It is without a single doubt that I can say, I am not the world’s best baker. Don’t get me wrong, we do baking with the kids and I can make the odd cupcake but I wouldn’t attempt anything too spectacular.
But, when I saw my friend had posted a photo on her Facebook page of a Pigs in Mud Cake saying she’d love it for her birthday I decided to push the boat out a little bit and give it a go.
I have had a great many compliments on it since then so I thought I would share the ‘how to’ with you.
As I’m not a regular food blogger, I’m afraid I didn’t take photos of each stage but it’s mostly straightforward baking so there isn’t much that you would need to see anyway!
There are lots of tutorials online for how to make pigs out of fondant icing. I bought some pink icing at Sainsburys (own brand) rather than colouring my own and simply made it up as I went along! I looked at the photo I was working from and copied.
The only trouble I had was with the tails. For these I rolled out as thin a piece of fondant as I could without it breaking and wrapped it around a piece of spaghetti. Then I set it to one side for 5 minutes to allow it to set before I stuck it to my pigs bottom.
Some tips for working with fondant icing – roll it between your hands to warm it up before starting to model. The warmer it is, the more pliable it will be. To stick the pieces together I used water. You can buy edible glue but not only have I never seen this in a supermarket, I have also found water works just as well so save yourself some pennies!
Underneath the kit kats and ganache is a simple chocolate sandwich cake with buttercream centre. I used 20cm tins and the recipe below is for one half of the sandwich cake so you would need to do this twice. I prefer to do it this way rather than doubling everything up as my upper body strength is abysmal and I would seriously struggle to stir the mixture adequately! Sad, but true.
For the cake :
170g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
3 medium eggs
55g cocoa powder
For the buttercream:
110g butter (room temp)
170g icing sugar
55g cocoa powder
For the ganache:
250ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
Butter two tins (I never bother lining, I usually don’t bother using butter either but as it was a special occasion I went all out!).
Beat all the ingredients together adding a drop of milk if the mixture is too thick. The mixture should drop off a spoon when tapped gently. Place mixture into tin and level out. Repeat (as above)
Bake the two tins side by side at 180C/160C fan oven/Gas 4 for 20-25 mins until your sponge springs back when lightly pressed.
Leave to cool. If you wish to speed the process up you can place the cakes in the fridge for an hour or so. If your cake is not completely cooled then the buttercream will just melt and seep out. This happened to me as I was in a rush and hadn’t waited but luckily as you can’t see the cake underneath the decorations I simply scraped the buttercream off and started again (I did warn you this wasn’t going to be anything professional!)
When the cake has cooled, make up the buttercream and spread on top of one on your cakes. Sandwich the other cake on top. Use the remaining buttercream and spread around the cake. Using two finger kit kats (don’t break them in half) press them lightly onto the buttercream. If your mixture is thick enough they will stick to the buttercream like glue. This is the most important part as if you make your buttercream runny, the kit kats will stick initially but will just gradually slide off the cake.
Make your buttercream. Mix the ingredients altogether adding the milk at the end if necessary. Because this buttercream needs to be thick it does take a while for the ingredients to mix but keep going (or use an electric handwhisk if you have one!)
Once you have stuck kit kats all around your cake, tie a ribbon around to hold them in place whilst the buttercream sets.
Prepare your ganache.
Bring the cream to the boil in a pan and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate, broken into pieces. Stir until the chocolate melts. Removed from the heat the mixture will thicken. I had to do this again as I burnt my first lot (you may start to see a pattern emerging….) waiting for the mixture to thicken whilst on the heat.
Leave it to cool for around 15-20 minutes before pouring into the top of the cake. If you panic like me and think it will all seep through the gaps in the kit kats you might want to do a cement job and use some buttercream to fill any slight gaps you may have. My Other Half assured me that if the ganache is the right consistency it won’t leak everywhere but I couldn’t help worrying!
Place your pigs into the ganache and leave overnight to set.
Hey presto, pigs swimming in mud!
I hope that was helpful, as I am a ‘make it up as you go along’ type of baker I find it difficult to put down into words how exactly I bumble along through the process.
Since making the Pigs in Mud I have also made a chocolate drizzled strawberry kit kat cake. For this, instead of ganache I used buttercream, sliced some strawberries and layered them in circles finishing with a whole strawberry in the centre. I melted some milk chocolate and white chocolate and drizzled it over the strawberries in a criss cross pattern.
I kept this cake in the fridge overnight to stop the strawberries turning and was worried about how the sponge would taste cold but nobody seemed to notice!!
Not sure what will be next in my line of kit kat cakes…watch this space!