Chocolate Surprise Cake – will with favourite treats

A super quick post to share the hubby’s Birthday cake – it was a “Sweetie Chocolate layered surprise cake”. It sounds far more grand and difficult to make than it is….. and everyone LOVED the surprise!!! The key to the “flatness of the cake” (my mother in law was asking), is to bake 4 “thinner” cakes. rather than say, two bigger ones and then cutting those in half to layer… my thinner cakes just didn’t rise as much and ended up much flatter naturally!


Chocolate Surprise CakeTo make i..

  • Use your favourite Vanilla sponge recipe x 2
  • Make up your mixture and then halve.. had  2-3 table spoons of cocoa (mixed with a little milk) to half the mixture.
  • Bake in four round baking trays

Chocolate Surprise Cake filled with sweets

  • Once cooled, make your favourite Butter Icing Filling
  • Make a big hole in the middle and the stack your 4 layers with the icing
  • Fill with sweets

Chocolate Surprise Cake

Once assembled use some of that “melt & spread” cake covering you can get from the shops (I actually found this the hardest bit)! and top with some unwrapped treats (ours are fudge sweets and twirls).

Chocolate Surprise Cake - filled with treats

ENJOY!

 

Super Easy Moist Chocolate Cake (Malteser Cake!)

Sooo it is that time again at Life At The Zoo – we are bang in the middle of our family “birthday season”.. and with family birthdays.. comes the need for CAKE! We all like a yummy cake now and again, but it is nice to make your cake a little bit more special for a birthday. Special, does not mean difficult.. here we have a super easy moist chocolate cake recipe (really, so easy, so rich and tasty) and we a little trick or two we dressed it up into this three layered delicious Maleteser cake. Mother in law was delighted!

Maltese moist chocolate cakeEasy Malteser Cake

Visit our Easy Chocolate & Raspberry Cake recipe.. and make these simple changes:

  • This time I used three medium sized cake tins (instead of one or two and having to cut the what is a very moist cake). In fact I lie.. I used 3 medium sized tins. And two mini ones.. to make an extra mini cake for the kids…
  • Take cake out of oven, when a skewer “test” shows that the cake is cooked
  • I omitted the “Gelatine” from the raspberry cream, as faffy.. just add a handful of raspberries to the cream on the inside of cake (I used about 2/3s of one pot of double cream for this
  • Buy Maltesers and pop them on top

Malteser Cake - Easy chocolate cake recipe

This chocolate cake really is sooooooo easy! The kids loved the mini cake too!

Easy Chocolate CakeAnd here you see the Raspberry Cream. Yum!

 

Choc & Raspberry Muffins

Sorry! No photo this time. What a shame too, as the muffins did look rather scrummy, if I say so myself – even if the icing was a bit runny! No photos as they ALL got scoffed before I remembered to take one. And I tell you, that is quite an achievement, I made 12 + a cake (the original ingredients were for far too many, the recipe below is adjusted for about 12 muffins!!!). Much to the dismay of The Englishman and Red Ted, half he cake went to neighbours (saying thanks for all the fab hand me downs we get) and 10 muffins to a tea party in Ham!

Enough. Here is he recipe:

Muffins:

  • 110g Butter
  • 225g Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt (unless you have used salted butter)
  • 60g coco powder
  • 120g milk
  • 1tsp vanilla

Frosting:

  • 150g Butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • handful of raspberries

Muffins:

Mix sugar and butter. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients, then add alternating with the milk. Bake in 180 C approx 25min – but check. Also used these ingredients in a cake tin and it worked!!

Icing:

Now my icing went all wrong. So the above is guess work. Not v helpful, eh? But it was yummy and the yummy bit where the raspberries. So. Advice from icing queen: use lots of butter. Whisk for AGES until it is nice and soft. Add some liquidised/ blended raspberries and then icing sugar. Don’t add all the raspberries (like i did) as they are v liquidy. Once you have a nice consistency, add remaining quartered raspberries for flavour and texture.

Owl Cake

Ok.. this is a very short post, as I just wanted to show you Pip Squeak’s Owl Cake… it is short, as basically, I haven’t perfected the cake recipe yet and “all you have to do” is pick a cake you like and decorate it..

We had two simple Victoria Sponges, filled some Chocolate Butter Cream (I doubled the ingredients).

Bake your cake, then fill it with chocolate butter cream and also spread it around the outside.

For the Owl Cake decoration:

  • Ready to roll icing + some food colouring (red & yellow)
  • Chocolate buttons
  • Smarties
  1. Find a plate that is the same size as your cake, use this to lay out your different parts and get the sizing right – rather than touch the chocolate cream with the icing and get it all brown looking.
  2. I coloured some the ready to roll icing with a tiny bit of red to make it pink, rolled it out and cut out two wings. And using a glass cut out two circles for the eyes.
  3. Cut out two larger circles with a larger glass from some of the white icing.
  4. Colour a tiny bit in yellow for the beak
  5. Find all the pink Smarties (though in retrospect, I think multicoloured would have looked nice too)
  6. Then place your white circles and pink circles on your cake, add a chocolate button for the pupil (I stuck in down with some butter cream). Add your wings and then rows of Smarties. Done!

The Girl was very lucky indeed, as she didn’t just get the one cake! No, she got THREE cakes. And each with candles and a Happy Birthday song (the god parents each brought a cake):

She looks pretty happy, doesn’t she? A delicious pear cake and a super duper Charlie & Lola cake! Perfect.

Little girl birthday cake heaven! Check out what else we did on her Birthday – our visit to the Bear Factory and see her lovely new Doll’s House bits and pieces!

(Oh and I love this KitKat and Smarties cake.. I think this will be on the agenda for The Boy’s birthday!)

Baking with Kids: Simple Jam Tarts

Here are some simple Jam Tarts that make for a nice treat on a rainy day afternoon. And we are having plenty of those. So baking with kids is on the agenda.

baking with kids

We make our own short crust pastry. As the jam is sweet, we make the pasty plain. But you can add a little icing sugar and an egg yolk to make it richer and smoother. Not needed though. So. Our simple jam tarts:

Sweet Short Crust pastry

  • (Makes 14-15)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter (room temperature ideally)
  • 3-4 tbsp of sugar (add to taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp of milk
Filling
  • Jam, great to use up any jars that are nearly finished, we used homemade apricote jam

  • Muffin Tin
  • 8cm Dia Circular Cookie Cutter or a large glass/ cup

Preheat oven to 180C

  1. Mix your flour, but and sugar until you have a crumbly dough
  2. Add your 3-4 tbsp of milk (you can use water if you like, but milk a little richer)
  3. Roll out the dough about 0.5cm. Using an 8cm cookie circular cutter, cut out circles and place them in your muffin tin.
  4. Fill each Jam Tart with a generous portion of jam. The kids loved doing this bit and yes, there was a little mess.
  5. Place in oven and bake until pasty is golden – approximately 20min
Remove, let cool and enjoy! Great quick and tasty treat.