Sunday, 26 January 2014
I was very pleased to make a cake for a friend's baby shower this week. The brief was to make a blue cake to fit with a book and alphabet themed shower. Searching for book cakes returns loads of gorgeous examples but I was quite pushed for time this weekend so settled for something I knew I could do well and quickly. Often cakes as simple as this can be harder to make than the more complex designs as there is no way to hide any imperfections! I think the simplicity is very effective.
Even though this is a well rehearsed design I did learn something new whilst baking this cake; always crack your eggs into a bowl before you add them into the mix! After spending a good few minutes beating the butter and sugar together, the first egg that I cracked straight into the mix was clearly bad. I had no choice but to throw all the mix away and start again. At least it was the first egg and not the sixth! In future I'll be certain to crack them into a bowl or cup first.
I'd made the baby blocks before for Jessica's Christening Cake. They are made from sugar paste with added Tylo to stiffen them up. The letters are cut out from a very thinly rolled coloured version of the same paste. I recommend leaving the letters for a few minutes to dry and stiffen before trying to separate them. Use a cocktail stick to remove any excess icing and a sharp knife to lift them off the board.
This is the first time I've used my new 7" round tins that I bought for the Tiffany cake but didn't get to use. They made a really good sized cake for this part with about 12 people. Slices were generous and there was plenty of cake left over to take home to hungry husbands.
That's all there is to it!
Sunday, 5 January 2014
I've been meaning to make this cake for ages but it's a complex one so I needed a really good reason to bake it. This week was my dear Mum's birthday so I thought it would be the perfect occasion.
The cake is based on this Peggy Porschen design from her Cake Chic book. Peggy's version is a Wedgewood blue but I've done it, more properly in my opinion, in Tiffany green by mixing some Holly Green and a touch of Navy food colouring into sugarpaste.
I wanted an impressive cake with a 7" and 5" tier but I couldn't find any 5" tins on my local high street. Any bigger would have been far too much cake for our small family party so I had to settle for 6" and 4" tiers.
I'm massively out of the habit of decorating with royal icing so I'm quite pleased with how well this has come out. I did a practice version completely free hand and learned that I just don't have the skills to do that! On the real cake, as recommended by Peggy, I scratched a straight line into the top tier and used that as a guide line. For the bottom tier I hand drew some swathes onto a piece of paper that I then traced onto the cake and used that as a guide line. After piping on the pearls I left them to dry and then painted then with edible lustre to give them the pretty pearlised sheen.
Friday, 3 January 2014
This is a cake I iced a few years ago for my Nanna's birthday. I was studying cake decorating at an evening class at the time and was keen to practice my skills with royal icing and this was certainly a big test! The design is from Peggy Porschen's Pretty Party Cakes book.
I made the flowers well in advance as they keep indefinitely. The pink flowers were the simplest to make. I used a petal nozzle to pipe a single petal onto the flower nail using a stiff peak royal icing, I then rotated the nail by 1/5th and piped another petal and so on. After the flower dried the yellow centres were then piped on top. The other flowers are all variations on the same theme. I particularly liked the violets which had two different colours of icing and used a black edible pen to accent the petals. After the cake was decorated the flowers were stuck down with more royal icing and pretty green leaves piped on randomly for added effect.