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Posts Tagged ‘birthday cake’

I do enjoy making the children’s birthday cakes – before they came along I’d never really done cake decoration beyond sticking some flowers or sweets on top, but that doesn’t cut the ice with small people, and after forking out a fortune for my eldest’s first birthday cake, I have gone DIY ever since.

But a seven week old baby who doesn’t like to be put down does cramp the baking style a bit. So for the Little Boy’s birthday I needed something that he’d love, but that I could throw together quickly. He does love his diggers, and can frequently be heard singing the Bob the Builder song around the house. So I made a building site cake. I made a double quantity of Delia’s all-in-one sponge with some cocoa powder added, and used one batch for the cake and one for some cupcakes. Then came a huge bowl of my favourite chocolate fudge buttercream – it’s fantastic stuff. I use dark chocolate for adults and a mix of dark and milk for kids. For this, I used 250g of butter, about 400g of chocolate and I don’t want to think about how much icing sugar – I don’t weigh it, I just tip it in until it looks right. Lots, anyway. So, sandwich the cake together and rough ice it and the cupcakes. Add a dumper truck from the playroom (thoroughly washed) and some Bob the builder figures. I’d made some chocolate crispy cakes, and kept some mix back. I added a bit of black food colouring to make some aggregate. Ice a name, add candles and away we go.

The rapturous reception made me wonder why I bother with elaborate cakes. He was thrilled, and one of his little friends declared it ‘the best cake ever’. I doubt it, but it was easy and tasty, so I count that a double win.

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With a small person’s birthday comes a demand for cake. The Little Girl is extremely fond of cake and when asked what she wanted for her birthday would invariably answer, ‘Cake!’. Ladybirds are one of her favourite things so I somewhat rashly decided to make her a ladybird cake.

I am quite experienced at making cakes but have decorated precisely two (2) cakes up to now: a Christmas cake and a birthday cake shaped like a drum. So, this was an ambitious undertaking. I discovered online that it is possible to bake cakes in Pyrex bowls, so that gave me an idea.

My sponge cakes are never high-rise affairs, so if you make light, fluffy sponge you may need less cake mix (or end up with a fatter ladybird. Or more off-cuts). I made up a 4 egg sponge, and divided it between two Pyrex bowls (one large, one small) lined with greaseproof paper, so that each was about a third full. I baked them for about 40 mins for the large and 25 for the small (your mileage may vary, of course, depending on the size of your bowls). I baked another 4 egg sponge in a rectangular tin – mine was 11×8 inches.

So much for the easy part – now for the engineering. The rectangular cake was covered with fondant icing dyed green (I love my colouring pastes, by the way – I’ll never go back to liquid colouring). Then I cut a semi-circle out of the the small cake so it butted up to the big cake. The big dome cake was iced with red buttercream and went on top of the green cake. The small dome was iced with fondant icing dyed black (which took a lot of dye, a lot of kneading and gave me grey palms) and put in place. I then used the lid of a smoothie bottle to cut out the spots and the eyes, again from fondant icing. The antenna were fashioned from fondant and reinforced with cocktail sticks. Then I added a name in white icing and three candles. I was very pleased with how it turned out – in fact, I did a victory dance round the kitchen – and the Little Girl’s face lit up when the cake was brought in. I made Mr Sow and Sew cut the cake, though. The eyes which I had thought were cute suddenly looked rather pleading and I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

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The Little Boy’s birthday was a while ago now, but on the day, I couldn’t find my camera, so borrowed someone else’s to take pictures. I’ve only just retrieved my photos, so I can now share with you my first attempt at cake decoration that involved piping.

It is meant to be a drum (although this wasn’t immediately obvious to everyone, ho hum) and it was a simple sponge cake layered with jam and buttercream, with glace icing on top, and buttercream on the sides. I don’t want to think about the amount of red dye I needed to get the icing that colour… The chocolate buttercream stripes were piped on (and I learned that trying to pipe in a straight line the day after tricep dips at Pilates is Not Easy) as was the writing on the top. The cake went down very well, despite the lurid icing, not just with little folk, but with adults as well.

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