Category: Birthday cakes

Darcey’s Owl Birthday cake

Darcey's Owl Birthday cake

So, here we are again. Darcey’s birthday! Eight already! Seriously when will she stop getting so big? I know she’ll never stop being cheeky. I mean just look at her weilding that knife. “I want to cut the cake right down the middle” she said. Most people say “Oh, I love the cake. I don’t want to cut it” But not my kids. Give them a knife nearly twice their size and they’ll chop right down through the head!Darcey's owl chopping cake

Darcey is mad keen on owls all of a sudden so it was a no brainer what cake she would want for her 8th Birthday sleepover party. The thing with having an August birthday is that nearly all of her friends were away on holiday when it was her party. Even Beau was at scout camp. This meant that the cake only needed to feed 4 little wrigglers.
Owl Birthday Cake

To start with we made the sky base for the stand. Darcey insisted on helping – which lasted for all of 10 minutes. We added some white balls of sugarpaste to the blue before rolling it out to create the clouds then positioned the sugarpaste onto the cake stand and cut it to fit.

TRay bake Madeira Cake

As we only needed a small cake I made a Madeira cake in a disposable tin (one of these fab ones from Lakeland) I knew I could cut out four circles to make the shape of the owl’s body. For the arms I turned the off cuts into crumbs and added a small amount of buttercream. Mixed it all together and made wings for the sides. The buttercream meant that the wings just stuck to the side of the body easily.

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I layered up the four circles of madeira cake with raspberry jam and buttercream then shaped them so they were smooth. A quick crumb coating then the arms were added.  The chocolate sugarpaste was rolled out and placed over the whole body. I smoothed it with my hands until it was neat, then removed the excess paste. Owl cake

To decorate the wings I cut out loads and loads of leaves from blue icing and layered them up – starting at the bottom and working my way up to the top. I did the same process for the body but here I used an oval cutter. The ears and beak came next then the eyes, eyelashes and flower. To finish off I created a blossom branch with flowers for the owl to stand on. A couple of yellow feet and she was done… in the nick of time!

Darcey was pretty happy with the end result but then again she knew she would be. She drew me a plan of exactly what she wanted the cake to look like and what colour each element was to be right down to the eye lashes and flower.

Darcey's owl drawing

Happy Birthday gorgeous, cheeky, sticky Darcey doodles. We love you so.

Love Mamma

aka EmmaMT

 

 

My very first ‘Free Cake For Kids’ cake

I was really excited earlier this week to be able to make my very first ‘Free Cakes For Kids‘ birthday cake. I’ve been wanting to make one for ages but the requests have all come in when I was either shooting or away or had another cake on the go – and let’s face it one cake at a time is probably best when you work elsewhere full time!

The cake request came in and the details I were given were that the little girl likes pink, butterflies and would love a heart shaped cake. So I set to!

I covered the cake board in light pink icing then cut out a piece of paper that mimiced the shape of the board. I have a heart shaped tin but it isn’t a great shape so I used it anyway and cut a better heart shape out of it. I did toy with the idea of making a square and round cake and cutting the round in half to make a heart shape but whatever way I tried it it just wouldn’t work out. It was either too big or had too much waste. My old heart shaped tin was perfect in the end and only gave a few off cuts (much to Beau’s disgust!) I then gave it a crumb coating.

FCFK1Now, all I needed to do was a second coat of buttercream to get a really good smooth base and then cover it in sugarpaste. I made the hearts and butterfly decorations the day before I made the cake so they had time to firm up enough to be handled without breaking.

FCFK4Once the cake was smooth and I had positioned it on the cake board I stuck on the heart shapes around the outer edge with Royal Icing. I then added the mini hearts and butterflies to the hearts and voila!

FCFK5

How cool is this ribbon that the head of Free Cakes For Kids Bromley had made up to go around our cake boards? Gives them a really professional look don’t you think? FCFK Ribbon

I delivered the cake on Monday and the feedback has been great but I have to say that whenever I deliver a cake and there’s a big smile it just makes my day!

If you want to join ‘Free Cakes For Kids‘ check out the website for your closest branch – they’re everywhere now.

EmmaMT

x

5 things I learnt making a Lego man birthday cake

Lego man birthday cakeSometimes cakes go wrong! Sometimes they go REALLY wrong and other times, if you’re lucky, you can get away with it. Like when it’s a cake for your 6 year old nephew!

