It was three birthdays at once: a seven-year-old, ten-year-old, and 29-year-old. And whilst my nieces and husband are the best of friends, they don't have many interests in common - two are Arsenal fans, one Spurs; two like Roald Dahl, one's more into arty foreign films...
So coming up with a cake design that they'd all love was proving a bit tricky. Then I thought of food - and they all love chocolate and sweets. So this cake - which is super-quick to decorate - was a big success.
It really takes under 10 minutes to decorate, but the costs can add up so try to buy the Kit Kats (I found 10 x four-fingered bars were plenty) when they're on some kind of buy one, get one free offer. You can also use Cadbury's fingers if you prefer. Some people like to tie a ribbon around the edge, but I love the pure chocolatey look above.
4 free-range eggs
225g/8oz caster sugar
225g/8oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g/8oz soft butter
strawberry or raspberry jam
50g dark chocolate
100g soft butter
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 40 kit kats
large pack each of Maltesers, M&Ms/Smarties or your preferred sweets
For the two sandwich cakes, I used Mary Berry's perfect Victoria sandwich recipe - because I thought chocolate cake in chocolate icing topped with chocolate might be a bit too chocolatey.
The method is: preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Line 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins, then add the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and butter into a big mixing bowl or mixer. Mix until all blended and it's a soft ‘dropping’ consistency – then divide between the two tins.
Bake for 25 minutes. When cooled, sandwich with jam and pile one on top of the other.
Now, for the fun bit. Melt the chocolate then stir in the rest of the chocolate icing ingredients. When the cake and icing are cool, use a spatula to cover the top and sides in a generous sludging of icing. Leave it for about 5 minutes, then begin to line the Kit Kats along the side edge of the cake, using the icing as glue. Add another five on the top to divide the cake into fifths, and fill each fifth with your chocolate or sweets of choice. Refrigerate for an hour or so to allow everything to settle, then take out the fridge...and gobble.