I ask you: what’s better than a cake? A cake with doughnuts on, of course.
Even if it does look a bit like a UFO.
This idea stemmed from one of my Christmas presents, a pan for baking doughnuts. Two pans, in fact, one for normal-sized ones and one for too-adorable-sized ones (technical term alert). I wanted to use them straight away, and since Mother Rock Salt’s birthday is in early January I had an excellent opportunity to get them into action.
The idea for a coffee and doughnuts cake came from Sprinkle Bakes, though I didn’t use Heather’s recipe, just her brilliant idea. For the doughnuts themselves, I adapted a recipe from my (also new) doughnut recipes book and made a buttermilk mix, which uses oil for that authentic moist and chewy texture. For the cake itself, I whipped up something quick, as follows:
- 250g plain flour
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 250g margarine
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- half-ish cup (errr… quantities evaded me, I’m afraid) strongly brewed instant coffee
Throw all the ingredients in the bowl, and mix until combined. That’s it. Bake in 3 8″ cake tins (or one tin, three times) at 180C for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
I sandwiched the three layers and coated the outside with a simple and slightly boozy chocolate ganache:
- 400g dark chocolate
- 150ml double cream
- splash of favourite booze (I used Bailey’s Chocolat Luxe)
Break up chocolate, and put in a bowl with the cream. Heat in the microwave for one minute, then stir thoroughly until all the chocolate is melted. Cool for ten minutes, then add the booze and stir well again. The liquid will firm up and dry out the ganache. Mega bonus hint: you could make truffles with any leftovers.
The mini doughnuts, and the full-sized one on top, are glazed with a judged-by-eye combination of icing sugar, cocoa powder and hot water. The carelessly drizzled effect is achieved by an hour of careful dripping and nudging with a teaspoon – next time, dipping them straight in the glaze might be a better option.
I applied different sprinkle shapes and glitter to each one. They were beautiful to look at, so colourful. Why are tiny baked goods so pleasing to the eye? Here are a couple of my favourites…
Those wee gingerbread men – I die! Snagged them in the reduced aisle at Sainsbury’s and just adore them. I love the chocolate flakes because they made the mini ones look like a proper doughnut that’s been zapped by a shrink ray.
The coloured dots are super cheerful, and set off nicely against the chocolate. I love that every slice of this cake has a wee passenger, hitching a ride to your plate. Plus I kept the big doughnut on top, and every slice had a little morsel of it (which fell off before serving. It wasn’t as determined as the tiny ones were.). I glued the doughnuts on all round with a scraping of ganache on the underside, to be sure that they wouldn’t tumble off while I was transporting them. If you are quick enough while you’re decorating, you might be able to stick them straight on to the cake before the frosting hardens, but it doesn’t hurt to have some insurance.
I am so pleased with the whole cake, and especially how even those layers are. Usually I have one giant megasaurus layer, and one shy and skinny layer, but this time I nailed it. Worth the extra time it took to bake the layers separately. Note to self: It might be nice to bake several layers at once. Do you have room for more cake tins in the cupboard? Reply to self: No. No I don’t.
Happy birthday, mum!