Category: Cake decorating

The loaf cake competition

Ok let me just warn you that this might be a bit of a frustrating post as the day this post goes out is soooo close to the closing date of this competition it’ll be hard to enter. Hard but not impossible!. My friend shared it with me and I thought it was so clever and the cakes were so good that it was still worth sharing it with you guys!

The comp.

It’s furniture company Loaf’s 8th birthday and they want cake. Sofa and bed cakes to be precise. The competition is to make any Loaf bed or sofa in the shape of a cake and win the model you’ve made and decorated. You can email your entries to feelinglucky@loaf.com or put it on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages using  #BakeItToWinIt by Monday 16th January and they’ll pick the winner on 17th Jan.

But here’s why I wanted to share it with you. Just look at the cakes below from last years competition! So clever and so cute.

What do you think? Well worth a Sunday baking and decorating sesh don’t you think?

EmmaMT x

How to make a swimming pool cake

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake I love making cakes for Evie. Apart from the fact that she’s lovely, she is ALWAYS smiling. She always says “hello” when we walk into school (and I mean says hello to me- not just Darcey!) and she always chooses fab cakes that I’ve never made before. This year she was having a swimming pool party – obviously! So a swimming pool cake was definitely the right choice of cake.

I’ve made a few cakes for Evie before and if you remember then you probably know that she’s coeliac. That’s why I love making her birthday cakes. You don’t get cakes like this in the supermarket. I basically use my Madeira cake recipe as seen in this chart and swap the flour quantity for 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice flour. I find that mixing up the same quantity of flour needed in a recipe with a mixture of gluten free flour, rice flour or almond flour comes out light and tasty.

Designing the Swimming pool cake

I wanted to keep the design simple so I made the main part of the cake the swimming pool. I baked a rectangular cake and cut it into three layers then cut away the centre of the top layer. Raspberry jam and buttercream were added and the whole cake was covered in pale blue sugarpaste. I had to make it quite thick to be able to handle getting into the corners of the pool.
Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I wrote ‘Evie’ in my fave script and left it to dry for a few days. I mixed it with some Tylo powder so it would really firm up (and quickly). A square cutter was used to make tiles which we placed around parts of the pool.

Rope was made with white sugarpaste strands which were twisted together and stuck on at the corners. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

The splashes were made from a ball of sugarpaste which was brushed with gelatine to give it a glossy effect. The Evie was also brushed to give shine. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

A life saving ring was made from white and red sugarpaste and left to harden.

To make the ‘water’ I made up some gelatine and let it cool before I spooned it into the pool. What I hadn’t banked on was that the tiles I had stuck in the bottom of the cake would bubble up and kind of soften and start to dissolve. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was how the gelatine would set. I thought it would just firm up like jelly. It didn’t. It wobbled a bit like jelly but when I had to drive the cake to the pool party it had moved and jiggled creating all these white lines. I was mortified but Evie’s mum said that the waves looked great. Pfew! Lucky save. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

To finish off I added grey bars which I painted with edible silver paint and stuck them onto the side of the pool along with another life ring.

Having learnt my lesson making this mermaid cake I kept Evie in a little better proportion and just made the top half to place in the pool.

The bunting was literally a last minute idea made from decorative paper, string and two skewers.

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I kinda like this cake. I think the water worked but it’s all the splashes and the ‘Evie’ in a big dribble of water that makes it for me. What do you think?

EmmaMT x

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cake

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeSometimes my cakes go wrong and when I say wrong I mean REALLY wrong. I didn’t realise quite how wrong this cake went until I had finished it.  Tim -my harshest critic, walked into the kitchen and I asked “What do you think?” his response after looking at the mermaid was …

“Well, he doesn’t look very happy does he!”

He !!! He !!. Well I guess Tim did have a point. I had given HER the most enormous chest. Not quite sure what I was thinking about whilst making this mermaid for a 6 year old! And to make matters worse this was a cake for Free Cakes For Kids. I managed to squish the head a ‘little’ when I was adding it onto the body (without a neck) and then even further still when I attached the strands of long, heavy, sugarpaste hair. Her beautiful oval shaped head kind of became square and rugged looking. But I didn’t notice at the time. I was too busy concentrating on making the hair stick to her head.

The right way to decorate the cake

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeI was really happy with the rest of the cake.  I baked an 8″ Madeira cake and filled half a Christmas pudding bowl tin with cake mix to get the curved top. I used the ingredients for a 9″ cake and split the mixture accordingly.

