As I write this post (now last Saturday night) I have absolutely no internet connection. Nothing! Nada! Zip! Not a squat! And it’s not just my router that’s not working at home, my mobile is kerput too! So I have been web free for 5days. It’s at times like this that you realise how much you use the web, sit on facebook and miss your cake blog. Luckily, I have had plenty to keep me busy and away from my Mac.
Firstly I have made two life size snowmen for a Christmas press launch. They took hours and hours of paper mache, painting, covering in wadding and then covering in fake snow! Needless to say that when I got to the part of the week where I got to do baking I was happy!
The Rainbow cake
This cake was my birthday present for a very special little girl. She’s the daughter of my good friend Theoda and she’s too scrumptious for words! Theoda and I worked together on Woman and Home magazine and we shared one too many cupcakes, so I know how much she likes cake! She is also one of my biggest supporters of everything I do. ( Love you Fou!)
Anyway, when Theoda asked if I would make Dahlia’s 1st birthday cake I was honored. I mean I really wanted to make it but sometimes you have to wait to be asked – so that you don’t step on anyone’s toes. Theoda knew exactly what she wanted… It had to have Dahlia’s on the top- obviously as that’s her daughters name. I made these with small circle cutters and then squidged each piece into place with my finger, adding more and more petals in a circle, layering up as I went. I wished that I had seen the flowers from Theoda’s garden (below) as I would have created this style flower instead. How beautiful are these? You can see why Dahlia was given such a beautiful name.
A few years ago I made a mini wedding cake inspired by a Mich Turner cake with a bow on the front, which Theoda really liked, I recreated that on the front of the cake with ‘modern’ swags. At each swag was a button, holding it in place.
As you can see the cake board was a strong pink colour and was dotted with more buttons made from sugarpaste and it was finished off with a cute spot ribbon. Jane Means ribbons are my favorite. They’re the best around and she has such a great selection.
The pièce de résistance came when Theoda cut the first slice. Inside the tall cake were six layers of Madeira cake, each layer in a darker pink colour than the one below it. There was tons of buttercream inside, to keep it straight and in between each layer. It looked great when cut and whats more each slice could feed a small army. The cake was huge!
Things I learnt making this cake…
- Don’t add the food colouring to the cake mix and keep stirring it as you colour each layer. By the time you get to the strongest colour you’ll have bashed all the air out of the mix (which is what makes it rise) and it will end up being a heavy biscuit of a cake. Instead mix up all the ingredients apart from the flour and separate it into bowls for each layer. Then colour each bowl. Fold in the flour and bake straight away. That way you can see the exact colour difference in each cake and they will all rise and be light and fluffy and delicious.
- I did a crumb coating on this cake and used a cake ruler to ensure the sides were as straight and level as I could get them. I then did a top coat of buttercream and again leveled the sides and top with the straight edge. Pop the cake in the fridge in between each buttercream covering so it sets and is easier to handle.
- When covering a cake this tall keep your rolled out icing thicker than usual so it has enough give. I left mine at around 1cm thick. Take your time when covering the cake. Smooth the top first, then gently manipulate the sides, working your way down with your hands and then with a smoother. If you start to get a crease at the bottom gently lift the sugarpaste away from the bottom of the cake and smooth it down from the top again. If you do end up with creases use ribbon, flowers or button decorations to hide them. No one will ever know!
- I didn’t put a thin cake board in between the cake layers because I made this cake out of sponge which is a pretty ‘strong’ cake. If I had done more layers, or had used a softer more crumbly sponge I would have popped one under the middle layer with cake supports in the cakes underneath. This will stop the cake from sinking into itself or toppling over.
- Make the decorations a week in advance so that they set hard and can be handled. The bow was quite heavy once dry and was attached to the cake with royal icing. It had to be held in place for a minute or so till it was stuck.