Oh how we love The Hungry Caterpillar in this house. It’s surely the perfect children’s book. Delicious treats? Tick. Gluttony? Tick. Magical transformation? Tick. Delightful words. Tick. Pokability? Tick. And those illustrations? Triple tick. We just love it.
So to hear that Eric Carle was publishing a book about surrealism, called, quite obviously The Nonsense Show, well, we had to try it out. (Yes, my sons are born of one art graduate and one would-be art graduate).
It’s a given that the images are spot on. They’re colourful, clear, engaging, utterly nonsensical and have that instant ‘pointability’ (yes, that is a nonsense word but given the nature of the book I reserve that right).
So much discussion has been sparked from this book. I mean, does a two headed snake exist? And can a fish survive without water? Important stuff. It’s not been put away on the book shelf yet. Now that’s the sign of a Very Good Book Indeed.
The Nonsense Show is available in all good bookshops and online. And even better, I have a copy to giveaway. All you need to do is put a comment on this blog post. It’s that simple. Winner will be picked at random on 1st November 2015, no cash alternative offered and the book will be posted by Penguin. Anyone can enter… go on, what are you waiting for?
And to celebrate The Nonsense Show I’ve made a very special cake indeed, somewhat surreal some might say; an unbroken eggs piñata cake! But worry not health and safety types, the eggs hold lime jelly, in fact the whole cake has a lime and chocolate theme. Chocolate limes were one of my favourite childhood sweets. I hope Eric would approve.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website).
One year ago: Lemon cheesecake, Ginger and Caramac version, Peanut butter pie with an Oreo crust, Double chocolate pecan pie and salted caramel traybake, a Traditional Christmas pud and Parkin for Bonfire night
Chocolate lime piñata cake
For the eggs:
- 135g lime jelly
- 6 egg shells (see method)
For the cake:
- 300g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 60g cocoa powder
- 135ml boiling water
- 300g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 75g golden syrup
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 300g self-raising flour
To assemble and decorate:
- 2 tbsp lime curd
- 6 chocolate lime boiled sweets, crushed
For the icing:
- 225g salted butter, softened
- 450g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp milk
- 150g dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
Make the lime jelly up using 285mls boiling water (or simply half the amount of water as given on the packet) and refrigerate. Take each of the 6 eggs, shake vigorously (to try and break up the yolk so that it comes out easily) and hold slim end up, lengthways. Use a very sharp knife to tap into the top until you have broken a hole about 1cm in diameter. Pour the egg out of the hole into a bowl and repeat until all the egg shells are empty. Submerge in warm soapy water and shake gently to clean the inside of the egg shells. Rinse the eggs (inside and out) in hot water and leave to drain dry. Place each egg into a clean egg carton, hole end upwards and use a small funnel to fill each egg with the lime jelly. Place in the fridge to set.
Grease and line three 20cm cake tins and preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water and whisk well until you have a thick, smooth paste. Add all the remaining cake ingredients and beat until thick and creamy, about 4 minutes in a stand mixer, 5 or so with a hand-held electric mixer and a little longer with a wooden spoon.
Split the mixture equally between the three tins and bake for 25–30 minutes until a skewer comes out of the centre clean and the edges of the cakes are just starting to shrink away from the sides. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes or as soon as you can bear to touch them, remove them from the tins.
Make the buttercream by beating the butter until light and fluffy either using an electric mixer or using a wooden spoon by hand. Add the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, milk and cooled, melted dark chocolate, then beat for a further 5 minutes until really light and fluffy.
Place one cake layer on the board or cake stand you wish to display the cake on and use a circular cutter (or knife if you don’t have one) to cut a circle about 10cm wide from the centre.
Spread the remaining cake with a thin layer of lime curd and a layer of buttercream. Then on a chopping board cut the same sized circle from the second cake layer, using the circular piece of cut out spare cake as a guide. Carefully move the ring of cake over to the first layer and add a layer of lime curd and buttercream as before.
Fill the centre with 4 of the set jelly eggs, being careful to try and hide the holes by placing them facing inwards.
Then place the last layer of cake over the top, without any circle cut out.
(NB: You may wish to level the cakes if they have peaked in the oven).
Use the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake using a palate or regular table knife.
Scatter the crushed chocolate lime sweets in a ring around the top of the cake and place the two remaining jelly eggs in the centre. Serve!
NB: Keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve, otherwise in warm weather/environments the jelly eggs will melt!
Oh and don’t forget to eat the centres. Chef’s perk!
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