Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Bonfire Night Cake

I was chatting recently about autumn celebrations with Han, part time Creative Director (unpaid) at Cake Poppins. We agreed that in our day, by which I mean the late 70s, the real autumn celebration was not the US style trick or treating for Hallowe’en, but Guy Fawkes’ Night on 5 November.

Historically, bonfires have been lit on this day since 1605 to celebrate the failure of a Catholic plot to assassinate the Protestant King and became a focal point for religious divides. By the 1970s, it was the night when your dad was sent to the bottom of the garden with a box of fireworks while you played with a sparkler.

Here is a photo of me and Lucy wearing matching bobble hats knitted by my mum. Note that even on a night in early November, we are wearing short skirts with bare legs. People often wonder how Geordies brave the cold on a night out. It’s simple – we start training at an early age.
The cake itself is chocolate hazelnut baked with fresh raspberries and covered with chocolate hazelnut ganache. Last month I did a course at Cakes4Fun and a tutor told us about a wedding cake he’d made, replacing some of the flour with ground hazelnuts, adding raspberries and mixing Nutella into the ganache. There is something magical about listening to a very handsome man telling you about a lovely cake and I highly recommend the experience. If you can’t get to Cakes4Fun, why not print off and laminate a recipe, find someone absolutely scrummy in the street and ask him to read it out.

Anyway I thought I’d give it a go (the baking, not the laminating) and the cake turned out a treat. I have some of the Nutella ganache left over and plan to roll it in chopped hazelnuts to make truffles. So what if I got on the scales the other morning to see the message “Err”.
I have erred and strayed like a lost ox
The cake is decorated with milk chocolate cigarellos but you could use Matchmakers, preferably the orange ones because they are the tastiest. The guy is just a guy – some towns make an effigy of a hate figure  for their bonfire but I don’t hate anyone enough to want to burn them alive. He is, however, sitting on a cigarello, so he’s not even comfortable for his impending death. The leaves are cut with a little ivy cutter, which I hoped would pass as maple, and there is a little hedgehog escaping as a reminder to CHECK UNLIT BONFIRES for animals. The cold might be God’s way of telling us to burn more Catholics, but there’s no reason to burn their pussycats as well.

I’m afraid the opportunity to pepper this blog with quotes from Blackadder has been too tempting to resist. There’s a shiny sixpence for anyone who can spot all seven. This competition is not open to employees or members of their immediate families. Unpaid or otherwise. 


  1. Just noticed that I posted this at 11.11 on 1.11.11. This pleases me out of all proportion.

  2. great post and a great looking cake. nom nom. and i am loving the knitted hats!

  3. Laminating lessons given in exchange for cake