Baggy trousers clown

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

You will need a variety of different-sized pudding basins for making this cake to give the clown his lovely rounded shape — if you don't have the exact sized basins you can trim the cakes to shape or use any ovenproof bowls of a similar size.

Ingredients

1 quantity chocolate cake mixture for 25 cm (10 inch) round cake

220 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, melted

375 g (12 oz) marzipan

peach, yellow, blue, red and green food colourings

270 g (9 oz) buttercream

700 g (1 lb 7 oz) chocolate sugarpaste

4 chocolate buttons (melts)

white chocolate chips

1 liquorice ‘lace’

milk chocolate chips

Equipment

2 × 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basins

315 ml (½ pint) pudding basin

1.4 litre (2½ pint) pudding basin

23 cm (9 inch) square cake board

1 wooden cake dowel

paintbrush

cocktail stick

number 1 piping tube

Method

Making the cakes

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Grease the two 1.1 litre pudding basins and the 315 ml pudding basin.Line the bases with non-stick baking paper.

Spoon the cake mixture into the basins and bake the small basin for 35 minutes and the large basins for 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool. Trim off the top of the cake baked in the small basin to give a rounded shape for the clown's head.

Chocolate 'trousers'

Cover the outside of the 1.4 litre pudding basin with foil,tucking the end neatly inside the blow and pressing the creases as flat as possible. Spread the melted chocolate over the foil to within 5 mm (¼ inch)of the basin rim. Leave to set.

Carefully lift away the foil tucked inside the bowl. Twist the bowl and remove it completely. With one hand gently resting in the base of the chocolate bowl, carefully peel away the foil lining to leave a chocolate case.

Assembling the clown

Colour half of the marzipan peach and two-thirds of the rest yellow. Colour some remaining pieces red and some blue, leaving a small piece plain. Shape two-thirds of the yellow marzipan into two flat boots. Place towards the front of the cake board.

Reserve 3 tablespoons of the buttercream for piping. Generously spread the rounded top of one large cake with buttercream. Gently drop it into the chocolate case. Position the case on the cake board, behind the feet, securing with buttercream. Spread the cake with buttercream and place the second large cake on top, towards the back so that the baggy trousers are emphasised.

Cut off one-third of the chocolate sugarpaste, reserving a small piece about the size of a plum. Divide the rest in half for arms. Roll into thick sausage shapes on a surface dusted with cornflour, tapering each ‘sausage’ at the end. Flatten slightly, then bend for arms. Cut off the thin ends for cuffs.

Keeping the plum-sized piece of sugarpaste aside, use the rest to cover the clown's body: on a surface dusted with cornflour, roll it out into a 25 cm (10 inch) round. Place over the top of the cake, tucking the ends inside the chocolate bowl. Ease the icing to fit around the back of the clown. Insert the dowel into the body, leaving enough poking out to support the head.

Finishing touches

Secure the arms in position with a dampened paintbrush. Use a cocktail stick to mark elbow creases. Press chocolate buttons onto the front of the clown to make shirt buttons. Dot the shirt with white chocolate chips.

Roll a little of the peach marzipan into two balls for hands. Flatten slightly, then cut four slits for fingers, using a sharp knife. Attach the clown's left hand to the shirt cuff.

Roll out the remaining marzipan to a circle about 18 cm (7 inches) in diameter. Wrap around the reserved small pudding cake, easing the paste and smoothing the ends underneath. Secure to the cake to form the clown's head. Colour the reserved buttercream green and place in a paper piping bag fitted with a number 1 tube. Starting from the top of the head, pipe vertical lines of hair, short at the front for a fringe and longer around the neck.

Shape the reserved chocolate sugarpaste into a small hat. Decorate the hat with a liquorice band and a small flower made from red and blue marzipan. Fix the hat on top of the clown's head.

To make braces, roll out two strips of blue marzipan, each about 28 cm (11 inches) long and 5 mm (¼ inch wide). Secure over the clown's shoulders so the ends just overhang the trousers. Press a milk chocolate chip into each end. Position the second hand clutching the brace. Roll out the remaining yellow marzipan and cut out a wide collar. Position around the clown's neck and finish with a blue marzipan bow tie. Shape the mouth and nose from red marzipan.

For the eyes use plain marzipan rounds, pressing a milk chocolate chip onto each. Cut the remaining liquorice into short lengths and press into the boots for laces.