After stumbling across inspiration somewhere online, I decided that I wanted to bake a cake with a polka-dot effect running through it, and when Mrs^ suggested that I might want to bake mine own birthday cake, I knew this was a perfect chance. Rather than this pattern through the cake being created by swirling different coloured mixes together (à la marble cakes), this one is created by inserting already baked cake into a second mix. I chose to cut these shapes into something more resembling a sphere, then placed them into the second cake before being baked again, and thus the pattern can be observed.
After deciding that I wanted to make the polka-dots raspberry flavoured (and surround them with a vanilla sponge) the next problem was how to make them all raspberry-y… Unfortunately there was no raspberry essence in Tesco when I went looking, but that would’ve been too easy wouldn’t it. So I was in a position similar to that of the Dr Pepper Cake…
The only problem with the method I used for the Dr Pepper cake was that the mix ended up too sloppy due to the extra liquid that was added (the Dr P syrup). So I decided that this time I would do similar, by starting with raspberry jam, but this time continuing to reduce it down until it forms a dense syrup (a dense toffee consistency). Next I spread it out thinly on a surface until it was cold and set, and I was then able to break it up into small shards. Refrigerating these to ensure they were brittle then allowed me to pulverise them with my hand-blender into raspberry sugar. (I found it useful to put some cling-film over the top of the jug while blitzing it in order to stop bits going everywhere.)
(On reflection baking a thin sponge might have been a more efficient way to save on wastage, but I wasn’t short this time, and there’s always next. Having said that, more polka dots would’ve only improved the spectacle.) Another way to do this would be if I bought a silicone cake-pop tray – perfect spheres every time.
The rest of the method is fairly self explanatory: Mix + polkas into the tin, cover them with more mix, and bake until the mix isn’t goo-y in the middle any longer. Ice with butter-cream and cover with raspberry sugar-shards for the full effect.
Now, the raspberry shards are there to add to the raspberry flavours on the cake, and were made in a similar way to the sugar (from earlier). This time I set the syrup (from more jam) into a thin layer on a baking sheet, which I then put in the fridge to make brittle. Breaking this up into random shapes and poking it onto the icing left the crazy, almost flame-esque, pattern. (Next time I will place the shards radially, which will make cutting slices a whole lot easier!)