I buttercreamed the cakes together – cutting the 8″ in half. I then did a crumb coat and covered the cake in blue sugarpaste. I really like the sea like decorations. The twists were made when I covered the cake board in sugarpaste. I just rolled out different sized cones and twisted the tops then left them to dry out. The same effect was used with the seaweed but the green strips were long and thin and were twisted and stuck to the cake straight away. I like how it gives the base of the cake a 3d effect.

For the air bubbles I rolled tiny little balls of sugarpaste and used a balling tool  to make a hole in the centre. They were then stuck on by making the back damp.

The flowers were made in advance too but just a day before. They were set in painters pallettes so they would dry curved. You can see how I make flowers here.

The cake toppingsHow NOT to make a mermaid birthday cake

Seriously! What was I thinking with those knockers!!!! I can’t believe I thought that looked appropriate for a six year old!!! Anyway, as well as the well boosomed mermaid with the chiselled jaw, I made a number ‘6’ from a roll of sugarpaste which was left to dry for ages – like a week. I also made the name in the same way for the front of the cake. (you can see how I make the names here).The ‘6’ had rocks placed behind to hold it up and in place.

If you really want to know how I made the mermaid this is how!

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeThe mermaid’s tail was added to the cake first then the body. A ‘belt’ was added around the join. The tail and belt were marked with a half moon cake decorating tool. The arms were added and the painted head was attached. Finally the hair was stuck onto the mermaid using royal icing.

I had such great intentions and aspirations for this cake but I felt it fell flat. The little girl who it was for loved it – but let’s face it – she was six, it was a mermaid and it was cake. What’s not to love in her little world? Next time Free Cakes For Kids I promise I’ll do better! Maybe you should give me a man to make from sugarpaste. I think I’ve got that down pat!

All kidding aside – this was another cake for an amazing charity. The recipients are always so grateful to receive a cake for their little ones and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to give back to our community in that way.

So, have you had a cake that’s gone wrong or just not to plan? I’d love to know all about it and see the cake wreck love. Feel free to share your cakes on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page. It’s good to share.

EmmaMT x

 

The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!

The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever need

After countless emails and comments here on Cakes Bakes And Cookies I am finally happy to share my new Coffee Madeira cake recipe. I’ve tried it so many different ways – with esspresso, with more coffee, with less coffee and this is THE one! It’s a perfect balance of lightly textured cake with a smooth coffee flavour. The buttercream has a delicious coffee flavour but not too strong and when put together the balance is… well, just right.

I made the 9″ Coffee madeira cake mix and split it between five small 6″ tins. Have you seen these tins from Lakeland? They’re a clever set designed for making rainbow cakes and now they do them in an 8″ set too. I wanted to have an impressive layer cake suitable for a coffee morning but you can use this recipe in one 9″ cake tin for a layered wedding cake.

 

Coffee Madeira cake chart

This chart is for round cakes. For square cakes just go up one inch so an 8″ square cake will use a 9″ round recipe.

The_only _Coffee_Madeira_Cake_recipe_you'll_ever_need

How to make Coffee Madeira cake

  1. Line the cake tin with baking paper. I use sunflower oil to grease the tin so the cake stays soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  3. Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
  4. Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.
  5. Add the hot water to the coffee and disolve. Set to one side to cool.
  6. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour and coffee in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
  7. Add the walnut halves mixing as little as possible.
  8. Bake for time stated on the chart for your size cake tin or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
  9. Don’t open the oven door for the first 30 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
  10. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before adding the sugar syrup and turning out of the tin carefully.

How to make the sugar syrup:

  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever needCoffee buttercream recipe

These buttercream quantities are enough to fill each cake when split into two layers and coat the outside with a crumb coat and top coat.

 

The_only _Coffee_Madeira_Cake_recipe_you'll_ever_need

How to make coffee buttercream

  1.   Mix the water and coffee together till disolved then set to one side to cool.
  2. Start by beating the butter so it becomes light and fluffy.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar over the top of the butter then mix until well blended. I place a tea towel over my Kitchenaid and hold it carefully in place whilst mixing to prevent the dust from the icing sugar going everywhere.
  4. Once combined add the coffee and mix for 2-3 minutes so it becomes really light and fluffy. This consistency is good for a filling between layers of cake as it’s thick. I pipe buttercream between layers as it stays thicker than when I used a palette knife. It’s also easier to control and get flat.
  5. When covering a cake with a buttercream crumb coat before adding sugarpaste or for a decorative finish you need the buttercream to be more fluid. You can get this consistency by adding a drop or two of milk and mixing it in well. Do this slowly as once it’s too soft it’s a pain to get it to firm up again. How soft you want your buttercream is a personal choice. I like to be able to smooth the buttercream on with a palette knife easily and have it come off the sides with a side scraper without breaking the cake, but I don’t want it too soft.

