A plain 6″ round Madeira cake, covered in fondant with a few flowers attached. Simple! And yet I managed to thwart myself in completing it in so many ways…
After a chat with my Dad on Friday afternoon he told me that one of his friends’ birthday was the next day (these friends have been very good to him and he always talks of them fondly). Because I’d already been thinking about some sort of cake-related gift by way of a thank you for taking him to his first course of chemo, I immediately offered to knock up a birthday cake. Shouldn’t be too taxing, make the cake and decorations that evening, ice and decorate the next morning. Simple!
Useful things I learnt yesterday/today…
Never assume you already have baking powder in the house when wandering over to Waitrose for ingredients the night before for a last minute cake.
Never wait until gone 10:30pm before starting to make a cake when you’ve had everything (well, nearly) you need in hand since 5pm. That way if you can’t find the sodding baking powder that you thought you had but now you come to think of it, probably took to Bristol, you can still nip out to the shops and get some and your cake can have overnight to settle before icing.
Do your decorations when you say you will and as early as possible to give them time to dry out. It also gives you plenty of time to try and find your cutters in the darkest depths of the room-of-doom so you’re not panicking like crazy the next morning when you can’t find them, remembering again that most of them are in Bristol because you thought you’d start on the sugarcraft again (but still haven’t got around to it yet).
If you believe that you really have got baking powder somewhere then double-check all your ridiculous hiding places so that you don’t feel a fool when you come across it the next morning while looking for your icing smoothers.
I got there in the end but if I was more organised it would have been done by lunchtime and I’ve have had all afternoon to do bugger all whilst the menfolk were out getting trousered at the pub.
The big blue flower was made from petal paste and cut using a Wilton flower cookie cutter. The edges were ruffled on a foam pad and three large flowers using graduating colours (Sugarflair Ice Blue) were made. I originally intended something simple with a single ruffled flower with three pearls in the middle which I had seen elsewhere. I was going to attach it to the side of the cake rather than the top with maybe some smaller ones cascading down from it.
The cookie cutter was rather large in comparison to those though so the pearls would have been swamped. The smaller flowers were cut with a blossom cutter as a back up in case everything went ‘orribly wrong.
Once the edges of the larger flowers had dried a little I experimented with stacking them together instead and decided it looked a lot better instead of singly. It didn’t look right against the side of the cake so I attached it to the top instead with a ball of fondant to help it sit at an angle. I added to the inscription and attached the remaining flowers around the edge.
10″ and 6″ Madeira cakes on 14″ board with a raspberry jam and buttercream filling. Covered in fondant and embossed with quilting patchwork cutter pressed into the sides then studded with sugar pearls.
Quick and easy flower decorations made using a Blossom Art cutter/veiner kit, left to dry and coloured dusts added. Beading around base of cakes done using a silicone mould. Made the trip from Maidenhead to Banbury with no mishap even with hubby taking all roundabouts on 2 wheels as is his want (I was armed with an emergency repair kit just-in-case). The top cake looked a little lumpy in the light when I set it out on the table but the handful of flowers in my emergency repair kit hid any flaws and the birthday girl seemed to like it.
I was really pleased with it myself. Without blowing my own trumpet, I think it looked quite professional but was actually quite easy to do. I’ve mastered the art of covering cakes by rolling my fondant out on my Wilton Roll n Cut Fondant Mat which means I can lift without tearing (and tearing up with frustration) and drape the mat over the cake before peeling away the mat and smoothing down the fondant. It isn’t very flexible though so I’ll be looking at buying one of those ‘The Mat’ thingies from Sweetwise as a present for myself.
The finished cake for my Mum’s birthday using the Sugarcraft Flowers from a few weeks ago. 10″ round rich fruit cake bottom layer which was covered with the board as one with fondant. 8″ round madeira layer with raspberry jam and buttercream filling. 7″ polystyrene top tier with posy pick covered in florist tape to support the Sugarcraft Flowers and bear grass decoration. The ’70′ was made using Patchwork Cutters and attached once the cake was in place to avoid mishap. Inscription made using Tappits and differently coloured co-ordinating ribbons used to break up the tiers.
My Mum’s 70th Birthday arrives near the end of August and she has asked me to make her a fruit cake with roses on. I attended a Sugarcraft Flowers class at Pipedreams in Eton Wick last year where they showed us how to make a simple posy of roses and sweetpeas so that’s what I went with (better to work with something you know than try and go big and bugger it up!)
The good thing about flowers is that they can be made weeks/months in advance which allows plenty of time for redoing if it all goes horribly wrong! Lucky for me, they didn’t need redoing (although there were a few minor chips in transit, they didn’t show once wired together) and I remembered most of what I learned in my class.
Above: cones for the rose centres, sweetpeas, roses and leaves before colouring.
Above: with blossom dust added
Below: Wired together in sprigs ready for insertion into the finished cake.
At this point I have absolutely NO idea how I’m going to attach them to the cake…
I guess I’ll be winging it again, hoping for the best!
This Cricketer Cake is a 6″ Madeira cake, split, drizzled with vanilla sugar syrup, sandwiched together with jam and buttercream (cheated and used Betty Crocker’s to save time), covered in green fondant with fondant decorations. Made using a step-by-step tutorial by Jane Barraclough in an old issue of Cake Craft & Decoration (July 2011). Simple to follow instructions and being able to make all the decorations in advance meant that I had plenty of time to cover the cake the evening before the party with no stress!
Cake baked, figures made and fondant coloured green in Bristol, covered and assembled in Maidenhead as I was worried it wouldn’t make it in one piece - Mr V was driving!
The green covering is a little dodgy and it didn’t help that the texturing I should have done to it was completely forgotten about until hours later after it had hardened too much – would have hidden most of the imperfections. The figures’ limbs and heads came detached in transit but were easily re-attached with royal icing.
I was going to put the bail somewhere else but Mr V thought I was being inappropriate and puerile. He should know, he shares an office with rather a lot of inappropriate and puerile people including his wife - best job ever!