be hidden once the second layer of frosting is applied.
d) Consider the angle which will create a 'natural' looking illusion. Place the straws into the cake at this angle.
e) Stand back from the cake periodically to try to judge how 'realistic' the illusion of pouring sweets look, considering where more sweet need to be positioned.
f) Take your time in building up the layers of sweets, allowing them to dry before adding more (this only takes a couple of minutes).
g) The tissue inside the jelly bean container will help you to position it on a more effective angle.