Asher is mad on Lego and wanted a Lego Policeman birthday cake this year. “No problem” I said. Anything for the other man in my life. I thought. And then he gave me his little Lego policeman and I had to make it! What was I thinking? I was completely stumped. How was I going to get the proportions right? How would I make him stand up without falling over? There were endless questions and not all of them were answered.

How I made a Lego man birthday cake and where I went wrong

Lego man birthday cake1. The arms were too heavy

I started off with four Madeira cakes made using almond rather than vanilla essence (try it. You won’t go back) One square 6″ cake was for the legs and feet, one 5″ square cake for the body. One small 4″ pie tin  for the head and one loaf tin (half filled) for the arms. This was mistake number one! The arms didn’t need to be made from cake covered in buttercream and sugarpaste. They should have been thinner and made just of sugarpaste. That way they would have stuck to the side of the cake better.

 

Lego man birthday cake

Each cake was cut to size and shaped.

Lego man birthday cake

And was then covered in a buttercream crumb coating and then a top coating of buttercream which was smoothed as much as possible.

Lego man birthday cake

I thought that covering a square cake in sugarpaste when it was turned up onto one side was going to be impossible but it wasn’t too difficult. I made sure that the sugarpaste was really thick when it was rolled out so that when I picked it up to smooth it over the cake it moulded perfectly without cracking or tearing.

Lego man birthday cake Lego man birthday cake

Next the legs were covered in blue sugarpaste. I made a neat line in the cake for the crease in the trousers.

Lego man birthday cake

2. Where’s the support? 

I used one plastic dowel to support the top half of the cake and keep him upright – which didn’t actually work! I thought that if the dowel went from the cake board right up to his head then that would be enough to keep him sitting – not slouching. It didn’t work!

What I should have done was placed a thin cake board underneath the body part of the cake and supported him from underneath in the legs. Then had another small cakeboard under the head cake and supported through the body. Cake is heavy, especially when there’s a ton of sugarpaste on top.

Lego man birthday cake

The head was cut to size and shaped then the face was added.

Lego man birthday cake

PC Legoman is a  cheeky chappy complete with stublble.

Lego man birthday cake

3. I added stubble

Now I wanted to make the little Lego figure’s face as close to the one Asher had given to me to copy. I made the eyes out of black and white sugarpaste and then used black food colour gel on a dry paint brush to create the stubble. In hindsight a 6 year old doesn’t really need stubble on his birthday cake and it just made the cake look a bit dirty.

Lego man birthday cake

4. Too much hair makes your cake top heavy!

I used a ton of black sugarpaste to make the hair and although it looked good when I finished it was so heavy that it weighed down the rest of the cake making it impossible for the Lego man to stay upright. What I should have done was to leave as much cake on the top of the head and add as little black sugarpaste as possible. This is the one time you want the cake to dome!

After I attached the arms and head I had the cake resting against a food box. It was supposed to support the cake just while the arms were ‘sticking’. I turned my back for literally a minute and when I turned back again he had fallen backwards, leaning right on the box causing a massive crease all the way across the back of the cake. To make matters worse the arms just wouldn’t stay on. I gently rubbed the back sugarpaste to blend the crease in but it was just too deep. I had to leave it.

 

Lego man birthday cake

5. The hands weren’t quite right. 

I wished I had made the hands well in advance so they were hardened and stayed in shape but I didn’t have the time with this cake so, I had to make them on the day. In future when I make a Lego man cake (because I am not beaten yet!) I will make the arms and hands in advance when I cover the cake board so that they are really firm and I can place cocktail sticks in them to attach them to the  cake with sugarpaste.

Lego man birthday cake

All I can say is that Asher liked the cake and at the end of the day (when PC Lego man did literally topple over!) that’s all that matters.

Happy Birthday Asher. I love you. xx

 

EmmaMT

How to make a penguin birthday cake

How to make a Penguin cake

Back in November Beau celebrated her 10th Birthday. My kids usually know what cake they want for their birthdays. Well, they know for about 10 minutes and then they change their minds about 100 times!  But this year it was all about the penguin with Beau. I have absolutely no idea where this new obsession came from but all I do know is that we now have a cushion (half made but I’m working on it), mittens, a onesie and a cuddle cushion to name just a few of the recent penguin additions to our house.

