Back in April I made a surprise delivery of cakes to my cousin for her Baby Shower. They went down so well I felt I had to make them again. The designs I used on the cakes came from the Planet Cake book which I was given by the couple who I made the cakes for this time. Their gorgeous little girl was born at 32 weeks and finally came home around 10 days ago so on Saturday we made a drive down south to deliver these cakes and a red gooseberry bush because of course all babies are found under the gooseberry bush. Read the rest of this entry →
Nearly every family or friend parties I’ve been to recently have been surprise parties. A good friend’s 30th back in September, a great uncle’s 90th last weekend and a cousin’s baby shower yesterday. Family & friends reading this just remember although I have a significant birthday coming up I don’t like surprises as it means I’m not given the opportunity to go clothes shopping for the event! Before yesterday I hadn’t been to a Baby Shower so wasn’t quite sure what to expect but decided I couldn’t go wrong if I turned up with cake and this was a perfect opportunity to try out a cake I’d seen in Planet Cake.
I was given a copy of Planet Cake at Christmas and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I love the way it is set out and the designs that feature in it. I’m not a total beginner in cake making and decorating but wanted a bit of professional guidance and have found this book perfect for that. I like that this book tells you the exact quantities of icing you’ll need. Something before I wouldn’t have had a clue about. The tip about using piping nozzles for marking the icing, in this case the eyes and mouth, was brilliant. Why I hadn’t thought about that myself I don’t know.
I first set about colouring the icing. I love colouring icing as in an odd way I find it quite therapeutic. Though I need a bit of practice with getting a light skin tone, this one turned out a slightly more Germolene pink, but I counteracted this by making the little hats on the cake a stronger colour. I’ve learnt my lesson in the past about letting the icing settle before using it as the colours intensify. Last time I used fondant I used a generic brand from the local cake decorating shop and found it dried out really quickly and putting me off working with fondant for a bit. This time I used a block of Silver Spoon ready to roll icing and found it really easy to colour and good to use. Even though it was a warm day when decorating these cakes the icing didn’t dry out at all.
To decorate these cakes I just used a cutter that would provide a circle big enough to cover the top of the cake, No. 2 round decorating tip, couple of cocktail sticks, pallet knife and small piece of kitchen roll. I don’t own the ball tool they recommend to make the ear indentations so just used a piece of kitchen roll wrapped around a cocktail stick. The fondant was secured in place with a small amount of buttercream. I also put a blob of raspberry jam in the cake that seemed to work well. Just a note, these cakes are fairy cake sized unlike the cupcake ones featured in the book to the quantities below are for the fairy cake sized ones.
I think they have a slight Pocoyo element to them and who can argue with the amazing Pocoyo!
Baby Shower Fairy Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
Adapted from Planet Cake
100g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour
120g butter cream (40g unsalted butter beaten with 80g icing sugar)
250g skin coloured fondant
100g blue fondant
100g pink fondant
Black colouring icing pen (you could use a small amount of black fondant instead)
small amount of cornflour mixed with red petal dust
1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.
2) In a bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled add a small amount of the flour. Mix in the vanilla extract.
3) Carefully fold in the flour.
4) Fill each liner 2/3 with cake mix. Dollop a tsp of jam on the cake batter just before the cakes go in the oven.
5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool completely before icing.
6) In a bowl beat together the butter, icing sugar and lime juice until light and fluffy. Spread a small amount of the buttercream on top of each cake.
7) Roll out the skin coloured icing until around 3mm thick. Cut out rounds and smooth on to the top of the cakes. Then mark the eyes and mouth then using a small amount of water attach the nose and ears.
8 ) Roll out the blue/pink icing and using the same round cutter cut out rounds. Cut these circles in half then cut a 5mm edge off the semicircle (this will be the ridge on the hat). Stick the semicircle on the head using a small amount of water then attach the rim. Use a cocktail stick along the rim to give the detail.
9) Using a small amount of cornflour and red petal dust mixed together, brush on the cheeks to give babies a rosy glow.
A month ago I was asked to decorate a cake for a special joint party where one person (my sister-in-law) would be celebrating her 30th and Grandma (ok, technically grandma-in-law) would be celebrating her 90th. Although the only cake I’ve ever iced properly was a Christmas cake for just the two of us a few years back certainly not one that would be seen by 70 people. Who was I to say no to a fantastic lady who credits her 90 years to cream cakes and Guinness.
The first hurdle was to construct the fruit cake. Long story, but I essentially had to cement together 3 fruit cakes, one of which was a top-tier of a wedding cake, to make one cake measuring 25cm square. Then using apricot jam I stuck and smoothed on the marzipan layer and left for a week to dry out.
A week before the party I started on the icing. Probably not the best thing to do given it was the hottest day of the summer we’ve had so far. I watched a video online showing how to ice with fondant to give me a bit more confidence then had a go. All was going well until I lifted the icing up with my rolling pin to transfer onto the cake. I don’t know if it was the weight of the icing or the fact it was such a hot day but lots of tiny stretch marks appeared over the icing. I smoothed it out as much as possible then this is where the purple flowers came in. I used lilac florist paste to make the flowers. I’d wanted the cake to be purple and white because that is Grandma’s favourite colours but the flowers rather than being decorating became a camouflage job.
It’s not exactly how I wanted it, that’s the problem with being a perfectionist, but the main this is that Grandma loved it. It hasn’t put me off cake decorating, I just need a bit of practice. Local cake decorators have nothing to fear right now!