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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. To stick the cake in place I used a little royal icing o the iceberg then position the penguin in place.
I added a pretty pink bow to the top of the head with royal icing.
Next were the wings and then the feet and beak – all made from sugarpaste. Make sure the feet sit underneat the tummy.
The white tummy was added next. Be sure not to roll the white sugarpaste out too thinly or the black tummy will show through.
To make the eyes I used three circle cutters. It’s amazing what expressions you can get with a strategically placed white dot!
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.