Category: Cakes gone by….

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

 

How to make a quick Ice cream splat cake

How to make a quick Ice cream splat cakeGenoise birthday cake

It’s that time of year again. That time when your daughter who has a summer holiday birthday get’s three birthday celebrations and three cakes! One on the actual day, one with family and one with her friends! I’m shattered just thinking about it now! This has to be the last year we do it like this!

This year I decided to keep it simple whilst trying out a new recipe for the friends party. I’ve heard genoise cake mentioned loads on The Great British Bake off (along with creme pat!) and thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.

Oh my goodness!

This has to be the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious cake I have ever made. It does take a bit of faffing – what with the heating up of the eggs and all that whisking but it is WELL worth the effort. The cake is so soft it literally crumbles in your hand when you pick it up so be warned – handle with care!

I teamed it with a chocolate ganache buttercream which I made with soya cream leftover from the family party. I have to say that soya cream is doubly creamy! Give it a go. You won’t regret it.

The ice cream splat

Decorating this cake literally took 10 minutes and if I made this kind of design again I would probably make a Madeira cake so I could cover the whole cake with sugar paste and make the dribbling ice cream a bit prettier from sugarpaste too. This cake would never have taken the weight of a sugar paste coating. It would have gone completely splat – more than the ice cream did!

The kids literally went “Wow’ when they saw it and that’s what it’s all about for me. The smiles on their faces – especially Darcey’s who helped me at each step of the way – mini photographer/baker/blogger in the making that one.

Print this recipe 

Chocolate Genoise cake

  • 60g butter
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 60g cocoa powder

Chocolate ganache buttercream

  • (this quantity is enough to fill and cover the cake in ganache)
  • 150g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 50g cream (double or single depending on how thick you want it)
  • 50-100g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces

To bake the cake

  1. Grease and line four 8” cake tins with silicon paper (I use sunflower oil to grease my tins as the edges of the cake stay soft and less crumbly). Preheat your oven to 170ºC (Fan oven150ºC)
  2. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and combine completely. Set yo one side.
  3. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it has melted. Keep stirring it until it becomes a deep brown colour. This adds to the flavour of the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the egg and sugar. Whisk by hand until the mix warms up. You don’t want to cook the mixture – just warm it.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat. You now need to whisk the egg and sugar mixture till it doubles or triples in size. By warming the eggs you are encouraging the air in them to expand. This will take around five minutes so it’s a good idea to use a stand mixer and let it do it’s stuff.
  6. Once it doesn’t look like it can expand anymore drizzle the melted butter into the bowl while the whisk is still going.
  7. Sieve the flour and cocoa onto the mixture – don’t be tempted to just tip all the dry ingredients in over the egg mix as it will be heavy and will burst all the air bubbles you’ve just created. Without the air bubbles the cake will be heavy. The air bubbles in the egg are the cake’s raising agent. Slowly and carefully fold the flour and cocoa powder into the mix till just combined. It’s important not to over mix.
  8. Spoon the cake mix evenly into the cake tins and smooth with the back of a spoon. I made one cake tin a smaller amount than the others as it was going to be made into a giant cake pop.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides come away from the tin. The cake will instantly bounce back when pressed lightly in the centre with a finger.
  10. This cake is very delicate so leave it to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

To make the chocolate ganache buttercream

  1. Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until just starting to bubble then remove from the heat.
  3. Immediately place the chocolate pieces into the cream and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the chocolate has cooled add it to the buttercream and whisk.
  5. Try not to eat it on a spoon from the bowl!

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

How to make the Ice cream cake

  1. Layer up three layers of cake with chocolate ganache.
  2. Take the small layer of cake and crumble it into a bowl . Add a small dollop of ganache and mix it up until it forms a ball. Roll it up in your hands and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
  3. Make up some royal icing in your choice of colour and put it in a piping bag. Use a little royal icing to position the cake pop on the top centralarea of the cake.
  4. Pipe the icing over the top of the cake pop and let it dribble down over the cake.

Darcey birthday cake

5. Don’t go too mad as the icing will keep dripping once you stop. I let it just reach the sides of the cake.

6. Place a trimmed wooden skewer into the cake pop at an angle. Push it in far enough that the ice cream cone will sit at an angle and won’t slip down.

7. Place the cone over the stick and press into the cake pop. Leave to set.

Happy 9th Birthday Darcey Doodles. We love you so

Mamma x

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

Cake of America

Baking the USAMap of America cake

This is a cake I made over two years ago. It was huge as it was intended for a big 50th birthday party and it needed to feed all the guests. I delivered it into London on the day of the party and remember fretting the whole way there that it would break, move or something would fall off. It didn’t but I have since learnt never to deliver a cake without a box of cake decorating tools and an icing bag ready to ‘re-stick’ anything that falls off (legs on models springs to mind!) It’s also a good idea to pack out the boot of your car with cushions so the cake box can’t slide around.