The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever need

For the five layer Coffee Madeira cake

To create the coffee morning five layer cake I made the cake mix and placed it equally in each tin – which was around 150g per tin. The cakes only took 25 minutes to bake. To decorate I piped a squiggly line on the outside of each layer and filled the middle of each cake evenly.That way you get a pretty outside edge.

For the top I spread the buttercream neatly to cover the edges then piped another squiggly line around the outer edge. I broke up some extra walnuts and sprinkled them on top of the icing.

This cake was a hit in our house. Beau asked for “just a small slice” for breakfast. You can’t have a small slice of this cake.  Whichever way you cut it it’s going to be big. She managed to finish it off no problem!

Another thing about this cake is that I have been testing Madeira cakes made with butter and oil (instead of margarine). The cakes come out really light and much flatter but they don’t last as long. So if you give this a try decorate your cake to seal it (with a complete covering of buttercream) by the day after you bake it. You’ll also want to eat it within two or three days.

http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Coffee-Madeira-cake-chart-PDF-.pdf

Hope you like it

EmmaMT x

p.s. For all of you asking for a lemon Madeira cake recipe – that’s coming next month with charts too!

How to make a Rock climbing birthday cake

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/How to make a Rock climbing birthday cake

 

My little nephew Asher isn’t that little any more! He’s eight already. Last weekend he had a climbing party and before Christmas he told me exactly what he wanted his cake to be. Yes I know, you can see it’s a rock climbing cake!

The party was for 7 kids so I did go a little over board with the size of this cake. It could have fed 40! Well, I do only have one nephew! (on that side of the family anyway!)

How to design a rock climbing cake

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

I started off with a drawing of the climber. I am often disappointed with the models I make – thinking that legs or arms look too long/short/wonky, so I decided to make a plan. You know the saying “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” I wanted to use the drawings as guides.

Making the loopy name

To make the name and climber firm enough to handle I made them a week before the party. The name was made by rolling out a long strip of white sugar paste with a little Tylo Powderkneaded in. Tylo powder has a firming action on the icing. It gets harder much quicker than when left to dry naturally over a few days – I wanted to be sure it wouldn’t break.

A piece of silicon paper was positioned over the hand written name then I bent and looped the sugarpaste strip cutting and gluing from behind using edible glue where necessary– mainly behind the ‘A’. I then placed it along marzipan spacers to make sure it was level and set it on a tray to dry out.How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

Making the climber

Having a guide for the climber made it so much easier. I will definitely make models this way again. The climber was also made with sugarpaste. First the Tshirt was made then the legs were attached. I made the sugarpaste damp and pressed each piece together but next time I will use edible glue. After a few days the arms hadn’t stuck so I had to use edible glue in the end anyway.

The arms were easy to make and I simply cut lines in the flattened ends to make fingers. Then a decorators tool was used to soften the edges and make fingernails. (the pic below is before the fingers were softened!) Once the arms and shoes were attached I made a hole in the neck using a cocktail stick. This is so that the head can be attached later. How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To make the head

A piece of white sugarpaste was coloured with a dot of paprika coloured food gel and was rolled into a ball. A balling tool was used to make dents for the eyes and a tiny ball for the nose. White balls of sugarpaste were placed in the eye sockets and a small dent was made for the smile. A cocktail stick was cut in half and then pushed in to a piece of polystyrene so only 1cm stuck out and the head was then placed on top. In my experience if you try to push the stick into the  sugarpaste the head will either contort or the cocktail stick will poke out of the top, either way – we don’t want that. This way you have more control. Once the head is on the stick leave it to go hard enough to handle without squishing – 3-4 days.

After 3-4 days the head was then decorated with pale brown eye brows and tiny eyelashes and the eyes were painted black. A very pale pink was used to outline the mouth. A dry brush was used to dust a tiny amount of pink powder onto the cheeks to give them a glow. Finally the brown royal icing hair was piped on the top. A cocktail stick was used to make the hair a bit more curly. Again it was left to completly firm up. The head is the last thing to go on once the body is on the cake. How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To stack the cake

This cake was always going to be bumpy in texture – yay for not having to make a cake look perfectly smooth!! –  and I wanted it to have a flat front. So as not to waste any cake mix I used round cake tin liners (like these cake tin liners) and scrunched up some tin foil to make up the space along one side of a 6, 7 and 8″ cake tin  while they were baking- yes I know – waaaayyyy too much cake! Once out of the tins there wasn’t much carving to do.

Each Madeira cake was cut in half and the middle was filled with seedless raspberry jam and buttercream and the same between each cake – that’s why it got so tall!  I didn’t want to put boards between the cakes – which you should do with a cake this big so I used skewers to keep the whole cake together. I was really nervous driving this cake to my sister’s house so if you are travelling with a cake this tall stack it properly with boards and dowels like this.  The front was trimmed so it was less bumpy and the whole cake was given a buttercream coating. 