Penguin cake drawing

Beau has been very creative and independent from a very young age and this year she gave me a drawing of exactly what she wanted her Penguin birthday cake to look like – complete with goldfish and bows in the hair. I love the little comments she put on there and that she even included what she wanted the board to look like and where to position the penguin’s feet! I think I’m going to be having bigger challenges as the years go on… or maybe she’ll be making her own cakes soon!

How to make a penguin cake How to make a Penguin cake

Beau decided that she wanted the actual cake to be “sky blue”. That was until I added blue food colour to a yellow cake mix and ended up with a green cake! Not to worry. It still looked good. I started off by baking three Madeira cakes in  4, 6 and 7” round cake tin. I loosely stacked them to check that the basic shape was going to work then I levelled the bottom two cakes and left the top one rounded for the head. I filled the cakes with raspberry jam and buttercream and placed a plastic food dowel through the whole cake to add stability.

How to make a Penguin cake

The next step was to cover the cake in a crumb coating of buttercream, pop it in the fridge (yes I had to remove shelves from the fridge) to firm up. Then I gave the cake a top coating of buttercream which I smoothed as best I could.

How to make a Penguin cake

Black sugarpaste is notoriously sticky but the plus side is that it is really easy to knead and roll out. It does tend to stretch and tear easily so try to keep the thickness of the sugarpaste 5mm or more. To cover the cake carefully lift the rolled out sugarpaste over the penguin. Smooth the top of the head first then smooth down the sides.

How to make a Penguin cake

As long as the sugarpaste is thick enough you’ll be able to gently ease the sugarpaste around the neck area in (when you do this it looks like your strangling the penguin) Move your hands around it’s neck till you have a good definition between the head and the body. Smooth all over and remove the excess at the bottom.

How to make a Penguin cake

I wanted the cake board (or cake stand in this case) to look like an iceberg sitting on some choppy water so I rolled out some really thick blue sugarpaste then positioned it over the cake stand and poked my fingers into it- carefully so that I didn’t go through to the stand.  I then rolled out some white icing and softened the edges with my fingers.

How to make a Penguin cake

To stick the cake in place I used a little royal icing o the iceberg then position the penguin in place.
How to make a Penguin cake

I added a pretty pink bow to the top of the head with royal icing.
How to make a Penguin cake

Next were the wings and then the feet and beak – all made from sugarpaste. Make sure the feet sit underneat the tummy. How to make a Penguin cake

The white tummy was added next. Be sure not to roll the white sugarpaste out too thinly or the black tummy will show through. How to make a Penguin cake

To make the eyes I used three circle cutters. It’s amazing what expressions you can get with a strategically placed white dot! How to make a Penguin cake The end result? A very happy Beau at her sleepover party. When this picture was taken she was in fits of laughter and didn’t want anyone to cut the cake up. Then I gave her a big knife to slice it up and it didn’t last very long at all.

 

EmmaMT

 

How to make a number 7 birthday cake

How to make a number 7 cake

On Thursday it was Darcey’s birthday and what with one thing and another I had to make her cake in one evening! The day before I had finished off decorating a friends wedding cake which had to be driven to Poland. Can you imagine how stressful it is to make a friends wedding cake let alone make sure that it can survive a 12 hour drive! I was mega stressed out to say the least. I boxed it all up in double boxes. Loads of brown tape and tissue paper so it couldn’t move. The poor bride only got to see photos of it as I wanted to make sure it was really safe and bump/ swerve/brake proof.

I learnt a lot from that wedding cake including how to get the right ingredients for different size cake tins. (I’ll be sharing that with you soon). So I luckily had a 10″ cake that I didn’t use for the wedding cake sitting around. It wasn’t very deep, only 2″, so I decided to use it for Darcey’s cake and keep it simple and make her a ‘7’. To be honest I was too shattered to do anything else – even though Tim said I should make her a Mike from Monsters University. Finishing decorating at 1am, 1am and 2am for the last three nights in a row was too much me!

How to make a number 7 cake 

My girls are pretty lucky. They get to celebrate their birthdays two or three times each year. Once on their birthday, once with the family and once with their friends at their birthday party. This cake was for just the four of us to take with to a birthday dinner meal so it wasn’t supposed to be that big but a 10″ cake!!! I couldn’t resist.