Not so easy peasy lemon squeezy

This is the largest lemon cake I have ever made. The cake board was 26″ wide and the cake had to be baked in two goes as I didn’t have a tin large enough to do it in one go! In the end it worked out perfectly as all the parts of the map that jot out from the main body of land could be made from one cake and attached to a really large rectangular cake. I then used tons of buttercream to seamlessly blend all the cake parts without any separation lines showing.

Covering this cake in sugarpaste was really difficult. I hadn’t had all that much experience in getting it into awkward nooks and crannies and it was huge. In the end I just had to go for it and do my best.

 

Map of America cake

The birthday boy and his partner were off on a holiday to America to celebrate his 50th. I found out where they were going and what he was into so I could really personalise the cake. They planned to hire a car and as he liked music I found sheet music by some of his favorite artists and had mini versions printed onto sugar paper. I cut these out and placed them on very thin sugarpaste then positioned them on a rolling pin to dry out so they would look like they had flown out of the car on the road as they vroomed around. I also had the Las Vegas sign put onto sugarpaper too. I made the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, the Hollywood hills and sign and the Las Vegas sign along with the Cadillac and both men driving in the car and the road sign just had to say ’50’.

Map of America cake

I was really happy with this cake. Normally, I use a pre-coloured green sugarpaste  for grass but I softened the colours on this cake and I think it worked well. 

Life lessons with a cake

Whenever I make a cake I always get my girls to have a look before it’s delivered. It’s the official sign of approval as you know how honest kids are! I showed it to the 7-year-old Beau who asked “Why are there two men in the car?” I replied without even thinking  “Because it’s Cliff’s boyfriend’s birthday”  Then I realised what I had said and waited for the questions to come. “His boyfriend?” she asked. Now, I hadn’t really given explaining this topic much thought before. After all Beau was only 7 and Darcey 4 and we had only just covered the birds and the bees!  This was a question I wasn’t ready for so I just said. “Yep. His boyfriend. Some boys like boys, some girls like girls, everyone likes everyone”. “Oh” she said. “Like Kurt in Glee?” “Exactly”. I said. And that was that. Sometimes my girls really surprise me. She just got it. No more questions. I love that. 

EmmaMT

Disco birthday cake

Jo's 18th Birthday disco cakeThis is the cake I made for the lovely Jo’s 18th birthday last month.

When we sat down to chat about the design we talked about what she’s into. She’s really musical and likes to go out clubbing and her party had a black, white and red theme so this is the design I came up with.

 

18th Birthday cake

Jo wanted the cake to be stacked with music notes on the top layer with dancers on the bottom tier. I decided that the best way to get uniformed notes was to get a patchwork cutter. Luckily I found this disco themed one with both dancers and music notes in the set. Result!

These Disco Dancers –Patchwork Cutters are  available from Amazon 

 

18th Birthday cake

The ’18’ on the top was easy to position. The rest… not so much!
18th Birthday cake

I used sugarpaste to cut out the decorations but really should have used flower paste as it’s firmer and easier to handle. I had to cut out the notes and dancers and leave them for 10 minutes to dry and harden up enough to be handled.

18th Birthday cake

The dancers! Well, let’s just say they tried to dance right off the cake! I found that every time I tried to pick them up they moved in a different direction or broke. In the end I cut them out onto small sheets of silicon paper and dampened them a little on the back then positioned the bottom of the paper against the cake and gently stood the dancers up, pressing from the bottom up. That did the trick!

I know from experience that once you mark a white cake with a black decoration it’s really hard to clean it up. For some reason black sugarpaste is just super sticky – way more than any other pre-coloured sugarpaste.

 

I was really happy with how this cake turned out. I like the way the silhouette of the dancers sits over the thick ribbon. I will definitely be using that technique again.

 

EmmaMT

Country Homes & Interiors and the Easter cake

Country Homes & Interiors cakeAs a part time cake decorator/blogger, full time interior stylist and full on mum I am always busy. This week has been mental!

  • To start with I have been organising a big, three day Christmas shoot for next week (Yes I did say the ‘C’ word and yes I know it’s March!!!)
  • I’ve been playing around with a Red velvet cupcake recipe for a friends, daughter’s birthday which were very chocolatey and not very red – but were delish and disappeared in record time! I didn’t even get a photo of them!
  • And I’ve been playing about with this white chocolate mud cake recipe – which on the first attempt came out really solid and very heavy (and yes I did still eat it!)
  • But the highlight of my week has to be the fact that one of my cakes has appeared in print!

