People often say "ooh your kids are so lucky, I bet they get loads of cake!". My kids would be the first people to tell you that if you live in a cakery, you never get any cake. You do, however, get some pretty cool birthday cakes...albeit often looking suspiciously like wedding cakes.
My son has never been particularly interested in cake, though. Two years ago, he requested a Princess Bride themed cheeseboard in lieu of cake! This year, he requested Fudge Dredd. And so it was that I found myself making a slab of fudge with the face of Judge Dredd.
For the fudge, I used Felicity Cloake's recipe - her "how to cook the perfect..." column in the Guardian is brilliant. I scaled up the quantities a little so that I used all of the cream I had in the fridge (rather than having a bit left over). Tweaking recipes is a fool's game in baking unless you know your stuff/maths/tin sizes, but this isn't baking, and it worked nicely. Here's what I used:
707g demerara sugar
257g golden syrup
450ml double cream (one big, one small tub from Sainsbury's)
1.25 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
A very big pan, a sugar thermometer and an 8" square cake tin.
Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cream together in the BIGGEST PAN you can lay your hands on. it needs to be huge! Once it's boiling the mixture will at least double in size.
Once it's all dissolved, stick a sugar thermometer in the pan. You can do this without athermometer but I much prefer the scientific approach. Bring it up to the boil, stirring occasionally, more often once it's over 100C. When it hits 116C you can turn the heat off, chuck in the vanilla and salt and give it a stir. Then, keep stirring till it thickens and looses it's shine. Pour into a lined tin - mine was an 8" square tin - and let it cool. Please check Felicity's article as it's very helpful on all aspects of fudging technique!
If you are adding Judge Dredd - and who isn't? - then I used an edible printer to recreate him. If I were any sort of a mother I would have made a chocolate transfer, but we all have our limits. I cut the sheet into squares beforehand, not sure if this was absolutely necessary but I hoped it would make for neater cubes of fudge later. I just laid it on the fudge whilst still warm. Then cut it up once cool!