Another special event, another special cake! This time I combined a classic marble pound cake with luscious chocolate velvet icing, vanilla cream and hand tinted meringues, to create this 13th birthday celebration cake. 

My daughter Eva and a close school friend of her, officially made the leap from “twelvies” to “teens”and to mark the occasion we hosted a disco party last night. After all that dancing there was nothing left but crumbs on the cake plate! Just the way it should be. 

Celebration cakes need to not only look appealing and stunning and link in with the theme or interest (in this case, both birthday girls’ favourite colour is blue), they also need to have flavour. Flavour is essential! That’s what my cooking is all about. 

My baked goods may not be deliriously fancy or enviably artistic. However… they are beautiful examples of baking bliss – this is what I love to do!  My baking features tried and tested recipes, dedicated, thoughtful desserts and designs and these creations are always guaranteed to be completely scrumptious. 

For the Marble Cake, tint half of the vanilla pound cake (recipe below), with 3 tablespoons cocoa and half a tablespoon of milk. 

Spoon alternate amounts of vanilla and chocolate mixtures into your prepared tin until all the mixture has been used. 

Holding a long skewer, pull it through the cake mixture in a pattern similar to cutting a cake into eighths. Then, swirl the skewer around in circles starting at the centre and finishing around the outer edge of the cake tin. 

Bake the cake as per the time on the pound cake. 

Vanilla Pound Cake  
250 g unsalted butter at room temperature
250 g caster sugar (I use raw caster sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
4 large eggs
250 g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan forced (or 180 degrees conventional). Grease and line the base and sides of a 22 or 23cm baking tin. 

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. 

Add the eggs all at once and beat until just combined. 

Add the remaining ingredients and beat slowing at first to prevent the flour from flying up over the rim of the bowl, before increasing the speak to moderate and mixing until smooth (about 3 minutes). 

Scrape into your prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 50 – 60 minutes until the cake comes away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. In my oven, this pound cake takes 50 minutes, but oven temperatures and seals etc do vary between brands and ages of ovens. Best to check at the 50 minute mark and then leave in for an additional 5 or 10 minutes if required. 

Once the cake is ready, leave it in the tin for 20 minutes to cool slightly, before either turning onto a cake rack to cool further, or sliding onto a serving plate to slice and enjoy whilst still warm. 

If you are decorating your cake, it must be completely cool before any speck of icing is placed against it, otherwise you will end up with a molten, sticky mess. 

This cake is also tasty enough to be eaten as is, or with a simple dusting of icing sugar across the top. It also make a welcome addition to the school lunch box or as a home made after school treat. 

Velvet Icing is sublime. Rich, smooth and completely decadent, it spreads seamlessly onto the cake creating a glossy finishing. This quantity is enough to fill a 22/23cm cake and generously cover the top and sides. 

Heat up 300 ml of pouring cream in a saucepan until small bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 300 grams of good quality dark chocolate (I used Callebaut). Once melted, place back on a low heat and stir until the mixture thickens slightly. 

Place in the fridge for 45 minutes to cool. Remove from the fridge and pour into a whisking bowl.  

Add 300 grams of sifted icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence. Using an electric mixer, beat until the icing is thick, smooth and has a velvety appearance.