I wanted to share my recent discovery on how to take a boring old cake to 'next level'. Like 'how did I not know this was a thing' kind of next level!!!!
It's called a 'Poke Cake'... Sounds weird, right?!? Read on and I will tell and show you more (if you haven't heard of it either, that is!)
My daughter recently had her 8th birthday party. We don't do parties that often around here so when we do, we kinda go all out!!! #canthelpmyself. She requested an Art Party, being a budding little creative, with an Art Palette cake to go with it. She is all about the big ideas, my girl, and I was thrilled with such a fun theme!
The Art Palette cake idea was pretty self explanatory. I wanted to do buttercream icing (cos - yum) with fondant 'paint splatters' (cos - fun!). As much as I love to make and bake, rather than bake the cake itself, I chose to cheat and buy a plain un-iced slab from the supermarket (gasp!). The reason was I wanted a really big cake for the palette and just couldn't be hassled baking four cakes to join together, stressing about size and uniformity etc. Spend your energy where you enjoy it is my motto - I'd rather have fun decorating the cake than baking it, hehee!
The night before I was going to decorate the cake I started worrying it would be a bit plain, boring and possibly dry under the icing. I started googling around at 11pm (as you do?!) for an easy way to moisten the cake - I was thinking like a syrup you could drizzle over it before icing it or something. Then I came across a zillion variations of Poke Cakes. So simple and fun I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of or tried it before!!!
It's pretty simple. Poke holes in the cake, drizzle something liquid and yummy over it. Then ice. Mostly the recipes used sweetened condensed milk to sweeten and moisten the cake. I had a tin in the cupboard then has my own genius idea (ahem!) to take my art cake to the next level! So here we go.... the instructions, if you will...
An 'Art Palette' Rainbow Poke Cake!
Rather than plain condensed milk, I had the idea to dye it lots of colours for an arty/paint/rainbow effect - a fun surprise inside! Firstly, I divided the tin of condensed milk between sections in this silicone muffin tin thing, and then coloured them using food colouring (I used both gels and liquid so either can work!).
I laid out the slab cake (frozen beforehand to make it easier to cut - cheeky tip!) and had the task of trying to cut it in a palette shape. Not easy!!!! It's such a weird shape and I kind of winged it and freaked out a few times. Oh well. Sort of looks like a pacman but let's ignore that, lol!
Then I simply used the thicker end of a chopstick to poke holes in the cake all over. You can also use the end of a wooden spoon or even a fork for lots of little holes.
I had a syringe lying around (as you do, ha!) so decided to use it to squirt in the coloured condensed milk. Because I was using different colours I didn't want them to get mixed up. If you were just using a single colour or flavour, you could probably just drizzle or spoon it all over the cake. I think the syringe did help it get right into the holes though! I just went line by line with different colours. This was the really fun bit!
And then the really super fun bit - icing! I made a plain vanilla butter cream icing (you know - icing sugar, butter, vanilla, milk). Then I rolled out bits of coloured fondant (some was already coloured, some I coloured with food gels) and used scissors to cut it out into painterly-blobby-sorta shapes!
Does it pass as an Art Palette??!
Of course, I was really excited to cut into it at the party the next day, especially as Lily had no idea about the colourful surprise inside the cake :) She loved it... #phew
Here is an after shot of the last sliver of cake after the party.
So there you have it! An easy way to spice up a plain cake, adding moistness, flavour and even colour!
There were SOOOOO many awesome poke cake varieties out there, I am now excited to experiment and try them all! I am thinking chocolate sauce, plain condensed milk, coconut cream and even... mmmmm, salted caramel sauce??! YUM. Ok, I think cake is calling me....