USA Birthday Cake
Cakes gone by....

Cake of America

Baking the USAUSA Birthday 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.

USA Birthday 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’.

USA Birthday 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. 


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Interview with the experts: Lucy Young

Mary Berry and the best butter tip ever!

The Painted cake by Natasha Collins

Cakes in Bloom: Peggy Porschen book review

Cook Book review: Leiths How to Cook

The Cake Decorating Bible – book review

‘JERUSALEM’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi book review

The Busy Girls Guide To Cake Decorating – Book Review

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EmmaMT from

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  1. Hi Emma
    I’m fascinated by the thought of printing images onto sugar paper. Do you have a machine yourself or did you have to go to a specialist or cake supply shop? When you’re making lots of buttercream does it whip up with a really smooth finish? Mine always has some sugar grittiness in it no matter how long I mix it or what the quantity is.

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Hi Ruthie,

      I’m really sorry I replied to your first comment and didn’t press ‘send’! I thought it was strange to get the same question twice in such a short space of time! Anyway here is my original response…

      When I make buttercream I always make sure the butter is at room temperature. It needs to be really soft. I then sieve the icing sugar (always sieve any dry ingredient whether making buttercream or a cake as it will give a much better result) then I add a little vanilla essence and milk to make it softer if necessary. I use my kitchenaid to mix it all up and leave it going for about 3-4 minutes as that makes the buttercream really light and fluffy.

      My buttercream always starts out with a base of:
      250g butter
      500g icing sugar
      1 tsp vanilla essence
      1 tbsp milk

      You can add more or less icing sugar depending on your taste.

      I email a page with my pictures on to my local cake decorating shop. They have a printer which is like one you would have at home except it is filled with edible ink and sugarpaper. You get a print out and then have to cut out the shapes. All you have to do is slightly dampen the back and it sticks to the sugarpaste on your cake. It makes life a whole lot easier (especially when it comes to football shirts) My local cake decorating shop charges around £7 for an A4 and £4 for A5. Money well spent I say! Do a google search to find you nearest cake shop. They are bound to do it. Or search the internet. There are lots of places that do it but then you have to pay a delivery charge on top.

      I hope that helps


      I hope that helps.

  2. hi Emma. do you have a recipe for vanilla cupcakes and chocolate ones. i have tried out a few and they are quite heavy on the palette. thank you

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      I have a chocolate cupcake recipe coming next week.

      Great timing


  3. I was loving this post anyway, then you through in a Glee reference, and now I actually think I love you 😉 Great work!

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      He he he! XX

  4. igetakickoutofyou says:

    Gorgeous as always! Cx

  5. Amazing cake and response. Your girls have great taste and ethics x

  6. Fab cake! Love how you responded to your girls. Will definitely remember that when my kids ask me which I am sure they will

    1. EmmaMT from says:


  7. Gill Waugh says:

    I love this cake. Thank you for your desciption of how you made it-very clever! Gill x

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