This time last year I was in the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth hospital visiting my niece Holly who was just a few hours old. Having been an Auntie for a full 12 months it made me realise how much has changed since then. I got married, started a new career, took my first holiday abroad in 12 years, found a stray kitten in the street…….and have continued to hone my cake decorating skills. Little by little. I’m still not amazing but I do try to give new techniques a go whenever I can.
I’ve only used number tins once before so still don’t feel utterly confident with them yet. I struggle with baking times as it’s not as predicable as baking in a round or square tin and some of the shapes can be a pain (to put it nicely) to ice with fondant.
As they say, practice makes perfect I guess. Pretty pleased with todays results though:
My glamorous friend Sahira turned 30 recently and asked me to make her a bright pink 30 shaped cake. I’d been playing with cake wires recently so decided to go with a star theme and have some glittery stars exploding from the centre of the 0 like fireworks.
I made this cake for my daughter’s 8th birthday yesterday and she thought it was wonderful. Inspired by our rather large and growing collection of Cath Kidston wares this cake is pretty colourful and surprisingly easy to do. I wanted to do some more pics and close ups but it seemed to have been devoured by friends and family before I had the chance to take any! Extra chocolately sponge and butter cream centre topped with pink sugar paste and hand rolled roses. This would be perfect for any girls birthday – young or old!
8″ round chocolate sponge (made in 3″ deep tin or two sandwich tins. (I will post some basic sponge and fruit recipes in the next few days)
For butter icing:
4oz cocoa powder
8oz icing sugar
1kg of sugar paste to cover
100g of pink flower paste
50g green sugarpaste
Small amount of Royal icing to stick on roses.
8″ and 10″ cake boards
Ribbon ( 1cm width)
Once the sponge(s) have been made and cooled, make up the buttercream by combining the icing sugar, butter and cocoa with a hand whisk. If you have made a 3″ deep cake then split it with a bread knife. You can buy a cake wire but a bread knife gives you more control in my opinion. Spread a nice thick layer of the butter cream and sandwich the cakes together. Smear a little butter cream on the 8″ board and place the cake on top. Now cover the entire cake with the rest of the butter cream and smooth it out with a plastic cake smoother until the sides and top of the cake are as straight and flat as you can get them. Place in the fridge overnight if possible. I can’t stress how essential this step is if you want a smooth, even cake when it comes to covering with sugar paste as it gives you a great base. If your cake isn’t flat and even at this stage then it never will be no matter how well you cover it!
Now your cake has cooled and the butter cream set in the fridge over night you have got an easier cake to work with which is already on the 8″ board so much easier to handle. Roll out 250g of your pink sugar paste to approx 5mm and cover your 10″ board. Use a knife to trim the edge and smooth with a cake smoother which you can pick up from your local cake supplier (well worth it). Now roll the rest of the pink sugar paste to approx 7-8mm thick and smooth over your cake. Trim the excess (I will do some posts with pics just on applying sugar paste soon). You now should have an iced 10″ board and the 8″ cake iced encasing the 8″ board it was on. Smear a little royal icing in the middle of the 10″ board and place the cake on top.
Okay, now the fun bit – the roses. Rub a little trex or fat on a smooth clean surface. I have used flower paste for my flowers – it’s easier to manipulate and dries quicker. It can also be rolled very thin if you are ever making more realistic flowers. If you can only get hold of white flower paste, just mix it 50/50 with some sugar paste in the desired colour. Take a small pea sized ball of the flower paste and roll in your fingers into a fairly thin sausage shape. Press down on this with your thumb so you get a strip of thin flower paste about 1cm x 4cm. curl the end of the right end and keep going until the flower paste has coiled up to give the rose shape. For the leaves just use slightly smaller balls of green sugar paste, flatten the ball then pinch one end into a leaf shape. You’ll need 42 roses and 42 petals to cover the cake. Leave to harden.
Arrange the roses in groups of three around the cake and add the leaves in between using small amounts of piped royal icing to stick them on. I have added a row of piped pearls round the base of the cake and small piped pearls in between each bunch of roses. Finish with ribbon round the base board.