Category: Cake decorating

Molly’s Christening cake

My first Christening cakes

I’ve been trying to be really organized this year (you know how those new year goals can be!) and I was sorting out all the photos on my PC. I realized how many cakes I made last year. It was a LOT! You don’t really realise how many you’ve done till you look back. So, I thought I would start sharing them with you.

Two Tier Christening cake

The first one

A few years ago, when I hadn’t ever really tried to stack a cake before, my mother in law’s best friend asked if I would make her grand-daughters Christening cake. Of course it was a pleasure, but it was also a little daunting. She was really sweet and just said

“I’d like a two tier cake with her name – Olivia Katherine, on it”

Great! I thought. This is my chance to stack a cake. Little did I realize that the name Katherine was going to be more of a challenge than the stacking.There are a lot of letters in her name so I had to think outside the box as it were! I decided to make the letters from sugar paste using cookie cutters two weeks before delivery so that they would have plenty of time to dry out. This enabled me to stand them up against the cake. IT also meant that the bottom tier had to be pretty big. I then made some flowers with flower press cutters and attached them to each letter.

In all stacking the cake wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and the grandparents and family loved it. Even though Tim (my harshest critic) told me it was wonky!

Along came Molly

Molly's Christening cake

So….. a year and a half later along came Olivia Katherine’s little sister and I was again asked to make a two tier cake. This time I wasn’t so scared of the whole assembly thing. Molly’s cake was to be lilac with her name on. The rest was up to me (how cool is that for someone to trust you with your own designs for their cake?) I wanted it to be classy and pretty yet still young as it was for a christening.

The cake was Madeira and was stacked and covered in lilac icing. A week before I baked the cake I iced the cake board and made a huge bow from pink sugarpaste, then set them aside to dry.

I used my spacers to cut even lines from pink sugarpaste to form the ‘ribbon’ that went around each cake then positioned the bow at the front and made ties to hang down over the front.

Molly Christening cake

I finished it off with a scattering of pink blossom flowers and a few pearls dotted around the cake.

To make the ‘Molly’ I used tappits. These are so easy to use and look so neat and professional. All that was needed then was the real ribbon around the base of the cake board and it was time to deliver.

Molly Lilac Christening cake

The cake was a big success. Let’s hope I get asked to make baby number three a christening cake (if there is a number three!) I’d love to make a boys christening cake.

Enjoy!

Beau’s sleepover cake

How to make a simple sleepover cake

Beau was eight years old on Monday. Her birthday cakes have got more and more detailed and adventurous  as I have got more experienced and she has got older. When asked what cake she wanted this year she said

“ I want a two tier cake like a wedding cake with me sleeping on the top and my friends sleeping on the bottom of the cake” !!!!!!!

She was obviously having her first sleepover party.So we compromised. Beau’s main cake which we cut at her party, had her sleeping on a big bed and each of her friends had a separate mini ‘bed’ cake of their own, in which they were sleeping and could take home with them the next day.
The idea was to make all the cakes sit alongside each other so that it felt like one big cake.I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe (below) which is really chocolatey, super quick to make and super light and fluffy.

Two bowl chocolate cake recipe

Ingredients

3 tbsp hot water
3 tbsp cocoa powder
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
100g Self Raising Flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla essence

To make the chocolate cake

Grease two 18cm sandwich tins (I used 3 x the ingredients and 3  loaf tins for this cake). Line the bottoms with baking paper. Heat your oven to 180C, gas mark 4.

Sieve the cocoa powder into a bowl, then add the hot water and blend really well until there is  no dry powder left. Set to one side to cool.

In another bowl mix all rest of the ingredients together until well blended and then add the cocoa mixture and blend again.

Spoon the mixture into the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry. This cake rises a little so you can also test that it’s baked by pressing down on the top of the cake. If it springs back it’s ready. If it leaves a finger print or takes a while to rise up again it will need a little longer in the oven.


Chocolate buttercream

Ingredients to fill and cover a two bowl chocolate cake

75g soft butter
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp cocoa powder

How to make the buttercream

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl then blend until really light and fluffy. This makes enough to fill an 18cm cake and cover the top (and sides if you don’t use it too thick)

To make the sleepover cake

Cover your cake boards with sugarpaste. Use a patchwork cutter to create a pattern in the ‘carpet’. Leave to dry for at least a week. If you use it straight away it may dent when you touch it!

Cut the cake to size and add buttercream

I used three times the recipe to make three loaf sized chocolate cakes. One cake was used for the main bed and the other two were cut into rectangles for the smaller beds. Each cake was cut in half and had buttercream added to the centre.

 Cover each cake with chocoalte buttercream

It’s a good idea to bake the cakes in advance to decorating them. If it’s really, really fresh this cake will just crumble when you apply the buttercream.  24 hours after baking is a good time to decorate. Once the cake is iced it’s sealed so it will stay moist and fresh.
Add buttercream to the top and sides.

cover each 'bed' cake with white icingCover each cake with white sugarpaste then secure the cake in place on it’s cake board with a little royal icing. This creates the ‘sheet’ over the bed.

