Do you remember terrarium-gate? It was the make and do item that almost ended up in tears after Phillip came out on top with a terrarium worthy of a place on the set. Today Holly gets a chance to redeem herself. Only this time, our terrariums are edible.
Juliet Sear is in the kitchen ready to show Phillip and Holly how to make their very own edible terrarium - so simple to make, they look great, but taste even better!
Juliet says: These are such fun to make, you can bake all the components yourself or use shop bought cake, biscuit and buttercream.
You’ll need a few glass jars or little glass containers for display and if using little flowers, tiny tagetes are perfect to finish off the buttercream cacti!
Serves: makes 4 – 6
For the brownie cake:
120g plain 70% choc chips
150g soft, unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
200g light brown sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
120g plain flour
For the biscuits:
75g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
175g soft, salted butter
275g plain flour
For the chocolate buttercream ganache:
60g dark chocolate
30g double cream
For the buttercream:
200g soft unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
You will also need:
Round cutter a little smaller than the glass container you’re using
Green food colouring
Some Mikado sticks or similar thin biscuits
Plastic or reusable piping bags
star nozzles - most will work and different sizes look good
Chocolate stones (optional)
Some tiny tagetes for the flowers
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or bain marie and leave to cool.
Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar slowly until combined, then increase the speed and beat until light, pale and fluffy
Add your beaten egg a little at a time on slow until each bit is incorporated, then pour all the cooled choc into your mix, beating all the time
Mix the plain flour in on slow speed, until just combined, do not over mix
Spoon evenly into the tin, level off and bake for about 20-30 minutes. The cake should be slightly under baked, so when tested with a skewer there should be a little cake mix, pasty but not wet. The cake should be well risen, but still wobble a bit when shaken, the crust will sink back into the cake as it cools. Cool in the tin.
To make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180C. In a stand mixer, combine the sugar, vanilla and butter until mixed thoroughly.
Add the flour and just mix in, then tip out of the bowl and bring together by hand with a little kneading
Roll out to about 4 - 5mm thickness and cut into rounds, place on lined baking sheets leaving a little space between the biscuits and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked to your liking, then leave to cool on a wire rack. These homemade biscuits can be baked in advance and will last for a couple of weeks in a biscuit tin or bag.
To make the ganache and buttercream, firstly make the chocolate ganache by melting together the chocolate and cream until smooth in a bain marie or in a microwave, then leave to cool
To make the buttercream, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on a slow speed in a stand mixer until combined, then turn up the speed to high and beat until pale, light and fluffy. Take out 150g of the buttercream and stir into the cooled ganache to make the filling.
Colour the remaining buttercream a couple of different shades of green, and spoon these into piping bags with star nozzles
To assemble and decorate, split the cake in half through the middle and fill generously with ganache filling, press the top crust back on
Cut out little rounds of cake and push these into your jars or containers. There will be some excess crumb left and you may need to add some additional crumb to fill if you are using a rounded bubble style container, so just crumble it in by hand.
Crush the biscuits in a food processor or by hand in a bag with a rolling pin, crumble a layer of your ‘sand’ over the earth layer
Now decorate with the buttercream cacti. For the tall ones, it helps stability if you add a broken Mikado stick into the cake to anchor it – this needs to be the height of the ‘soil’ in the dish plus the height of the flower. Place the larger star nozzle buttercream right over the stick, pipe firmly and draw up the bag to create a tall cactus
Fill the terrarium with chocolate stones and other little cacti as you please, and if using, top off with little flowers - these look amazing on the buttercream and really bring the terrariums to life, people will believe they are real!