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Iced Berry Cake

This is an all-singing, whooped-up, somewhat-over-the-top, photo-opportunity cake that requires no cooking at all and can be assembled–because it is essentially an assembly job–by a five-year-old. Which is, after all, the point: that it has been, at least in some small way, prepared by the children.

You can use any shop-bought cake—maybe a Victorian sponge or a lemon drizzle cake. Here we’ve used a simple sponge cake that started out with jam in the middle and a dusting of icing sugar on top. Just make sure it’s a cake that isn’t iced or decorated, because that’s where the kids come in.

Smaller children may need a hand with some of this, but older ones can probably manage the whole lot. Let imaginations run riot with the decorations—use whatever the kids think is required. And yes, this could well mean we’re talking dog’s dinner, but it’s all in the spirit of the day, so bite your tongue on tasteful and go with the creative flow. If you’re supervising, all you should need to do is melt the chocolate…and manage the mayhem.–Bill Collison

LC Why Stop There? Note

Cookbook author—and, we suspect, dad–Bill Collison makes some savvy suggestions above when it comes to relying on a store-bought cake, understanding as he does the time constraints that go with parenting. lf you have the time and patience (and, if you’re under the age of 10, the adult supervision), we strongly encourage you to indulge in a made-from-scratch cake of any sort for this messy mom’s day surprise. Collison suggests a Victorian sponge or a lemon drizzle cake. And why stop short of chocolate? We think a chocolate cake or even a brownie could be lovely, too. If you don’t mind even more of a mess than what’s already in store, swap softened ice cream for whipped cream. Or heck, why not use both? And those “interesting edibles or decorating” called for in the ingredient list? Anything goes. We have our short list of items we’d fancy on a cake. Care to share yours?

Iced Berry Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 12

Ingredients

  • About 20 ounces berries, fresh or frozen, a mixture of varieties is fine
  • A generous 1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 ounces really good-quality chocolate, preferably milk chocolate or white confection, melted
  • 1 cake, single layer or double layer, store-bought or made from scratch
  • A selection of interesting edibles for decorating (go wild!)

Directions

  • 1. If using frozen berries, remove them from the freezer. (By the time you serve the cake, the chocolate will hopefully be melting the berries so they are still cold but not frozen.)
  • 2. Whip the cream until it is thick and softly peaked.
  • 3. Plop the cake on a plate. Slather the whipped cream across the top of the cake and layer on the berries. If using a layer cake, slip some berries between the layers and lavish some of the cream and berries on the top layer, too. Drizzle the warm melted chocolate across the top of the cake and pile on the decorations.
  • 4. Everything may be on the slide, but that’s still perfect. Present it with pride.
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