This fabulous little number was a special order for a special birthday boy. It was the BF’s uncles birthday on Saturday, he and his wife popped down from their home in the Lake District to London for a weekend of celebrations which, of course, had to include a Hollylovescake creation! We went for a fantastic meal at La Famiglia, an Italian restaurant in Chelsea (I had the whitebait starter and tuna steak main if you are wondering) where it was presented for dessert.
The cake is a chocolate and vanilla zebra cake with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream and walnut brittle. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to cut into the cake to show you a picture of the stripy effect, it looks super impressive but is really rather easy, I will do it as a recipe in a future bake although if you can’t wait, I adopted it from Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth book. I got her book at Christmas but have only just got round to trying something from it. I have always followed my own buttercream recipe but thought I would give Lily’s a try which uses double cream and Oh My Word, it is divine! Super rich and creamy, I used pure vanilla powder to flavour it and it was delicious. So much so I may make it my permanent choice of icing which believe me, by my exceedingly high cake standards, is a real achievement.
I love making nut brittle, such a simple but effective way to make a cake look really impressive, it adds height and a bit of drama. You have to be really careful when making it as the sugar gets ridiculously hot and I was once told that boiling sugar is more dangerous than boiling water for burning oneself. You need 100g of nuts and 150g of caster sugar. Put your pan on a medium heat and add the sugar, do not stir it but you can swirl the pan as the sugar starts to melt, if you stir it the sugar will crystalize, disaster. Keep an eye on it and swirl the pan occasionally until all the sugar is melted and once it is bubbling, as soon as it turns golden brown, take it off the heat and pour over your nut pieces which should be scattered over a piece of parchment paper lying on a baking tray. Leave to cool for a good half an hour then smash into shards for decorating! You can add a sprinkle of sea salt or a dash of vanilla too if you like.