Friday, March 8, 2013
Nigella's Malteser Cake for Jeff's Birthday
On Tuesday, it was colleague Jeff's birthday. A birthday cake was therefore in order, so I chose to indulge in a long-held ambition to make Nigella Lawson's Malteser Cake from Feast. You can also find the recipe online here.
The big deterrent to me making this cake has always been the requirement for Horlicks, that malted milk powder beloved of insomniacs. In Australia, it is priced at $10 for a container - which is big bikkies when you are only going to use a small amount of it, most likely only once. However, for Jeff's cake, I had the inspiration of using Ovaltine, a chocolate malt drink powder which, to the delight of my purse, was also on sale for just under $4. A cake was born!
The only tip that I have for making this cake is that, where Nigella says "whisk the eggs and the sugar", make sure you use the whisk attachment with an electric mixer. I unfortunately did not read the part about an electric mixer until later in the recipe, and tried to adequately beat together the eggs and sugar using a hand whisk. It was a lot of hard work and did not give the desired result, as my batter was replete with lumps of sugar, which I vainly tried to mix in after the fact. This led to my cakes having a crusty, sugary top, and being a little tougher than I would have liked. However, when you start baking a cake at 9.30pm, you really don't care about such things anymore.
The icing is a doddle to make in the food processor, although I somehow almost stuffed that up too by not removing all of the butter paper before commencing processing. Again, the lesson learned is do not make a cake at a time of night when you should be fast in the land of nod. I also managed to get a distinct lean on the cake when I frosted the layers together, even though the cakes were initially flat.
I triumphed with the icing, despite the initial hiccup, as everyone commented on how good it was. As for the cakes, everyone was very kind, but I know that from my perspective, they were not up to scratch. This was nothing to do with the recipe and more to do with my aforesaid flawed technique.
Happy birthday Jeff - I hope that you enjoyed your birthday, including this less than perfect version of the famous Malteser Cake.