 Add the detailed trim to the bed

Use edgers to make strips of decorative sugarpaste and secure them along the bottom of the bed. Use Royal icing as glue.

Add details on the trim

Use a sugar craft tool, or the end of a paintbrush to give the valance more detail.

Add a pillow and a headMould a piece of white sugarpaste into a rectangular shape for the pillow. The heads are made from marzipan which has been coloured with a tiny bit of  food colour (paprika  is perfect for a skin tone). Use a very thin paintbrush to add the colouring of the eyes, eye brows mouth and cheeks. A tiny ball of marzipan is used to create a nose.

 Fake a body

Roll a sausage shaped piece of marzipan for the body. Taper it in at the end where the feet would be. Secure it to the bed.

Roll out a piece of coloured sugarpaste for the blanket. Leave it long enough that it will drape over the edges of the bed. Make sure each little lady is well tucked in up to her neck.

 Paint on the face and ice the hair

Colour royal icing to add the hair. Then all that’s left to do is add the names on each cake board and the ‘Happy Birthday’ on the largest cake board.

While I was finishing this cake Beau and Darcey made some accessories that you would find in their bedroom. They made books, hats and a dolls house that opens up. Beau even made a train complete with track which they positioned all over the cakes.

In all the cake was a big success. I think all the guests liked it that they could take home their own Mini Me! Beau obviously had a great time as you can see below.

Enjoy!

How to make a football shirt cake

How to make a Football shirt cake

To date, I have been asked to make three football shirt cakes and I think it will always be a popular design. Each one has been for a different team and each one has been a new challenge.

So far I have always used a Madera cake (recipe here) for this shape and I bake the cake in a rectangular tin. If you don’t have one tin large enough you can always use two square tins, but this makes it quite tricky when you need to lift the cake onto the board.

The first time I made this design (the Manchester United one) I shaped it so there was a big gap between the sleeve and the body and as I was so inexperienced the icing tore under the arm leaving gaps on both sides. I also didn’t roll the icing out thick enough – It took me a long time to master this trick. Icing should always be around 5mm thick before you even think about lifting it up over a cake. That way there will be plenty of give and it will stretch without tearing much more easily. After three failed attempts I had to patch the holes with more icing which didn’t look great! That’s when I came up with the idea to have a scarf over the cake to disguise any holes, but it has now become a feature. Don’t you love it when a great idea comes out of a huge disaster?




 

Since that first cake I have always made sure that the arms of the shirt are positioned close to the body so there are no awkward crevices to fill and no torn icing!.

Before I start a football shirt cake I always check out the colours and the logos on the shirt. If they really can’t be easily reproduced with icing I have them printed onto sugar paper with edible ink. Most cake decorating shops will do this for you for a small charge but you can email on line companies too, but that takes a lot longer! The print outs come on a sheet of edible paper and you have to cut out the badge carefully with scissors and then dampen the back. As it’s sugar paper it will become very sticky so it’s easy to position.

You will need:

A covered cake board

A Madeira Cake

Football shirt template cut from paper (see here)

Jam

Buttercream

Palet knife

Bread knife

sugarpaste / roll out icing

Icing smoothers

Letter/ number cutters

A damp sponge

To make the cake

Make a template by cutting a piece of paper to the same size as your cake tin. Shape the shoulders and neck then cut out the sides to reveal the sleeves. Make sure you don’t make the shape too intricate. Keep it simple.

Cut the cake in half  through the middle and add the butter-cream and jam with a spatula. I always use seedless raspberry jam(heated up for a minute in the microwave to make it runny). Sandwich the two sides together and make sure that the cake is nice and flat.

Place the template on the cake and cut away the excess with a bread knife. I always put the first layer of icing on the cake before I put it on the cakeboard, that way I make less marks on the board. Do this by smearing a small layer of buttercream over the entire cake. Roll out the shirt coloured icing so that it will cover the length and sides as well as the width and sides of the cake with a little to spare. Lift the icing carefully – supporting it from underneath. When you lift up icing it stretches- a lot!- so the more you support it the better it will look on the cake.

Once you have positioned the icing over the cake use a smoother to smooth all the areas. Use the cusp of your hands to do any corners and edges. Cut away the excess icing and neaten with a flat smoother.

Secure the cake on the cake board with a little royal icing. Keep in mind where you want the scarf or writing to go so there is plenty of space.

Next add the sleeves. I rolled out the black icing, laid it gently over the cake then marked where it needed to be cut and shaped it on a cutting board. That way I wouldn’t mark the white icing or cut into the cake by accident. I used a damp sponge to make the icing stick in place.

