For my next project, I wanted to try a relatively new trend I’d been seeing elsewhere: a cake with a pocky border. Luckily, there was another event soon after Christmas that needed a cake – my dad’s birthday! He agreed to let me make his birthday cake, and even though he prefers vanilla (chocolate is obviously sooo much better), I was excited to get to work!
I settled on making a layered vanilla cake with strawberries and cream. To prepare the strawberries, I cut them into halves and soaked them in a sugar/lemon juice mixture. Then I mixed the strawberry halves with marscapone. Turns out I overestimated the amount of strawberries I needed – I was able to pile them high on the cake and had a bunch left over!
For the actual cake, I followed Gretchen’s Bakery recipes for Swiss buttercream and vanilla sponge cake (my eventual goal is to make up my own recipes, but I’m not quite there yet. Right now, I need to focus on learning all I can). I made two big mistakes when following the sponge cake recipe! First, I tried to divide the recipe but got some of the math wrong (silly me!), so the ingredient proportions were slightly off. Second, I neglected to put parchment paper between the pan and the batter because I thought it would turn out okay.
It was not okay.
Luckily, the improperly-proportioned ingredients didn’t hurt the taste at all, but it definitely interfered with the cake’s structural integrity. This was compounded by the cakes sticking to the bottom of my pans. In short… everything was falling apart. But it tasted DELICIOUS! I solved the problem by gluing everything together with extra icing, which I knew my dad was going to be a big fan of anyway. It looked like a franken-cake, so how lucky for me that the whole cake was going to be hidden by pocky anyway!
The cake was a big hit at my dad’s birthday party. I carried it over in a basket (kinda like this one) that was a Christmas present from my boyfriend’s family. My nephew liked playing with the basket more than eating the cake, but I wasn’t offended – he hadn’t even turned one yet! And he would get a chance to enjoy my cakes not too long after.
Overall, the pocky cake is almost as easy to make as a normal cake, but it sure looked impressive! If you’re trying to impress, I would definitely give it a shot.