How to make a number 7 cake

I started with a 10″ Madeira cake which I levelled off. I didn’t want to fill it with buttercream so I did what my mum always does with marzipan (see below) I cut out a piece of paper to the same size as the cake then cut it into a ‘7’ template.

How to make a number 7 cake

Carefully I cut out the shape making sure that I kept the knife straight. I smoothed the top corner edges with my fingers.

How to make a number 7 cake

Next I heated up some raspberry jam in the microwave until it was runny and covered the whole cake with it. I was pretty annoyed that I picked up a jam with seeds in but it didn’t seem to matter. The cake then had to be left till the jam had cooled down.

How to make a number 7 cake

The cake was covered in a layer of marzipan. This is how my mum covers her birthday cakes. The combination on jam, marzipan and finally icing is just perfect. Most people want a layer of buttercream but we aren’t keen on it so much. The family tradition is much better!

The marzipan is rolled out between two spacers then is laid over the jam covered cake. It’s important not to let the marzipan get too thin as you wont have enough scope to ease it into the nooks and crannies of the shaped cake.

Smooth the top first, then work your way around the edges. I use my hands to get it all in place before I use a smoother. Marzipan is pretty sticky stuff so if you’re having difficulties lightly sprinkle icing sugar on your hands.
How to make a number 7 cake

Gently ease the marzipan into the crook of the 7. This is where it can easily tear if you have rolled it out too thin. If it doesn’t feel like it will fit, lift up the excess that is on the flat in front of the crook and gently move it inwards. This prevents the pulling action over the cake and uses up some of the excess that you will be cutting away anyway.

How to make a number 7 cake

Make sure the marzipan is secured against the cake right down to the cake board.

How to make a number 7 cake

Smooth with a smoother and remove the excess marzipan. Tuck any loose bits under the cake with a side scraper.

How to make a number 7 cake

Now you need to repeat the whole process for the sugarpaste. Give your marzipaned cake a brush with cooled boiled water so that the sugarpaste will stick to it. Roll out the sugarpaste and place over the cake, smoothing as you did with the marzipan.

How to make a number 7 cake

Rather than add ribbon to this cake I decided to make it really bright and colourful. I made balls from sugarpaste which I wanted to go all the way around the cake. To make sure that they were all the same size I rolled out the sugarpaste between two spacers and used a round cutter to create pieces that were exactly the same. I then rolled them into balls and left them to air dry for a bit.

How to make a number 7 cake

The balls were secured onto the cake board with a little royal icing.

How to make a number 7 cake

I used these plunger letter tappits to make the wording. I’ve never been very successful with them before so I was really pleased when I got them to work. I got the plungers tappits at the Cake and Bake show a few years ago and I can’t find them on line anywhere! I’ll keep looking though as they are a great tool and I’d love to share them with you guys.

I positioned the wording with a little royal icing and then made the ‘7’ with some dots on to follow the theme.

How to make a number 7 cake

So, there you have it. Darcey’s number 7 cake. We went to Zizzi’s pizza for dinner. It was her choice and it took her ages to decide. She made up this elaborate way to decide where we would go. We all had to write down four places we wanted to go and put a number 1-4 on each one depending on our first choice. She then got all the number ones together and it basically got very confusing! But what she wanted to do was choose somewhere that we all wanted to go, even though we had said as it’s her birthday it’s her choice. She’s a very caring little monkey. How to make a number 7 cake

Happy Birthday Doodles. We love you so.

xxxxx

 

How to make a sprinkle cake

Dahlia 2nd birthday cake

So following on from my My top 5 cake disaster tips! Here’s how I made the sprinkle cake before disaster struck!

I wanted the cake to be nice and tall. As it was for Dahlia’s 2nd birthday and she is a pretty, girly little thing,  it had to be pink.  I made four 8″ Madeira cakes to stack with raspberry jam and coloured buttercream. I also wanted it to be a sprinkle cake on the inside too, so I added some sprinkles to the cake mix just before they went into the oven. It didn’t really work out as I had planned. I put in 55g (which is one entire pot) but they didn’t really show up very well when the cake was cut. I think next time I will put in 110g so it’s super colourful inside. The good thing about adding sprinkles to the cake mix is that they are sugar so they just melt into the sponge.

