Merry-go-round birthday cake
I can’t believe little Belle is 4! I mean it was only yesterday I made these baby cookies when she was born and now she’s started school. That’s just insane.
I was asked to make Belle’s 4th birthday cake and as you can see it’s a Merry-go-round cake. I decided to make the ponies into cookies that could be pulled off. I’m glad she wasn’t five or I might not have had room for all the ponies to fit on.
How to make the ponies for the Merry-go-round birthday cake
- I searched high and low for a pony – or even a horse cookie cutter I could use but none of them were up to scratch, so I decided to make my own- gulp! Armed with a google search and a pen I found a look I liked and used it to base my sketch on. I then cut out the paper pattern (which you can download here) and used it to cut around the rolled out vanilla biscuit dough (Vanilla cookie recipe here)
- Bake the pony cookies and make more than you need- just in case a leg falls off or anything. That tends to happen to me! Make the royal icing up. – Royal icing recipe here.
- First pipe the outline of the body in pale pink.
- Fill in the pink body with runny Royal icing. Add a small amount of water to the icing till the trace line disappears in eight seconds. (just in case- a trace line is when you lift a spoon out of the icing and the icing that falls off the spoon leaves a line in the bowl of icing below. The trace line is the line of icing that falls. You need to count how long it takes for that line to disappear. Once it takes eight seconds you know that your icing is runny enough to flood the cookie but not too wet to never dry)
- With a darker pink icing outline the mane and tail then flood. Leave to dry for at least an hour – over night is even better.
- Using a brown icing outline and flood the saddle and straps. With a thick brown icing pipe the bridle across the nose and up to the mane
- Give the ponies horse shoes
- To give them pretty eyes pipe a black dot of royal icing and use a tooth pick to drag tiny amounts away from the dot – creating eye lashes and making the ponies look very pretty
- Leave the ponies to dry thoroughly before handling. 24 hours is optimal.
How to make the Merry-Go-Round cake
- To give the cake a base make a deep 8″ cake and a more shallow 9″ cake. Cover with sugarpaste, stack and set on the covered cake board.
- Add a detailed trim along the base of each cake. I use these Edge Cutters which I picked up at a cake fair. Use royal icing to make them stick or dampen the back of each trim with water.
- Each pony sits on a pole which is really a pink and white straw. I use these ones from Talking Tables as they’re strong – also there’s loads left over for drinks afterwards. It’s really hard to push the paper straws through the dense Madeira cake so I cut off the bottom of a straw and stick it onto the base of the cake with royal icing. Flatten the top of this straw before you attach it to the cake so the pony can sit flat against it. I then pushed the top straw into the cake in line with the small one – just as much as I could without the cake being distorted or the straw poking through
- Make lots of pretty flowers using plunger cutters. Layer up difference sizes and add a pearl in the centre to finish them off. Leave to dry over night so they are easy to handle without breaking.
- Each pony is stuck to the cake using Royal icing. The pony cookies are quite heavy so use toothpicks to hold them in place until the royal icing hardens and the ponies are completely stuck. Two underneath where no one will see the holes should do the trick.
- To finish off the merry-go-round place a taller white dowel in the centre of the cake add ribbons to it. I glued the ribbons onto the central dowel before placing it in the cake to save on fiddling near the cake. Cut each piece of ribbon to length then stick to each straw around the outside. Make toppers with white sugarpaste. It’s a good idea to make the tops ahead of time so they can easily sit on the straws without breaking. Make holes in the bottom before you leave them to dry and then stick them in place with royal icing. Make pretty little bows and stick them on the outside of each straw.
- Don’t forget to make a topper for the central post too.
- Add the flowers all over the cake around the base and in the ponies manes.
- Lastly add the name to the base and the age – with a few more flowers for good measure.