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To cover the cake

The blue icing was rolled out so it could be lifted over the tall cake. This was no mean feat and if this was a wedding cake of this size I would have covered the sides then the top but as it is I went for one big covering. I did have a seam at the back but for this cake it wasn’t a problem. I made it as neat as I could.

I wanted the surface to be gently bumpy so I dug my fingertips all over the blue sugarpaste to give a more rock like appearance. I then added the rock climbing handles. These were made by rolling our different coloured sugarpaste into balls then flattening one side of the ball and adhering them all over the cake with edible glue. I loved the colours- perfect for an eight year old.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 16.11.52

Adding the climber

To stick Asher the climber onto the cake I stuck coloured climbing handles under his hand while the handle sugarpaste was still soft. I pushed the dried hands into the soft sugarpaste so it looked like he was gripping them. Piping royal icing into the hole in the body before I stuck his head in place – this has been a winner for not having models loose their heads!  To stick the model onto the cake I used royal icing under the hands, body and behind the feet. Once I had positioned him and held him there for 30 seconds I placed a cocktail stick into the cake under the feet to stop him slipping down. Once I knew he was well and truly stuck I replaced the cocktail sticks with climbing handles.
How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

Finishing touches

The bottom of the cake looked a bit plain so I made different sized rocks to match the cake covering and placed them all around the bottom of the cake. I made bigger ones for the very left and right of the cake for the name to sit against. Royal icing was piped onto the back of the ‘Asher’ to stickit to the rocks.

I decided to make the ‘8’ to sit on the top at the last minute. To make sure it was hard I mixed the red sugarpaste with some Tylo powder, rolled it out and shaped the number then pushed a cocktail stick diagonally into it. I then placed it in the oven at 50ºC for 10 minutes. I removed it, let it cool completely then repeated. On the second cool it was firm. I left it over night to give it an extra chance to harden then stuck it in the cake the next morning with a little royal icing for good measure and had a few blue rocks around it for effect. This worked really well but the red colour did darken a little.

The last addiditons were the long strand of rope which was looped around the eight with a little curl at the bottom and the harness I added to the climber.

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

I really loved this cake. It was a monster in size but the colours worked really well and I tried out a few new techniques that I will definitely do again like the way I did the name and using a plan to make the model.

When I delivered the cake before the party Asher came to see it and didn’t say a word – he just hugged me really tight for what seemed like ages. Ahhhhh, I love that. Big love from the little man. So all that’s left to say is

Happy Birthday ADF. I’ve gotta lotta love for you! 

EmmaMT x




Cake inspiration from Sweetapolita: Chocolate Torte Madeira Sprinkle Birthday Cake

 Chocolate Torte Madeira Sprinkle Birthday CakeSprinkle Birthday cake

Where do you get your cake inspiration from? I follow quite a lot of blogs but I only stay subscribed if they keep on delivering great inspiration month after month. If they don’t post for a few weeks I don’t really mind as when they do it’s always amazing new content and that’s how I feel about Sweetapolita. She has a very distinctive style and I always want to have a go at recreating her cakes. Her style was the inspiration for this cake. 

BeauBeau is TWELVE!!!! 

Where does the time go. I’ve been writing this blog for over four years and each year my daughter’s birthday cake posts seem to come round quicker and quicker. For the first time in ages I actually can believe Beau is twelve. She is so much more happy and mature than she was last year. She’s settled into senior school really well and has a lovely group of new friends who we met for the first time on Sunday. One of them even offered to help carry over the drinks for all the gang while we were at bowling! I mean literally said “Would you like me to help you carry the drinks over“!!! How happy am I that Beau has found such polite and friendly group of girls to hang out with? VERY.Sprinkle Birthday cake

So, when it came to her birthday cake she asked for something simple, chocolatey and pretty. Gone are the days of sculpting cakes into fancy designs. In fact I can’t actually remember the last time I was asked to do that. I knew exactly which of Sweetapolita’s cake designs I was going to make. Lots of soft chocolate ganache buttercream and lots and lots of pretty sprinkles! 

Now, I would say that this cake is quick and easy to make and I am sure it is, but not when you are desperate to finish season 4 of Prison Break on Netflix and can’t stop watching it and stay up till 3am to do so! Without Netflix it would have been sooo much quicker! 

Chocolate Torte Madeira Cake 

[yumprint-recipe id=’4′]Beau and her Sprinkle Birthday cake

Happy Birthday Beau Beau Bob. We love you so much. 

Emma (a.k.a. Mamma.xxx)

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