Cake, Sweet

Alice’s Party cake – In the Night Garden

I created two first birthday cakes for my daughter, the first was a small zebra cake to take with us to the Safari Park (as seen in my last post) then the second one I made was a lot larger for her birthday party.

Alice isn’t really into much at the moment, being only 12 months old so far, but she will stop everything she is doing to sit down and watch an episode of In the Night Garden.  It is also a great theme for a cake as there are loads of colours and simple characters to make.

I decided to be brave and have a go at making a figure for on the cake – Maka Paka!

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I have only ever made one figure before and that was a rather sad looking teddy bear which was far too fat and sunk down after a few weeks.  It wasn’t my finest cake decorating moment so I don’t know what possessed me to try again but I did.  I think he actually came out ok, not perfect by a long way but he had the general appearance, though his eyes were quite big giving him a ‘chibi’* look.  He managed to make it to the party without his head or any other limb falling off so I think that was a bonus!

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Sorry for the poor photo, it was late at night when I finished.

I also made circles of icing of the other characters and places them around.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a clear image in my head of what the final piece would look like but I hoped that when I started to put it together I would get an idea.  The cake board I bought was too large, the cake didn’t seem high enough and the green colour icing I made was a little too bright but I thought that I had come this far… I was going to finish the cake!

So this is it, my final In the Night Garden cake.  There are lots of little bits that I would have changed on it but for my first time trying to do something like this I was happy with it and so were the family and friends who came along.In the Night Garden Cake

The cake itself was a simple sponge filled with seedless raspberry jam and a buttercream.  It is strange how when you put these ingredients together and use fondant icing then it always tastes shop bought?  It was soft and moist and held together well when cut so I am pleased with how it tasted as well as looked.  Next year I guess I am going to be doing this again, I wonder what she will like next time.

*as in the Manga meaning of Chibi – cute, small, big eyes.

Cake, Sweet

Happy first birthday Alice – The Zebra Cake

Unfortunately there’s been a lot going on over the past couple of weeks which have caused me to be forgetful in updating my blog.

I’ve celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, been made redundant from my job and but also been offered a new job!
Although its been pretty rubbish to lose my job, I want to speak about the happy thing – Alice’s first birthday.

I haven’t done too much baking recently except to bake for her birthday party but I definitely did plenty of baking for that.
I made 2 birthday cakes, both sponge with buttercream and fondant icing.

The first one, that I will talk about today, was a small cake I made, enough to feed 6 hungry adults and a little lady, I think this equated to an 8″ cake.  I didn’t want it to be too large or fancy as we were taking it to West Midlands Safari park and I needed it to survive the car journey and trip round the animals. 
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This is one of the reasons why I decorated it with a zebra theme, simple but effective.

I iced it with white fondant icing and then used edible airbrush paints to hand paint on the stripes.  I was a bit worried it would look a little old for her but it was linked to her day out.

I coloured the royal icing, that I used to pipe the writing with a baby pink but on the cake it seemed to come out white.
I was quite pleased with the end results and the advantage of painting the cake was that you didn’t have to colour icing black – which is a pain to do.

I should have used my big camera (Canon 50d) to do some good photos but the house was so full of things for the party that there was barely room to store the cake!

Anyway, I’ll finish this on one of my favourite jokes:
What’s black and white and eats like a horse?

…a zebra!

Food Ramblings

Getting ready for a 1st birthday

It doesn’t seem long ago that I was sitting at home eating my cake that I’d made myself to pass the time and waiting for my little girl to be born; but fast forward almost a year and I’m suddenly planning her first birthday cake! 

On the 11th October Alice will be a whole year old.  Wow.

It’s been a very eventful time and although I haven’t baked as much as I though I might have whilst I was on maternity leave it’s something I wouldn’t have missed for the world. 

For her birthday I am planning on making 2 birthday cakes, the first will be a small cake which will be for her actual birthday.  We are celebrating by taking her to a safari park along with her grandparents. I think this cake will be quite simple with plenty of number 1s all over it.

The second birthday cake is taking a lot more planning as it’s for her party in which most of the family are invited! 

I’m having a little difficulty in planning this cake because I am not yet fully sure on the theme of it.  The party is going to be a little mad hatter’s tea party but her favourite thing at the moment is the show In the Night Garden.
So my brain is working overtime trying to pin it down!  Now in my excited parent delirium I am considering making fondant figures for the cake.  Oh dear, I might have ideas beyond my skill level but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. 

It might not be perfect but it’ll be home made, with love… and we can always stick a candle in.

Cake, Sweet

Jessica’s first birthday cake – bee hive

Yesterday my friend Sarah’s little girl turned one and with my own daughter rapidly heading towards this first milestone its been a strange feeling.

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I remember visiting her in hospital when Jessica was a tiny 8 weeks premature baby and now looking at her as a happy, very healthy girl its hard not to wonder what happens to the time. 

To celebrate my friend asked me to help her make the birthday cake.  She wanted to create a bee hive cake as Jessica’s favourite teddy is a buzzy bee and yellow is her favourite colour.  Between us we created something pretty good for two beginners!

Sarah baked the cake layers and I did the decorating.  Considering I’ve never tackled a cake more than a single layer I was ready to have a go. 
Luckily, after I buttercreamed the layers together and smoothed off the sides with more buttercream, it gave a pretty good beginning shape.  Next step was to roll out a large amount of yellow fondant to cover and drape over.  The original cake picture cut a hole out for the door but I thought it’d be (bee) easier to use black fondant to make a door shape.

Lastly it was just the finishing touches, 3 little bees, a few flowers and a personal touch of the writing on the top.  I wish I could have written finer but it was a late decision to do it and the writing icing we had available at the time was a little runny.  If I was to do it again I’d write using royal icing and a thin nozzle.

Anyway, Jessica seemed to have a fab day.  Happy birthday!

Cake, Sweet

Happy Birthday Sis: Frozen Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake.

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Today is my ‘little’ sisters birthday. Obviously she isn’t really little anymore in any way – she’s a 26 year old law teacher who is taller than me! But she’ll always be my little sister.

This year I wanted to make her a different birthday cake to usual, something a bit fun but also a bit more grown up. Then luckily my September edition of the good food magazine dropped through the door and staring at me from the front cover was the recipe for a frozen raspberry cheesecake. Perfect.

It was pretty simple to make and was interesting being frozen.

Frozen raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake