The actual cake can be from any recipe you like, as long as it is dense enough to hold its shape since it will need to hold some weight. Very light cakes like sponge cakes probably won’t work. My daughter loves chocolate cake so I looked for some simple recipes and settled on this one, the Easy Rich Chocolate Cake found at www.recipecommunity.com.au/recipes/easy-rich-chocolate-cake. Yes, it’s a Thermomix recipe, but I’m sure it would work just as well in a food processor or mixer; just make sure your butter is at room temperature.
Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper long enough to go all the way around a round 22cm diameter cake tin. Fold it in thirds lengthways, so that it creates a triple thickness lining for the tin. This will help the cake bake more evenly. The lining will extend a few centimetres above the top edge of the tin – this is a good thing; it will be a tall cake! Cut a circle of baking paper to fit in the bottom of the tin. Grease the tin a little to hold the lining in place. If using the recipe above you will need to double the quantities to ensure a tall enough cake. If you prefer, you can bake two shorter cakes and sandwich them together with your favourite filling. Proceed with the 22cm cake. Since the recipe is doubled, the cake will take longer to bake so allow up to 30 minutes extra baking time (but check it earlier than this just in case it bakes faster in your oven!).
The inverted bucket and tower:
Prepare two 5″/12cm cake tins and one empty standard size food can using the same method you used for the 22cm tin. You will need a double quantity of your cake recipe again. Fill the cake tins and can about two thirds full with cake batter. There may be some excess cake batter; if so, just use it to make a few cupcakes alongside your cakes. For ease of handling, put the filled tins on a baking tray. Place into a preheated oven. Watch carefully since your food can cake will bake faster than the 5″ cakes (if you are making cupcakes as well, they will take even less time). Remove from oven when baked through, leaving the 5″ cakes to finish baking. Allow all the cakes to cool completely before decorating.
Making the Sand stick:
I used chocolate ganache to glue the sand onto the cake, but you could use a thick buttercream icing if you like. You can find a good ganache recipe here at www.inspired-by-chocolate-and-cakes.com/white-choco-ganache-recipe (you’ll need to make around 1.5 times the quantity to cover the cake). Substituting a quarter of the white chocolate with milk chocolate will give you a good base colour for the sand.
Making the Sand:
The sand is made from a mixture of ice cream cones, toasted coconut and various biscuits bought from the supermarket. Use a food processor to get the sandy texture. I used plain ice cream cones, white Tim Tams, toasted coconut, vanilla wafer biscuits and shredded wheat biscuits. Ingredients can be adjusted according to taste. I recommend not using too many cream-filled biscuits as it can make the mixture a bit lumpy. Also the taste of the shredded wheat biscuits was quite strong and in hindsight, it would have been better to use more ice cream cones.
1. Place the two 5″ cakes on a cutting board. use a sharp knife to level off the top of one of the cakes. Spread a generous layer of ganache on the top, then place the other cake on top. Insert two or three cake pop sticks, a few centimetres apart, right through the centre area of both cakes to stabilise them. Trim the top so it is flat, then start carving a small amount at a time to make the sides slope like an inverted bucket. It is helpful to place the cake on a lazy susan for this step.
2. Spread a layer of ganache all over the cake. Cut three chocolate squares in half and, one at a time, cover in ganache and place around the top edge of the cake to create the battlements. Use your hand, a spatula or spreader to gently scoop and press your sand mixture onto the ganache layer. Set aside.
3. Place the base cake on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to trim the top so there is a flat spot for the bucket cake to sit. Also trim any sharp/square edges to create a more natural mound shape. Cut out a little curved area so the tower can be inset into the side of the cake. Cover with a layer of ganache.
4. Trim the top of the tower so it is flat, and nestle into the cut out you made on the base cake. Cover the exposed parts of the tower in ganache. Use chocolate squares cut in half to make battlements using the same method you used for the bucket cake. Gently cover in sand mixture, but leave the area where the bucket cake will sit – it needs the ganache to help it stick.
5. Spread your serving plate or cake stand with a thin layer of ganache. Use a strong metal egg turner to help you lift the base cake onto the serving plate, then use the same method to move the tower into place.
6. Insert 2 cake pop sticks into the base cake where the bucket cake will sit. Gently lift bucket cake into place, lowering it onto the cake pop sticks.
7. Add some more sand around the bottom to give the appearance of a real sandcastle. Decorate with sea shells (made from icing or chocolate, or even the real thing) and little pieces of fake seaweed. For the full effect, use green candles to look like seaweed.
Sandcastle Cake by Penny
Penny is a busy mum of three and one clever cake maker and decorator. Her Sandcastle Cake is fabulous and a true masterpiece. This cake looks so life like that you could be forgiven for declining to eat it.