Easter in November

Back in November when most people are thinking about Christmas I was in full on Easter mode -the world of magazines really is a crazy one! My friend Claire who is the Assistant Editor in Design at Country Homes and Interiors magazine asked if I would make a cake for one of their shoots. It was a no brainer really! I gladly made the cake for the stylist (the very talented Carol Wortley Bishop – check out her beautiful work here) so that it fitted in with her shoot perfectly.  It was to be pale blue, covered in flowers and have little eggs dotted around. Carol  already had a cute little nest to sit on the top of the cake. It looked really sweet and I was bowled over when I saw the feature in the current issue (Page 64 of the April 2013 issue if you’re interested?). At this point I have to say a big thank you to my Dad for delivering it into London for me- Thanks Poopah.x

Country Homes & Interiors

So, now for sharing the recipe and decorating tips. My plan was always to talk through how I decorated the cake for the magazine and have an alternative option for anyone who didn’t want the full on iced version. I wanted the cakes to look beautiful and pretty and I planned the flowers to the point of obsession. Then with my crazy, busy schedule I didn’t get round to decorating the smaller cake when the girls were at school. That means one thing and one thing only. I get to have some help in the form of a 6 year old Darcey. That’s where I had to let go of my perfectionism and I just let her go with the flow. I really can’t resist a “Can I help?”from a little person.

I had already topped the cake with a circle of yellow sugarpaste and the flowers (learn how to make them here) were all dried and ready to add to the cake. Darcey decided that she would make a Daisy circle and when she ran out of Daisy’s she carried on with pink and white blossoms. In all I think she did a really great job. Not quite what I had in mind but it made her so happy I was happy too.

slice of mud cake

 

Recipe for White Chocolate Mud cake

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 300g good quality white chocolate (but you can swap it for milk or dark chocolate if you prefer)- broken up into small pieces
  • 270ml water
  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature and beaten
  • 1 tea spoon of vanilla essenceWhite Chocolate Mud cake

How to make the White Chocolate Mud cake

  1. Line a 9″ round baking tin (or 8″ square) and heat your oven to 160ºC ( 140ºC fan) 
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the chocolate. Once all melted add the water and stir away from the heat until it is all well combined. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a separate bowl measure the flour and sugar then add the chocolate mix, eggs and vanilla essence and mix until just combined. Make sure you don’t over mix it.
  4. Place the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1½ hours. The cake is done when it is a light golden colour, domed in the middle and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the tin.
  6. Decorate to your taste and enjoy!
  7. For instructions on how to create the flowers please check out this postWhite Chocolate Mud cake recipe

EmmaMT

 

How to make a Minecraft birthday cake

 

Minecraft Birthday cake

Have you heard of Minecraft? I hadn’t until recently. It’s a computer game that the boys in Beau’s class are really into. I went from being completely clueless to having two Minecraft cakes to make in as many weeks! I really didn’t know where to start with this cake. It needed to have loads of slices. When I make cakes for friends (especially Beau’s little friends) I like to create enough cake for the party guests AND  for the family to have some at home. Tim had the great idea of creating layers after I showed him screen grabs of  what the game looked like. Genius I thought.

How to make a Minecraft Birthday cake

Minecraft cake

 I started off by baking two Chocolate Madeira cakes (the large one was an 8″ and the small one was a 6″- I made double the recipe here and split it between the two tins)

Minecraft Birthday cake

The smaller cake was cut up so that I had two ‘L’ shaped cakes to create the steps. I think it’s probably a bit obvious where the two left over cake pieces went – yep straight onto my hips!

 

 

Minecraft Birthday cake

Check that the cakes sit nicely on top of each other. Too small and it will be hard to cover them, too big and the cake won’t be stepped enough.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Hopefully you will have covered your cake board with sugarpaste a week (or at least a few days) in advance.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Slice the large cake in two and fill with chocolate buttercream (the recipe for which is on this post). Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream then position the green rolled out sugarpaste over the cake. Smooth until as flat as is possible. Remove the excess sugarpaste and secure the cake on the cake board with a little royal icing.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Cover both the ‘L’ shaped pieces of cake by coating first in buttercream then sugarpaste. Don’t try and slice it in half to put buttercream in the centre. It’s very fiddly and messy and doesn’t work on such a small piece. The buttercream used to coat the cake and make the sugarpaste stick will moisten the cake enough.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Smooth the sugarpaste with a cake smoother and use a spoon to get into those awkward internal corners.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Position the larger of the ‘L’s onto the cake with Royal icing. Then repeat with the second ‘L’ shape.

Minecraft Birthday cake

To make the individual pixels squares – roll out the three shades of sugarpaste. If you do all three at the same time they will be relatively the same thickness.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Use a square cutter to press out lots and lots of squares all the same size. These are going to be the floor.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Secure each square pixel to the floor by dampening it with a paintbrush. Don’t use too much water as it will stain the cake. Dry off the excess water from the brush on the side of the pot first.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Add pixels on each level where there is a floor till you have done all three.

Minecraft Birthday cake

I tried to make the model of Mini Josh for the cake look like him and also look pixelated at the same time. I cut out cubes and rectangles in sugarpaste with the relevant cutters and used tooth picks in his legs and into his body to hold him secure. This also meant that once he had been made I could stand him up and push the tooth picks into a polystyrene fake cake and left him there leaning against box to dry for a while. (A couple of days- it’s a good idea to make the model when you cover the cake board) Minecraft Birthday cake

Use a little royal icing to secure the model to the cake. The toothpicks can only do so much.

Minecraft Birthday cake

Finally add your wording .

Minecraft Birthday cakeHey, Presto! One Minecraft cake!

enjoy! 

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