The Wheels on the bus go round and round...
It's that time of the year again. Sean's birthday is coming up, and I usually start trying out possible cake ideas in the June/July region. This year's idea was inspired by Sean's obsession with the large, individually-packed Wagon Wheels that he gets from work.
The result? A Wagon Wheel cake!
Very much an assembly cake, the elements of this cake can be made the day before - in fact, I recommend it - and assembled on the day.
Wagon Wheel Cake
250g softened butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1.5 cups sifted plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 160 (fan forced). Cream the butter and sugar till the sugar has dissolved, and add the eggs, one and a time, until all the eggs have been incorporated. Fold in the flour, baking soda and baking powder until all the flour has been mixed into the batter, but do not over mix. Split the mixture amongst two circular cake tins and bake till the tops are golden brown and springy to the touch (about 20-25 min). Leave to cool in tins.
3 tbsp powdered gelatin
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 reliable thermometer
Add the gelatin to the bottom of your mixing bowl and let soak with 3 tbsp water. In a pot, add the sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to the boil. You want to bring this to the 'soft-ball' stage, which is about 118C/235F. Be careful, sugar syrups can get VERY HOT and you can injure yourself.
Once the sugar gets to the correct temperature, turn on your electric beaters on the gelatin and slowly, SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup onto the gelatin.
The marshmallow mixture will start to froth, and it will begin to resemble a meringue. Add the vanilla. As the mixture cools, it will start to thicken, and the idea is to whip it till you get hard peaks.
Lightly oil and dust (with icing mixture - pure icing sugar isn't dry enough, you do need some of the cornflour in icing mixture) the same cake tins that you baked your cake in.
Add just enough marshmallow mixture to fill about half the tin. Leave to set for a couple of hours (depending on the humidity of where you're at) or overnight.
You will almost certainly have more than enough mixture, and you can go ahead and experiment and add different flavours and colours to the remainder of the mixture and set it in different tins!
You can use any good jam that you like, or you can make your own. For this project, I used some lovely Anathoth Jam.
First, grab a layer of cooled cake.
Then, top with the set marshmallow and a generous dollop of jam.
Then top with the second layer of cake.
100g thickened cream
175g dark chocolate buttons
Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Take the cream off the heat, and pour in the chocolate buttons. Stir well.
Keep stirring as the ganache cools. When it reaches spreadable consistency, cover the cake in ganache!
And voila! A wagon wheel cake that is both yummy and appeals to large and small kids alike. I cut some 'bite marks' out of the cake with a spoon because otherwise it just looks like a chocolate cake. =)
Oh, and a note about working with chocolate.
It gets absolutely everywhere. =)