… did I ever tell you that The Viking and I share our birthday, the 24th September. It’s quite amazing really and I always remember when I first told him my birthday and then he told me his I didn’t actually believe him for the longest time. As it happens The Viking is not a big fan of birthdays but I am, although if they keep coming at the same rate as they have been recently I’ll very quickly fall our of love with them…
… they say that one should never mix work with pleasure but when you run as intensive a business as we do you actually spend much of your time with your clients… so it really helps if you like them. Many of our clients become our friends and not just in a superficial, Facebook way… our Samsonite client Richard became such good friends that The Viking and I were best men at his wedding for him and his partner. We feel that we grow with the client and they grow with us… and we’re not afraid of this because this is also a very transient industry where everything changes… people move on within the industry and if you’ve helped them succeed in one job they will take you with them to the next. I tend to make friends very quickly with people and I have a good judge of character which I think comes from years of working on the door of nightclubs, having to decide instantly if someone was the right fit for our crowd – usually based on their shoes, I may add. This also helps me cut the wheat from the chaff when it comes to friends. Again, that may sound a little harsh but if you’re going to commit to spending your weekends drunk with your client in the back room of some dodgy club then you need to know that you’re not wasting your emotions…
red velvet triple layer birthday cake
this birthday cake is for Hannah who happens to have her birthday the day before mine… we had an all day meeting with her yesterday and the pressure was on for me to perform in the cake category. We have weekly meetings with her and her team and, without fail I get the ‘where’s our cake’ comments… it does get a little tedious because the meetings are usually on a Thursday and of course I bake at weekends so I don’t get the opportunity to bake for these meetings… As it happens my timings this week meant I could bake a cake… so I went all out and baked her favourite… red velvet cake.
… this cake is lifted directly from the pages of the brilliant first book by Edd Kimber, the lovely Great British Bake-Off winner. His book, The Boy Who Bakes is an absolute favourite at Belleau Kitchen and is packed full of glorious cakes…. I followed the recipe exactly, without changing a single thing (I know!) and it came out beautifully… it is a very sweet cake so you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the frosting…
for the cake
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon red gel food colouring
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
for the cream cheese frosting
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g icing sugar
400g full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
you will need three 20cm round cake tins
preheat the oven to 150C fan and lightly grease the tins and line the bases with baking parchment, then grease these too. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.
in a small bowl mix together the boiling water, food colouring, cocoa powder and buttermilk until fully combined, set aside.
in another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about five minutes… beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully combined, then mix in the vanilla extract.
for the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light and smooth, about five minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until combined, then increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until just combined. Do not over-beat at this stage or the frosting will be too thin.
To assemble the cake, put a layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread a layer of frosting onto the top of the cake and put the second cake layer on top. Add frosting, then the final cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.