Another birthday, this time Mr CC – it’s my last family birthday until September! I anticipate that I need to do some explaining as most of you won’t be au fait with Labbits. Also, I think I should remind you that I am not a skilled cake decorator – so please be kind!
Frank Kozik is a respected modern artist, initially most famous for poster art. He created a range of street tough rabbits called Smorkin’ Labbits who are always smoking and doing naughty things (naughty even by rabbit standards!). Mr CC and I aren’t really into that range but love the Pride Labbits, who are far more genteel and sensitive. Here’s the family we’ve acquired thus far (I have no doubt there will be more):
When I asked Mr CC what sort of birthday cake he’d like he replied, “a Labbit cake”. I’m not sure whether he was serious or not but I took him at his word and have created one...well, a Frankenstein equivalent of one!
The cake is all Victoria sponge; I used an easter egg tin for the body and sculpted cupcakes for the legs, ears and tail.
As I needed a white frosting I had to look further afield than my usual default of swiss meringue buttercream. I chose seven minute frosting – my favourite thing in the recipe was that, under the heading, it said “ready in 10 minutes”. This is my first experience of seven minute frosting and I like it – it’s sweet and sticky and easy to work with. My big gripe is that nowhere did it warn me that you have to really use it the same day. I lovingly frosted Mr CC’s cake the night before and found it didn’t keep – it starts disintegrating (a bit like shaving foam) giving the cake an odd look. Luckily (for me) I took most of my photos the evening I frosted the cake; unluckily (for Mr CC) he didn’t see the cake until the next day.
Here’s something you don’t see in a kitchen every day – a Labbit ‘tache hanging out to dry! I painted a rice paper template with melted chocolate. Making a washing line of string between my kitchen cabinets I did wonder if this could be pinpointed as the official moment that I “lost it”!
I doubled the quantity of sponge set out below to make cupcake size sponges to use for paws, ears and tail. The leftover ones I simply cut in half and sandwiched with jam to make mini Victoria sponge sandwiches.
Happy birthday Mr CC!
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g self raising flour
To sandwich the cakes: raspberry jam
For the seven minute frosting(make the day you will be serving the cake):
2 egg whites
300g caster sugar
5 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Grease the tin you are using with butter; this quantity will make a deep 20cm round cake or two 20cm round layers for a sandwich cake.
Start by making the sponge: Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.
Beat in the eggs gradually, add some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.
Beat in the milk.
Stir in the flour until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Another good sign is if the sponge is just pulling away from the edge of the tin.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
Sandwich the cakes together with the jam.
Now make the frosting – only make this on the day you wish to serve the cake as it doesn’t keep all that well: place all the ingredients except for the vanilla in a bowl.
Set this bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until the icing makes firm peaks – this is meant to take 7 minutes (hence the name) but mine took 10.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
Continue to whisk until the frosting is thick enough to spread.
Spread over cake as desired.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.