20 November 2009

Lovely layers ...

So I recently had another request for a kiddies birthday party ... a tiered cake ...

Guess where my head went?

Pink Cake Box Cake

Thank goodness that wasn't the request ... in fact, the cake was for a small birthday party, so it didn't need to be over the top - there were only going to be five of them after all.

I was still stressing a little (!), until it was suggested that the bottom tier be a normal sandwich cake, the next level a mini cake, and the next a cupcake ... I loved the idea!

And how easy!

I was also asked to make brownies with strawberries (because something had to be healthy!) and a batch of cupcakes.

My kind of party!

This one I was looking forward to ...
And when I was told the birthday girl wasn't a particularly girly girl ... well, I think I didn't really listen!!!!

Check out the cupcakes that became the inspiration for the cake!

See what I mean - pink bows!
You can't get more girly!

Now I could have gone the whole rolled fondant route - and perhaps I will for the next one I do ... but we went with chocolate.
Yummy chocolate.

What I have learnt over time with all this cake baking ... is something they call crumb coating ... it will save your life, I promise!

You see, you bake your cake.
You can use the recipe featured in Let Them Eat Cake.
However, I used Nigella's recipe for Victoria sponge, which is essentially double quantities of the cupcake recipe which you can find on Icing Innovation. Although you do need to add a teaspoon of baking powder if you make it in the food processor.

Once it's out of the oven and cooled, i brush the edges with a pastry brush, to lose the excess crumbs.
Then, you ice it with a very thin layer of your icing - normally butter icing in my kitchen!
Then, put it in the fridge.
And wait.
Take it out about 20 minutes later, and if you touch the icing gently, you'll feel it has hardened a little.
Then, ice away as you want for your finished cake ... and ... no crumbs in sight in the icing!!!!
You heard it here!

Because the mini cake that was to be the second layer was so small, I didn't bother with putting supports into the base cake ... I hope I don't get a call this afternoon to say it's collapsed!!

When I'd iced the bottom cake and mini cake, and put them both back in the fridge for another 20 minutes, I put them all together ... and then I piped around the edges to hide gaps ...

And then I put all the little sprinkles on - this was hard work because the icing wasn't essentially wet anymore, so a little pressure made it work.

And the final touch (and fast becoming my every time final touch) was edible glitter.

What do you think?
I loved it!
I didn't want to let it go!

So gorgeous you must see more photos.

Here's a close up...

And a really close close up...

I want this cake for my birthday next year!

I hope you like it!
Keep reading!

04 November 2009

She wants this one ....

OK, I don't have kids, but I can just imagine how many times you moms hear that ...

"I want that one".

I got a call from a friend of mine a few weeks ago ... her daughter's birthday party was coming up, and she needed to finalise the cake ... and of course - she wants that one.
She made it sound very complicated, so I was really quite nervous to see this cake I was being asked to reproduce.
So, the colour photocopy was hand delivered to my house, and this is what I found inside:

Not so bad, I thought.
I was clearly relieved! I've been asked for Pirate Ships before (no, I didn't do it - are you mad!), so this was great.

Now, we must understand that this picture is copied from a Donna Hay cookbook, in other words, it comes from Australia.
And of course the cake is wrapped in Musk Sticks ... never heard of them in my life before - seeing as how we're sitting in Cape Town, sunny South Africa.
So that was challenge number one.

I had to go on a shopping expedition to see what else we could find here that would work.

Pink Boudoir Biscuits?
Possibly, but I was worried about them getting soggy.

Fizzers? Would have been my choice, but can you just imagine all those sticky little fingers! Mom didn't go for that option ... lucky me, I didn't have to unwrap 50 Fizzers!

I liked the look of these guys, but I nearly broke my tooth on them, so thought best not to go with this one for health & safety issues - never mind public liability insurance!

Then these Strawberry Pencils could definitely have worked, but at R2 each, and being as thin as they were, it was going to make a very expensive cake! Oh, and I thought too red too...

And then I stumbled into my fabulous local Chinese shop and found these little guys.

And of course, Mom loved them.
So that's what we went with.

And with 30 kids coming to her party, I made a large square vanilla sponge cake (using twice the quantity of the recipe from Let Them Eat Cake).
And a plain vanilla butter icing and no colouring, and using yellow margarine to get that pretty creamy vanilla colour.

Attention to detail is the name of the game, you understand, so I found a beautiful pink wrapping paper and carefully wrapped the cake board.
I also edged it with a simple pink and silver edged ribbon.

The marshmallows stuck easily to the fresh, moist icing, and as soon as I was done, I put it in the fridge to firm up. They were much shorter than the Musk Sticks though, so I used one row of vertical marshmallows, and topped the cake with two rows going horizontally.

Once ready, I took a big pink bow, layered with the same pink and silver edged ribbon from the base, and wrapped them around the top edge of the marshmallows.

I couldn't resist the little pink rose to finish off the ribbon.

I have also had these mini marshmallows in my store room, from Jacqui in London (again!), and this was the perfect opportunity to use them.

I think it came out really well.
Admittedly, it doesn't look much like the Donna Hay cake, but we took the idea and interpreted it to what we have here in SA, and I think it worked.

I hope you like it?
And I hope you keep reading ...