Saturday, 19 June 2010

Happy Days ! Banana Cake ...

Oh Happy Days.....

We're going to be launching our new "Say It With Cake" range in the next 3 weeks. You may already know (or own) our very popular CAKE mould. It's been such a hit with our customers, that we're now introducing some new words to make a collection.

HAPPY, BIRTH and DAYS will also be shortly available to buy - and we'll also be looking for trade stockists. That will enable you to produce quite a number of different worded cakes. Actually - you can buy these ones pre-release now if you like and they'll ship immediately on arrival.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIRTHDAY CAKES, HAPPY DAYS, CAKE DAYS will be the main ones - but you could easily cut them up into individual letters and make your own combinations.... such as RICHARD, CARRIE, CATHERINE, DAISY, HIPPY SHAKE, HAIRY BIKERS. The list goes on !

We're already making the tooling to extend the range further in 2011, so the rest of the letters of the alphabet will be able to be bought singly and numerals will be available too.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY obviously will make a rather big (as in spread out) cake - so you would need to either cover a piece of card in tinfoil, or a piece of hardboard / chipboard in wipable tablecloth. I'm in talks at the moment with a company about making custom sized acrylic cake boards in various colours. Surprisingly, they'll be pretty affordable too !

Anyway - on to the recipe and photos. The photos are fairly dire I'm afraid. The lighting just was not good enough - and there were too many people waiting to eat the cake !

This is a cake I made some time ago - it's a basic victoria sponge , filled with cream and homemade jam. It really stands out - simply dusted with icing sugar. Today's was just as effective - the photos really didn't do it justice.

When making letters from cake in these moulds, you want to use a recipe that will create quite a dense sponge. I've always been a fan of victoria sponge mix (175g caster sugar, 175g butter, 175g self raising flour, 3 eggs) in the past - but to be honest, now find it a bit boring.

I decided to try my Gran's amazing banana bread recipe. I usually make that in a 2lb loaf tin. It disappears much quicker than I can make it and is SO delicious I don't think I could ever get fed up of it. I've always known it as banana bread - but it's nothing like bread !

Gran T's Banana Bread

8oz plain flour
8oz sugar
4oz butter (actually - I now use sunflower oil !)
1.1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
good pinch of salt
2 large, ripe bananas (or 3 > 4 small ones)
2 beaten eggs
25ml milk (I sub for hazelnut liquer or Baileys)
add a good handful or chopped walnuts and or raisins if desired.

Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy - or use oil and don't bother ! Whisk in eggs, then add bananas and milk / liquer. Sift flour, salt, bicarb and combine with the wet ingredients, mmixing in well.

Bake at 180deg C in a 2lb loaf tin for approx 1 hour until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

If using this recipe in the silicone word moulds, the cakes will take about 18 > 20 mins.

Grease and flour the word moulds of your choice. I like to use Lurpak or Sainsbury's own brand equivalent on some kitchen roll to get in all the corners. I dust with flour and shake out the excess over the sink. I do like to both grease and flour the word moulds. You can get away with just greasing in most cases - but if you flour too, it means the cakes almost fall out the moulds and there is little chance then of breaking one during removal.

Put the mould/s on a baking tray before filling and putting in the oven. With larger letters like HAPPY and BIRTH, you may need to turn the tray upside down. Alternatively, cut between the letters.

Once filled, rap the tray once on the work surface to get rid of any air pockets in the mix

Fill each cell about 1/2 full. I don't like to over fill them and have cake mushrooming over the mould - as that all needs cut away and creates a lot of waste.

I also like to take these out of the moulds whilst they are still rather warm - when they are hot enough I can handle... I take them out for a couple of minutes, and then pop them back into the moulds to totally cool. Leaving them to cool in the moulds helps retain really good, defined edges. Taking them out seems to take away a little extra moisture from the edges and makes them more robust to handle later.

Don't worry - these cakes WON'T be dry. They're a really bouncy and moist sponge. I had some with me at the local commercial bakers a few days ago and they were VERY impressed with it. This should make a really good sponge for cakes that need to be carved into shape too.

Gimme an A ! Oh - we've got one already !

You'll see here, one of the letters turned out. Don't forget that the tops of the letters become the bottom, and the bottom will be the top. You need to cut the risen / domed bit of the cake away with a serrated edged knife. I don't cut mine to get them totally flat. To me, that's too much waste of cake. I just cut the domed bit off and make a nice big level bit so the cake can sit flat when turned over. No one will see if there is a bit of "air space" under the edges of the letters.

You could just make one lot and split each cake should you wish to fill - but I decided to double up. Once lot of cake mix filled HAPPY DAYS once, so two batches were required for the full cake.

Ok - so here is one lot of letters, turned out and trimmed down. You can see how crisp and defined the edges of the letters are.

And two layers, stacked with chocolate buttercream filling.

I finished this one off with some icing, edible gold glitter and almond slivers....with candles - for absolutely NO reason at all !

I'm very disappointed with the photos. The cake looked so much better. I'll just have to make another and take better pictures.

This cake was sparingly shared out to almost 40 people on our industrial estate. Wasn't fair to give to some and not to others. They only got a teeny weeny bit each though !

Sarah-Jane, - June 2010


  1. Nice cake, you really can tell that it wasn't a hassle getting the letters out of the mould. Pretty cool.

  2. wow thats quite a lot of cake to make! :D But the letters turned out perfect as far as I can see. I like to grease and flour my tins s so easy to take the cake out after that. beautiful cake Sarah.:)

  3. OH I have one question. Why does the cake have to be dense? wld the moulds work with a lighter sponge cake that doesnt use butter?

  4. Thank you both for your comments.

    I wish it was beautiful - the photos are rather poor !

    The moulds should work with a lighter sponge, but I like to use quite a dense cake mix as it gives me really high definition of the letters. I find in dense type cakes they almost fall out the mould whereas light fluffy cakes with a very soft crumb sometimes take a little teasing and are more fragile when handling. It is only a personal preference however.

    In this cake, no butter was used. I replaced it with sunflower oil. It was just as nice. Very moist and bouncy.

    I also like to use a victoria sponge mix which does have butter.... but I use that type of mix so often it's really boring to me now.

    Glad you like it though.

  5. Hi there, which kinds of icing can you use on the letters, besindes buttercream and fondant? do they look good with eg. meringue or fudge, if you try to put icing around the whole letter?

  6. never tried any other icings yet. I've used buttercream and also fondant covered. I've left cake plain with buttercream on top and chocolate letter toppers....

  7. Lovely molds, I'm going to the website to see some more :)


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