Miranda's Tip to soften the butter:
- Chop the hard butter into cubes about 2cm across
- Fill a large bowl with just warm water (not hot as this will melt the butter)
- Put the chopped butter into the water and leave for about 3-4 minutes or until it’s very soft when you squeeze it between your fingers.
- Hold the bowl over a sink and pour off the water, using your hand to keep the butter safe.
Method - The Cake
- Put the softened butter into the bowl of the Kenwood Chef with the caster sugar and vanilla bean paste, attach whisk attachment and mix together for about three minutes, or until it is paler in colour – this means you have incorporated lots of air.
- Break the eggs into a jug and beat well with a fork.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture, a little at a time. I don’t add any more egg until the previous addition has been completely incorporated.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
- Once all of the eggs have been added, mix a little longer. Scrape off the whisk attachment and then attach the K-beater. Use a large spoon to gently sprinkle about half the flour onto the mixture, turn the mixer to the fold setting and gently mix, only for about ten seconds. Then spoon over the remaining flour and mix again, VERY gently on the folding setting. Add the chocolate chips and fold one last time until incorporated.
- Line 4 x seven-inch cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
- If you only have two, line those and prepare lining paper for them to bake in twice.
- Split the mixture equally between the tins and smooth gently with a palette knife.
- Put on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in their tins for about five mins then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack.
- If you need to re-use your tins, then run them under cold water, dry them and line with non-stick baking paper.
Method - The Frosting
- Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (in short blasts of 30 seconds, checking after each burst and stirring).
- Cut the soft butter into small pieces and put into the bowl of the Kenwood Chef with about 100g of the icing sugar, attach the creamer blender or the balloon whisk, start slowly and then beat on a higher setting until pale and creamy.
- Add the salt, the milk and about another 200g of the icing sugar and mix again. Keep adding the icing sugar a little at a time until it is all mixed in. Add a tiny bit more milk to loosen it if it is too thick.
Method - To Decorate
- Once the cakes are completely cool, trim any uneven tops.
- Put a blob of buttercream on the cake board and use this to stick on the first cake, cut side facing down.
- Pipe a swirl of buttercream in the middle of the cake and smooth, then pipe buttercream in a circle around the edge.
- Gently place the next cake on top, cut side down again and repeat until all are in position.
- Decorate with the smarties and sprinkles.
- Cut ribbon into short lengths and knot five pieces onto a length of string, then tie the string on to a straw at each end. Firmly push into the cake and readjust as required.
Happy Party Baking!
About Miranda Gore Browne
Miranda Gore Browne achieved widespread acclaim as a finalist on the first series of BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off. She was highly praised for her home baking, which was described consistently as both delicious and beautiful. Mary Berry remarked that Miranda reminded her of herself when she was younger. Miranda made a great impression with her “signature bake” biscuits in the form of perfectly dainty decorated shoes, pretty dresses and stylish handbags; and she also featured in BBC2’s The Great British Wedding Cake.
Miranda spent a successful career immersed in Foods at Marks & Spencer, where she gained a wide base of knowledge and expertise in the food industry. This experience has led her to be in demand as a food specialist, consulting for food businesses. She also runs bespoke corporate team days.
Find out more on Miranda's website at http://mirandagorebrowne.co.uk/
About The Kitchen School
Miranda is delighted to be opening the doors of her West Sussex home, and welcoming you to •The Kitchen School. In her bright, homely and beautiful country kitchen you can explore your cookery and homemaking potential. The Kitchen School is an intimate and relaxed environment where you can learn with like-minded people, who enjoy being creative in the kitchen.
There are numerous courses available encompassing Cookery, Baking and Homemaking master-classes. Whether you are a complete beginner or accomplished in the kitchen, Miranda is on hand to ensure you leave feeling confident and inspired.