There’s a certain amount of pleasure gained from making fancy birthday cakes that cost next to nothing. How? Not cheap ingredients! Make your fancy birthday cakes from the trimmings of other cakes.
There is inevitably some ‘fallout’ from making celebration cakes, particularly wedding cakes made of many layers. These cakes always need trimming and cutting into shape before they are glazed with chocolate.
• But what can you do with those delectable biscuity trimmings?
• What to do with the traces of ganache from the different fillings?
• What to do with the spare cake and cream left over from the cake shaping?
You can just eat it all, then and there, but that seems downright greedy – or throw it away, which seems downright wasteful… or you can make more brand new fancy birthday cakes!
Just after delivering a large wedding cake one year, to be honest I was a bit ‘caked out’! But my grandson wanted one of my ‘fancy’ birthday cakes. I needed something different, quickly.
I remembered that in my Grandmother’s time, bakers used to put all their cake ends and scrapings from the day’s production into a large bowl, together with any plain cake left unsold and a goodly slosh of alcohol. This was mixed, made into a large slab and sold next day in small slices as Tipsy Cake.
That set me wondering.
Could I do something similar for my grandson, but keep it alcohol-free, and also use up the spare ganache I had prepared for that wedding cake?
Yes! It was one of my most successful fancy birthday cakes, a 3D chocolate dinosaur.
The basic ‘construction material’ is now known in our family as Rubble Cake.
Rubble Cake is excellent for creating 3-dimensional detail. For larger cakes, use sponge layers and ganache for the main body of the shape, then rubble cake for the rest of the modelling. The shaped cake should be refrigerated at regular intervals to harden the chocolate in the mixture. Once the model is firm, more room-temperature rubble mixture can be added.
Rubble Cake: my original experiment (quantities are variable!)
- I was using a mixture of fat-free sponge trimmings and leftovers already carrying some ganache and white chocolate mousse. I broke up all the cake into small pieces about the size of a walnut into a bowl.
- I made sure the ganache was at room temperature (ie soft and slightly runny). I put it through the microwave for 20 seconds.
- I added enough runny ganache to the cake morsels to just coat them. On stirring, the mixture was similar to very large breadcrumbs or crumble. (Drier than you might think.)
- I covered the bowl with film and left it for about 30 minutes.
- When I came back to it, all the sponge had softened, I gently stirred and broke it up with a metal spoon.
- Then, using my hands I scooped up some of these ‘cooked cake crumbs’ and compressed them slightly. It formed a mouldable ball of ‘rubble’ like loose sticky dough.
- I did the same with the rest of the cooked cake crumbs.
Note: exact results are unpredictable according to the original cake components. Remember that ‘less is more’ regarding the amount of ganache you add to the cake crumbs. Too sticky a mixture is difficult to work with. However, don’t panic if you do add too much ganache; just pop it in the fridge to chill slightly in order for it to harden before use.
Model at will!
As well as fancy birthday cakes, this same mixture makes good plain truffles if rolled into little balls and dusted with cocoa. It can be used as a base for cold chocolate mousse cake or can be used as one layer in a chocolate layer cake.
(Note: so successful was Rubble Cake that now the joke is on me. Instead of making Rubble Cake cakes from leftover trimmings I now have to bake new cakes to break up for my fancy birthday cakes…)
Jenny Scarfe Beckett has been cooking for friends, family and even complete strangers for fifty-five years. Over the last twenty years, Jenny has also been experimenting with chocolate in its various forms including ganaches, glazes, creams etc combined with simple sponge to create perfectly balanced chocolate recipes. The aim is to create gourmet chocolate ‘mouthfuls’ using very good ingredients so that less is definitely more. birthday cake deliveries