These days, largely thanks to The Great British Bake Off, it’s very trendy to have a Signature Bake – your default, fail-safe design that not only looks and tastes fantastic but has great sprinklings of your personality to boot.
Now, I think I would have called this my signature design before the GBBO took off; it is a tried and tested idea that I come back to time and time again because I love it, it is a crowd pleaser and easy to make.
The original incarnation of these cakes were for a friend at university, who, despite being one of the most petite girls I knew was also one of the biggest chocoholics I’ve ever met. I wanted to surprise her with cake for her birthday but as I was only going to see her at a lecture, needed to make something that was easy to transport. I didn’t really know what I was going to do but went out and bought loads of different kinds of chocolates, trying to get as many different shapes as possible. I also bought a box of wrapped Quality Street chocolates. The cakes ended up being mini chocoholic cakes for the mini chocoholic lady. I don’t have a picture of the original cakes I made, but here is a picture of a subsequent batch:
I adore the texture of these cakes. I know it is a really simple design but I find it so aesthetically pleasing to cram as much as possible on a little cupcake with a wrapped chocolate as a focal point. I always consider angles and colours of the chocolates around the centrepiece to make them look just right. Some say that you should never put non-edible or pre-made things onto cakes, but I love how interesting it makes them. Also it makes eating them a bit of an adventure and it is always a joy to see people take great delight in picking off the chocolates one by one before getting to the cake.
I have used this design for loads of different people and for many different occasions; birthdays, thank-yous, fundraisers etc. Sometimes I add handmade glittery chocolate letters instead of wrapped sweets in the centre to spell out names to personalise the cakes. On opening a tin full of these, a friend once exclaimed “Oh my gosh, it’s like a childhood dream, in a box!!” – I was pretty happy with that reaction.
Theme and variation
Over the years I have tried a few variations on this theme. I’ve experimented with a mini-biscuit version and a sweetie version, pictured here on a beautiful cake stand I was given on leaving a job; I made cakes for everyone at my office on my last day and happily displayed them on my new stand before consumption.
A find-and-use-whatever-is-in-the-cupboard version:
And also a same colour version
But I don’t think anything beats the original chocoholic cakes.
I rarely take pictures of these now as batches seem interchangeable, but I assure you, no two cakes will ever be the same.
If your signature bake has oodles of your personality in it, I think these are quite apt for me. I’m not the tidiest of decorators (or people) and I like how there is beauty in the chaos here. Chaotic is a word you could use to describe my hair, often seen piled on top of my head in a flurry of messy curls – I know, a strange tangent from cake, but my point is, I like constructed disorder and like to think that is what these cakes represent!