Colin’s Painted Cake
This was my first attempt at paining a cake. It was one of those ‘I have a great idea for a cake for grandad Colin but I don’t have lots of time to do it’ cakes! I always knew I wanted to paint the decorations on the outside and I wanted it to be a sailing cake but in the end I had literally one hour to cover the cake in sugarpaste and have it painted and in a box ready to take to lunch. Where do those hours go? Ideally I wanted to roll out the sugarpaste and have a little practice so I could plan my design. In the end I just went for it!
Once covered the painting part is pretty easy. I wished I had covered the cake in sugarpaste the day before so it had a little more time to harden up a little, but as long as I was gentle it wasn’t too bad.
I started by painting the boats. I used gel food colour watered down with alcohol in a paint palette (the one I usually use to shape flowers). It goes without saying that you should only use paint brushes and palettes saved specifically for cake decorating! In her book The Painted Cake Natasha Collins teaches that she uses water not alcohol to blend her colours so I would try that next time. I think it would produce a softer effect. The alcohol dries really fast and using water would give more time to work on the design.
Once I had all the boats, sails and little people (can you see them?) I painted waves.
That’s when I got help. Darcey wanted to help make Grandad’s cake so I let her. Inhale! Deep breath in. It will be all right!!! And it was. I had to just let her go with it and she did a really good job. I showed her how I painted the waves and she did more around the base of the cake.
We started with a turquoise colour then watered that down with a few drops of alcohol and added waves in between. It looked a bit flat so we created darker navy waves at the bottom of the cake then added a few highlights of dark waves (or should that be low lights?) around the lighter areas. I wanted to give a bit of definition to the sea.
Once that was all done we stood back and looked at the cake and it still felt a bit empty so we left the waves to dry for a few minutes then used a really watered down turquoise colour to fill in the background of the sea.
The last step was to add a ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’ onto the top – which was harder than it looked! and stick some ricrac ribbon around the base- more waves in my eyes.
The cake was a surprise and after our lovely lunch out no-one had room for cake. We did sing Happy Birthday and then Grandad Colin took the cake home – which I think was his plan all along!
Happy Birthday Colin.