For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you’ll know me and pistachios, we’re involved. There’s something delicate yet striking about them, all jade green and flecked with pink, so it was to my favourite nut I turned, when creating a birthday cake for my mum last week. The result was a light, moist, pistachio sponge laced with rose water, filled and covered with a pistachio French buttercream. I’ve never attempted a tiered cake before either but I was chuffed with how it turned out; chic, a little extravagant and completely delicious.
I was quite happy to call this cake The Tequila Smash but, my entry-level piping skills aside, the cake turned out to be a little too sophisticated for a comedy moniker in the end. Like any truly great cocktail, a cocktail cake is all about your ratios, so keep the hit of alcohol to either the sponge or the icing, never both. On this occasion, I went for a zesty lime sponge topped with margarita-infused, two-toned iced roses. I say roses, although swirls might be a more accurate description, but the thought was there and more importantly, so was the taste.
As far as birthday cakes go, this is a bit of a stunner. Pillowy meringues sit on top of layers of light, fluffy sponge, filled and iced with lemony mascarpone. The decoration is based entirely on a recipe and design from Fiona Cairn’s The Birthday Cake Book, but rather than risking a brand new recipe for my sister’s birthday centrepiece, I called upon some old favourites. I often take this Avengers Assemble approach for special occasion bakes and this time it was Hugh’s (Fearnley-Whittingstall) meringues and Jane’s (Asher) sponge that had my back.