Today is my friend Po-Chi’s birthday.
Po-Chi is a very special gentleman I met when I started the Lausanne Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. He’s one of the best knitters I know and is my go-to guy for the times my knitting looks like macrame (he’s the reason I know I’ve been knitting ‘backwards’ all these years!).
We bonded over a love of porcelain and a trip to the Salvation Army to pick out random pieces of china for his new house. And our friendship was cemented when we discovered mutual love of baking, alcohol containing bubbles, unusual head wear and British films.
Po-Chi makes fabulously extravagant cakes and doesn’t shy away from recipes that would have me rocking myself and sobbing in the kitchen corner after a mere read; let alone attempting them! So it was with trepidation that I went looking for a cake recipe to attempt for his birthday (we celebrated it yesterday).
I stumbled upon the Martha Stewart’s birthday cake and knew instantly that this was the cake required!
The cake uses a whopping 21 egg whites and 900 grams of butter as it consists of a vanilla sponge, brushed with sugar syrup, covered in swiss meringue buttercream with a final layer of Swiss meringue! No candles are required for this cake as it’s given a final toasting with a kitchen torch.
Inside it’s cut into four layers, two sandwiched with buttercream and one with jam. I messed up my layers a little as I had to make the sponge on Friday morning and freeze it until Sunday morning. As I was running dreadfully late for lunch and furniture shopping with my husband, I didn’t cut the layers in beforehand. Cutting it frozen was painful (I shall never attempt it again) and I wasn’t happy with the overall look inside.
As per usual; I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I used Schar gluten free flour and gluten free baking powder, I replaced the amaretto with a small dash of Calvados, only added 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the Swiss meringue buttercream and I didn’t add any to the Swiss meringue, and finally I replaced the apricot jam with raspberry.
This was one of the richest cakes I’ve ever baked. I was very glad it co-incided with International No Diet Day! I packed off the remaining cake for others to share with their families and Po-Chi took a slice home to eat for his birthday breakfast today.
But wonky layers aside, it was a lovely afternoon full of gorgeous friends, bubbles in all colours and levels of sweetness and a very opulent cake. I finished the day a little drunk and very high on sugar!
I’m now looking forward to a sugar free week in the lead up to cake and tea in London next weekend!!