So it’s coming up to my Mum’s birthday again, and whilst trying to think up ideas of what to do, I started reminiscing about her birthday last year… Last year was my Mother’s 50th, and so rather than her usual “BBQ in the garden” style get-together she has had every year since I don’t know when, she decided so throw a proper party inviting everyone and his uncle, hall-hire and all! So in honour of this special occasion, my sister’s and I decided to make her a special birthday cake to go along with it…
I’m quite creative when I want to be, so decided to go all out, and design and make a themed cake…Amongst other things, my Mum is a qualified kayak instructor, and so when trying to come up ideas for a theme, this one came up trumps.
- Two Large Round Sponge Cakes (I used basic vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream filling)
- Ready-to-Roll Royal Coloured Icing (various colours to suit)
- Buttercream Icing
- Food Colouring
- Plain Flour for Rolling the Icing
- First off, using a sharp knife, cut one of the sponge cakes straight across into a 70:30 sized split
- Make up a batch of plain or vanilla buttercream icing
- Spread a small amount of the buttercream icing onto one side of the still whole cake (to cover about 60%), then gently place the larger part of two pieces of cake you cut earlier onto the icing with the curved side being in the middle of the base cake. Position the top piece so that it is as “flush” to the back of the base cake as you can. You’ll notice that your top cake will overlap slightly on the sides, but this is fine
- Follow the same steps for the smaller piece of your cut cake, and you should finish with a 3-tier cake, which looks like it has “steps” going up the front of it
- Using a sharp knife, very carefully trim the over-hanging edges of your cut pieces, so that the cake is flush all the way around (i.e. still rounded). You should also have a very small amount of your base cake sticking out at the back which you could cut away too
- Your cake is now ready to decorate! So, after choosing your icing which will be your first and base layer all over, start by gently kneading the icing between your fingers to soften it up. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out the icing onto a lightly floured surface; do this until your icing is a flexible and thin, even sheet
- Once you have done this, lightly cover your cake with the buttercream to form a sticking “glue-like” surface, and then very gently, lay the coloured icing over your cake. You may need to use a couple of sheets of icing, depending on how big your cake is, if so, use the crevices of the “steps” to hide the creases in the cake
- Using your fingers, gently press the icing into the cake so that it sticks and sets into the appropriate crevices to show off the design of your cake
- If you are adding a second colour, like my water feature for instance, it will be easier to place the sheets in smaller layers, as you can blend the edges together with the colours
- Once completed, you should have a stepping-stone shaped cake with coloured icing… You’ll now want to decorate it!
- I started by splitting a small amount of my buttercream into two pots, and adding some food colouring to them to create green and blue buttercream. I then used a combination of my fingers, and a pastry brush to dip into the buttercream, and dab onto the cake. This enabled me to create the effect of having patches of green grass on my hills, and also the effect of running water to my waterfall
- To complete the waterfall, before my buttercream set, I sprinkled both silver and light blue “shimmer sugar” over parts of the water feature, and dabbed it into the buttercream with my fingers so that it would set in place
- Using some dark brown royal icing, I created a small “mud-patch” to place near the bottom of the waterfall, and using the shimmer sugar and a little of both coloured buttercreams, I blended this into both the grass and water coloured icing so that it didn’t look too blocky
- Using a small sharp knife, I created tiny flowers out of rolled pink and yellow icing, and boulders by rolling brown and dark yellow coloured icing into ball between my palms, and then squaring them out slightly before setting them into the cake with buttercream
- In between the boulders, I also threw in a few green and brown smarties to mix up the rock/boulder shapes, and to create the effect of mounds in the grass… You could also use the off-cuts of cake to do this if you like…
- Last but not least, the kayaker! This little bugger took me lots of time and patience of rolling icing and shaping to create a kayak, and then a little person separately to place inside the kayak… I then used a toothpick to hold the oar in place and stop it from flopping in the heat, and set the pieces together using buttercream
I’d like to have another go at creating a themed cake, so will have to have a think of what to do and when, but for now, I didn’t think this was a bad first attempt!!