One of the drawbacks to being the person who makes the birthday cakes for your family, is that when it comes to your own birthday you generally have to settle for a shop bought cake ….. if you get one at all that is. Another drawback is that the expectations of the family start to rise with each birthday, with demands for even more fanciful and elaborate concoctions from the younger members of the household whilst older members (that would be Mud by the way) sample each creation, mentally scoring it against the Marks and Spencer one he had 20 odd years ago.
Mud and Middle Mudlet share a birthday….. that is to say they share the same birthday date but that’s about as far as it goes because once she’s up and about, the day really belongs to Middle Mudlet. She becomes centre of attention and Mud sits quietly watching her open and then enjoy her gifts but then she is only 11 and he’s – well – old! When you get to be as old as we now are, birthdays tend to fade into oblivion and I would much rather pretend that I still look 16 rather than face up to the stark reality of being – well – older than that.
But back to birthday cake.
In recent years, I have tended to make a shared cake for the actual birthday and then a special cake for Middle Mudlet and her friends, for her party. We had said that last year was to be the last proper party for Middle Mudlet and that future birthdays would involve one or two friends coming over for pizza, or a film etc (still to be arranged) and so this years shared cake needed to be super special and so I settled on a profiterole topped concoction.
Everyone in our household loves chocolate topped, cream filled choux pastry and profiteroles are a particular favourite with the girls. I had mentioned a week or so ago, as we were tucking into a shop bought profiterole dessert, that I could make choux buns, a fact which stunned the girls into awed silence and spurred Mud into recounting how the best profiteroles he had ever tasted were by M&S. Right there and then I formulated my plan: I would make some profiteroles for their birthday and prove how wonderful home made ones are, in comparison with shop bought ….. any shop!
For the base of the cake I made a standard 8oz Victoria Sandwich, in my 10 inch cake tin. This was later halved and then filled with Butterscotch Angel Delight which was made using milk with a generous splash of double cream which made it much lighter and more flavoursome.
For the profiteroles, I did a Google search and came across a Delia Smith recipe which I will not be detailing here because it isn’t mine but it can be found by clicking on this link. Her recipe was surprisingly straightforward and easy to do and before long I had 22 little choux buns baking in the oven. I was incredibly pleased with how well these turned out and whilst they cooled down I set about making the chocolate topping from a mix of 2 thirds milk chocolate to 1 third plain and when this had melted, I added 100g of Nutella which adds a gorgeously indulgent hazelnut flavour to the topping.
Once cooled, the little choux buns were filled with whipped double cream and then a small dab of the chocolate on the base of each one, helped to secure them to the sponge. I couldn’t fit all the choux buns on to the top of the cake and so after spooning generous amounts of the chocolate over the profiteroles already in place, I popped the last three into the centre as a second layer, covered them in chocolate and put the whole thing in the fridge to set. At this point the three Mudlets (Eldest had come home for the day) and Mud were making all the correct noises about my skill levels and I was really happy with the finished cake, although the ultimate proof would be in the eating.
I got the cake back out of the fridge about an hour before it was needed, to give it chance to lose some of the fridge chill and soften the chocolate topping. I admit to being a tad nervous about the flavour of the finished cake but I needn’t have worried, as compliments rained down as Mud and the Mudlets devoured their slices and I was able to chalk up another success, or as Little Mudlet would say:
“This one is definitely on the ‘yes’ list mummy!”