Add any sleeve details and badges or logos to the front of the shirt. You don’t have to copy the real shirt exactly. The colour of a shirt is a big giveaway so making it personal with the age as the number on the shirt and the name on the front always seems to go down well.

Cut a narrow strip and create a neck on the shirt.

I cut out the numbers and names from thin icing sugar or floral paste with cutters and let them dry for 1o minutes so that they are easier to handle and don’t loose their shape. If the icing gets stuck inside the cutters rub a little icing sugar inside. If there is a really difficult number/letter I usually cut it twice in one go. That way I can press them both out at the same time with a dry paint brush and only the top shape is damaged and dented, leaving the one on the bottom in perfect shape! 

Position the name and age/team number on the front with either a damp sponge or with edible glue

To make the scarf I make the stripes and roll them flat so they stick together. For the tassels cut a small square of icing the same width as the scarf. Use a sharp knife to cut lines in the square from a few mm from the top. Lift up as you cut each strand as this makes the tassels look like they have been ruffled. Position each tassle underneath the end of the scarf.

Use a small amount of royal icing to secure the scarf to the cake.

And there you have it. A football shirt cake.

Enjoy!

How to make a Hello Kitty cake

 My youngest daughter Darcey was 5 last week and after changing her mind about 100 times she finally decided upon a Hello Kitty cake for her party.  It was a really easy and straight forward cake to decorate. I used a Madeira cake (recipe here) as always and this time made a square cake to cut the shape from.

First I cut out a piece of paper to the same dimmensions as the cake tin and then drew the shape of the head to fit as big as possible. Then I cut out the pattern.

Lay the pattern over the cake and make any necessary adjustments now.

Cut away the cake (this is always a great part as you can test the cake!

I smooth the very edges of the cake so that it has a softer look once iced. I do this very gently with the palm of my hand, but you can use a really sharp knife.

Once shaped cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream

Roll out a piece of sugar paste that will cover the whole cake and down the sides. Smooth it with your palms and then a smoother tool then position the cake on the cake board or plate with a little royal icing. 

Roll out some black sugar paste and cut out two eyes. Use a small amount of icing rolled into a ball for the nose. I used yellow but was reliable informed by Beau (my 7 year old) the next morning that I should have used pink!  I corrected it after these pictures were taken! 

The whiskers are black sugar paste that has been rolled out into thin strips and left to dry over night so that they can hold their shape and protrude out over the edge of the cake. 

I made the bow with two oval pieces of pink icing. Each piece is folded in half and bunched up in the middle. I then positioned a ball of pink sugar paste on top where the two ‘ovals’ meet, hiding the join. Stick it to the cake with a little royal icing. Roll up some baking paper and slip a piece into each bow to hold it a little open allowing it to dry in that position. You can remove it after a few hours. I leave it over night.

Lastly I added the writing (which I am still perfecting!) and finished off with a little flower as Darcey is a proper girly girl! 

Happy Birthday Darcey Doodles! We love you!

It’s Melissa and Luke’s birthdays!

Baking birthday cakes is the most fun!

Melissa is my lovely sister in law (you honestly will never meet a more generous person in your life – (and she’s a nurse too!) and it’s her birthday. It just so happens to be her fiancé, Luke’s birthday just a few days earlier and as it was his 30th Melissa asked me to make a cake for him. How could I refuse?  Milly asked me to make him a star themed cake (as he’s a star) which was really cute. But I couldn’t make a cake for Luke and not for Melissa, so I did a mini one for her too!

Luke’s cake

For starters, Luke is a West Ham football supporter, so the colours of the cake are the team’s colours.

I think it works really well. Milly originally asked me to make a chocolate cake but after a random comment about his favourite cake the week before his birthday, she quickly asked me to change it so under all that icing is a really moist Carrot cake and the frosting is cream cheese frosting which is just perfect! Jane Curran the Food Editor on Woman & Home always said that the only way to get cream cheese frosting just right is to use full fat Philadelphia. Use anything else and it will be too runny! So that’s what I did! I couldn’t leave the off cuts alone. Don’t you just love it when you have to level a domed cake once it’s been baked and can eat it all up?

Melissa’s cake

For Milly, I knew it had to be a chocolate cake. I wanted to do something different so I made my favourite devils chocolate cake, but filled it with a raspberry butter cream. The flavouring came from a raspberry flavoured icing sugar from Squires.co.uk. It worked well with the chocolate cake, but I think it could have done with being a little bit pinker, but as the flavouring was all natural there was no point in adding food colourings, and it tasted great!

The design was simple. It was a cake in the shape of a err well cake!, complete with candles made from icing. I wish I had made the candles a few days earlier as they were a bit difficult to make and handle on the same day. The icing loosely covered the top of the cake to look like a dripping butter cream then the wording was added. The candles were then inserted and that was that.

Both Melissa and Luke loved their cakes. And I loved making them!

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