 

The Madeira cake recipe 

(Makes four  8″ round cakes)

For the cakes

  • 150g butter – at room temperature
  • 150g margarine ( I use Flora)
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 6 eggs (large and at room temperature. Lightly whisked)
  • 450g Plain flour – sieved
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp hot water
  • 50-100g sprinkles
  1. Grease and line your baking tins. If you need to bake in two goes ( 2 cake layers at a time) only mix up enough ingredients to bake two cakes. Don’t have cake mix sitting around waiting for the first cake tins be become free. The cake mix will lose air and the cakes won’t rise as much as they should. 
  2. Heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC Fan)
  3. Mix the butter and margarine together well then add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. This will take 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg a little at a time until it’s combined. If it starts to curdle add a spoonful of the flour.
  5. Add the vanilla essence.
  6. Add the flour (with the baking powder) in three batches alternating with the hot water. I’ve just discovered this neat little trick. It makes the cakes more moist and they will have fewer holes in the sponge compared to adding all the flour then all the water. Add sprinkles and mix.
  7. Pour cake mix into each cake tin. In order to keep the cakes the same depth once baked aim for 350g of cake mix in each tin.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake comes away from the sides and a light press in the centre of the cake springs back instantly.
  9. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. If storing overnight, once cool wrap your cakes in clingfilm but don’t stack them directly on top of each other as they may stick together.

 

For the buttercream decorations

  • ½ Jar of seedless raspberry jam
  • 500g butter- at room temperature (President butter tastes best)
  • 1kg icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • pink food colour
  • sprinkles to scatter – (I used around  100-150g)
  1. Place the butter in a mixing bowl then sieve the icing sugar over the top. I place a tea towel carefully over the mixer (make sure it is safe guys!) so that the puffs of icing sugar don’t coat my whole kitchen. Once it’s combined add the vanilla essence and mix again. If it’s too thick you can add a little milk to soften it. 
  2. Add a little pink food colouring at a time till you get the desired colour

Decorating the Sprinkle cake 

Sprinkle birthday cake

Heat up the raspberry jam in a microwaveable dish for a few seconds at a time until it is nice and runny.  Use a silicon pastry brush to cover the whole of the first layer of cake. Leave the cake to cool a bit – otherwise it will melt the buttercream and your next layer will slide off.

Take the second cake layer and smoother it with buttercream then position it buttercream side down over the jam. Repeat until you have done all layers.

Sprinkle birthday cake

Give the whole cake a crumb coat. This is the first coating of buttercream which seals in any crumbs in and hides any lines in the cake lauers. It doesn’t have to be perfect but the neater it is now the better your top coat will be. I didn’t cover the top as I was going to roll the cake in sprinkles if I didn’t like the initial effect and I would have needed to handle the top if that was the case.

Pop the cake in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

 

Sprinkle birthday cake

Give the cake a second ‘top coat’ of buttercream. This is the one that you want to be as straight and smooth as possible. I use a spatula to add the buttercream then use a side scraper to make sure it’s straight.

 

Sprinkle birthday cake

A smoother is the perfect tool to drag around the cake to get a smooth finish.

 

Sprinkle birthday cake

I put the cake on a cakestand (because I am crazy- if you haven’t read why you can do so here!)  And prepared to add the sprinkles. You need to add them while the cake is still freshly buttercreamed so they stick well. The way this cake looks is how I imagined it turn out, but if it all went wrong then I planned to roll the whole cake in sprinkles to coat the whole thing. For that I would have needed to hold the top and bottom of the cake- hence I didn’t buttercream the top till the very end.

Sprinkle birthday cake

To add the sprinkles I placed the cakestand over a tray and poured the sprinkles onto the bottom edge. I then threw small handfuls at the sides so there were just a few all over the cake. When I was happy with the look – and I had forced Darcey to stop throwing sprinkles all over the place and at my cake) I coated the top.

 

Sprinkle birthday cake

To make a clear number 2 I placed the largest cookie cutter I had in the centre then carefully poured some sprinkles inside. I used a decorators paintbrush to press them down so they stuck in place when the cutter was lifted off.

 

SPRINKLE BIRTHDAY CAKE

 

The last thing to do was to remove any loose sprinkles from the cakestand and try to deliver it. Try being the word!

 

EmmaMT 

 

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