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!

Cupcake, Sweet

The Micro Cupcake

The best things come in small packages.  I’m not always too sure that statement is totally correct but it fits well with what I baked today… The micro cupcake! Ta-dah.  No longer will people say a cupcake is too sweet for them or use the excuse of being on a diet as this cake is good for everyone. 

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I guess now I’ve ‘big’d’ it up you should really try it.

I’ve always had a fascination with objects in miniature size (please, no rude jokes!) Model railway, model villages, the tiny versions of Bournville and Dairy milk chocolate bars you used to get in tins of Roses.  I love the way they are so cute, like full size but shrunk down.  So today when I was making some full size lemon cupcakes I had a little bit of mixture left over.  It would have only really been enough for one or two cakes but I decided to use the petite four cases to make tiny versions.  I’m really happy with how they came out considering they weren’t in a baking tin to cook as I don’t have one that small.  I thought they might spread too much but the cases held really well.

I’m probably really late and these were fashionable last year or something but I think they’d make a great wedding cake or look lovely on a cake stand for afternoon tea.  If only I had a cake box small enough then I’d make more of these cute little cakes.

Food Ramblings

Cake Resignation Letter

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Have you ever wished you could just quit your job and bake cakes? I know I have!

Well, this guy actually did it and what better way to tell your boss you’re leaving than piping it onto a cake. Cake resignation letter

Unfortunately my piping skills aren’t that good so I’d probably just write “So long and thanks for all the fish” and run out of the door.

Hopefully with this publicity his business will be a success as its always nice to see people become successful at their dreams…it gives me hope.

Cupcake, Sweet

Liquorice Allsort Cupcakes

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As I said in my last post, this unfortunate baker is on a diet so I had a good idea of baking some cupcakes with a flavour I really don’t like but other people do – liquorice!

I had this cupcake idea a while ago so I had already bought a bag of liquorice allsorts in preparation to use as decoration.

I tried not to make the decoration too girly. This time I went for the ‘dog poo’ swirl on the top instead of my usual rose shape and didn’t use a single bit of glitter.


Liquorice Cupcakes

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For the cakes
4.5oz Self Raising Flour
4oz Margarine (you can use half/half butter and marg if you prefer)
2oz Dark brown sugar
2oz Caster sugar
2 Medium eggs
2 tsp Anise extract

For the icing
In a bowl add a extremely generous tablespoon of Margarine (I always use Stork as I’ve found other brands split) Then add approx 5-6 tablespoons of icing sugar and beat together until very light and fluffy. Add a teaspoon of Anise extract and a small amount of black gel food colouring. Don’t use liquid food colouring as this will cause the mix to be too runny. Mix in another tablespoon of icing sugar and beat until combined. This can be stored in the fridge until needed and either piped on or use a flat knife.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180oC

In a bowl mix the margarine with the two sugars and beat until it looks lovely and has changed into a paler colour. You can’t over beat at this stage.

Add an egg and a tablespoon of flour and mix until just combined. Do the same with the second egg and another tablespoon of flour.

Add the remaining flour and Anise extract and gently mix together. You don’t want to over beat the eggs in the mix, just to combine them.

If the mix looks a tad dry (this can happen due to variations with the size of the eggs or the different brands of flour) then add a small dash of milk.

Spoon the mixture equally between your cake cases. I used cupcake cases and these made 8 cakes.

Bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes before opening the door to see if they are done. Larger cakes will need 25-30 minutes but very small fairy cake cases will cook in 20 minutes.

To check they are done they should look a light brown colour and should spring back when you gently press on the top.

Once cooked, remove and cool before decorating with the buttercream icing and adding a liquorice sweet to the top.