I never actually realised I had a hobby until recently I was scrolling through photos.
It seems for most of my childrens’ birthdays, baptism (of my own and other children) and other special occasions, I make the cake. I don’t paint, I don’t draw, I don’t scrapbook but … it seems I like to get creative (well a little anyway) with cakes. Of course these are not a peep on what I’ve seen other mums create but I thought I’d share anyway – one of my creations may give you an idea for your next cake!
The centerpiece for this cake was a pink swarovski crystal bead dragonfly which I made myself. Grey satin ribbon, pale pink cord, pink polka dots, shiny pink cachous and a pink rose made from royal icing make it pretty pink perfection. I made this cake for my youngest daughter’s Baptism.
When my second youngest was 3 and 4, she was obsessed with the Wizard of OZ. She had sparkly red shoes and I made her the little blue checked dress you can see her in at her Wizard of OZ party. The only tricky part of this cake was the little red shoes which I made from royal icing and then coated in red glitter (non edible). Important to make these a few days in advance so they hold their shape. Yellow smarties for the yellow brick road, green candles for the Emerald City and the bow was leftover fabric from Em’s dress. She LOVED it!
This cake was an interesting challenge – a dear friend had her 2 boys and little girl baptised together so I had to come up with a cake design that suited them as a family. I found the little lion, leopard, soccer ball and lady beetle in a gift shop – they were plastic and were originally attached to a key ring. I then printed their names and message onto thick paper and covered with either the pink or blue organza ribbon. The little ‘rocks’ were inspired by Kool Mints and were made from royal icing. The little park scene was simply green royal icing, some little pink flowers and the trees were made with a skewer I coloured with some browning essence. Mud cake inside and it went down a treat – with some left over for my friend’s cuppas during the week after their baptism!
The beauty of this cake was that I made all the hearts and flowers (in varying shades of pink) a week before and stored in an airtight container. I used two sizes of cookie cutters for the hearts, I hand molded the pin cushion heart on top of the cake and the tiny flowers I used a flower cutter and then let them dry upside down over little marbles. Once fully dry and turned right side up, the flowers looked as though they were turned up to see the sun. I made lots of extra hearts and flowers and used these as cupcake toppers for a lovely pink heart theme right across the party. You can put any cake inside – this one was a white chocolate mud but you do chocolate or even a lighter textured cake if you prefer. So perfect for a little girl – I did this for my youngest daughter’s first birthday. She didn’t eat the cake but had lots of fun with one of the hearts.
You can tell I was at home with the kids when I made this cake – the early days! I started this cake a couple of weeks ahead and made the batons (I borrowed my son’s playdough pusher to make the long sticks of icing in various colours) and the strawberries. For the strawberry leaves, I actually pressed real strawberry leaves onto royal icing to get the impression of the leaves. I used black sesame seeds for the strawberry seeds and hand molded the actual strawberries. I printed the text “Bless this baby girl” onto photo paper and then covered with organza ribbon with a silk edge. The little plate the strawberries are sitting on was from Crabtree & Evelyn and Em has these on her dresser now to hold her little trinkets. We had a garden party for the Baptism – so the centrepiece for each table was a live strawberry plant and all the guests (well the mums anyway) enjoyed champage and strawberries. The perfect cake for a lovely afternoon outdoors!
I always try to base my cakes around something the children are interested in at the time. Em was into Little Mermaid when she was 4 and even had the matching costume as the character. This cake is very quick and only requires enough forethought to make the blue jelly (for the sea) a couple of days ahead. When you make the jelly for this cake use half the stated amount of water so that it stays really well set. I cooked a vanilla madiera cake and cooked in a rippled ring tin. Then I iced with butter icing and coated in yellow coloured caster sugar. Fill the well in the centre of the cake with diced blue jelly and then finish with chocolate seashells around the rock pool and the cake. The little pink puffer fish came in the box with the Little Mermaid doll. A hit with the kids but even more so with the mums because it was easy but so effective!
You’ll notice a theme – I usually do two layers and usually present the cake on a cake plate. That’s because I stick to what I know and because I don’t have any room in my baking drawer for new tins! I also like the elevation a cake plate provides – particularly when the cake will look good if it standing in the middle of the party table. I also always finish off my royal icing with ribbon – this hides any imperfections (and makes me look better than I am at icing)! Both layers were covered in a pale pink royal icing and then decorated with light and dark pink polka dots. Make these at least a few days ahead so that they can dry completely before you stick them to the cake. I also made the petals of the flower on top at the same time so they were nice and dry when I assembled the cake. We had friends married the day before this party so they gave us loads of the flowers to use at the party … and they were the perfect colours!
One of my poppets saw a box of cake toppers at the supermarket and begged for a Barnyard Cake. Super easy so very fine by me. I make a double batch of vanilla pound cake, iced with a vanilla butter icing then decorated with green coloured coconut, a blue pond for the frog and then added the store bought cake toppers. The farmyard fence was just short of two packets of Cadbury FIngers biscuits. Old MacDonald would be proud – the kids sure were!
Where possible I try to include a cake topper that my children (or the child the cake is for) can put away as a keepsake long after the cake has been eaten. This little man is one of my God children so I volunteered to make his Baptism cake. The little Teddy Trinket Box had a removable lid so I wrote a personal message and placed it inside the box. If you look closely you’ll see I’ve mirrored the stitching detail that appears on the cake topper onto the main icing of the cake (I used an apple corer for this pressed very lightly into the icing). Apart from that I added a printed message with blue organza ribbon over the top and added 3 silk bows to match the colour of the teddy bear. You can see my little man was keen to get his hands on it!