Monday, 21 February 2011

Christening cake with train topper

You might remember my baby shower cake for one of my best friends that I blogged about here
Well it was her baby's Christening day yesterday & I was honoured to be baby Harry's godmother. He is such a lovely baby and has made his parents very happy indeed. So I couldn't be his godmother without making his cake and this is what we came up with.
The train was my husbands project, while I'm rushing around baking, icing and piping he likes to get stuck into something fun. He did a fabulous job, I think it really finishes the cake off well.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Lily's 6th birthday - Nigella's birthday custard sponge & real raspberry cupcakes

It was my eldest daughter's sixth birthday earlier this week, it was a school day so her party is coming up. Any birthday celebrated in our home comes with 'My Birthday My Rules', luckily so far our girls haven't realised the extent to which this could work in their advantage so all that was requested was for a couple of gifts to be opened before breakfast & hot dogs for dinner, fine - a nice, easy day for me!
So, off she went to school with a batch of raspberry cupcakes to share - They're actually vanilla cuppies with raspberry frosting, Lily asked for pink frosting so to keep it colouring free I blitzed some raspberries in the blender and whipped them into standard, unflavoured buttercream. I made the mistake of thinking I'd pureed the raspberries for long enough to obliterate any seeds but it turned out crunchy so I spent half an hour forcing it through a sieve, not fun so my advice is to really sieve the raspberries before adding to your buttercream! The frosting (when crunch free) was delicious and I'm planning on trying it on a white chocolate mud cake next, watch this space!

So when Lily was at school her sister and I had a go at making Nigella's birthday custard sponge, she'll have a 'proper' cake on the day of her party but we couldn't let her actual birthday pass without some candles being blown out and I always turn to Nigella for simple but delicious cakes. The custard powder you add to the cake seemed to make a standard sponge cake really moist and springy, my only advice would be to make the chocolate icing in advance and let it cool a bit before spooning on top, that way you still get the oozing down the sides look without loosing the majority of your icing to sit in a puddle around the base.
And Lily blowing out the candles

If you want to have a go at the sponge you can find the recipe here or in her book Feast which I highly recommend.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How to - Covering a cake in sugarpaste

I thought I'd do a quick how to on covering a cake, I get asked all the time, especially when people try to make their own occasion cake and realise that you have to do a good job with the covering to end up with a beautiful cake! When I first attepted covering I rolled the icing too thin and ended up with a lumpy, cracked cake, not good! So here you are, for anyone wanting to have a go.

1) Knead the correct amount of sugar paste until soft and pliable. Add food colour paste at this point if required.

2) Brush your crumb coated or marzipan covered cake all over with very hot (boiled) apricot glaze.

3) Lightly dust your clean and dry work surface with icing sugar and begin to roll out your icing, lifting and moving it slightly to avoid sticking - do this regularly to avoid having to use too much icing sugar.

4) When you have rolled out your icing so it is large enough to cover your cake, lift by sliding both hands under the icing, palms facing up so they are supporting as much of it  as possible. Quickly but carefully position over the middle of your cake and gently place on top.

5) Smooth the top of your cake with an icing smoother or the palm of your hand in sweeping circular motions.

6) Work your way around the sides of your cake, tucking the folds of sugar paste in and smoothing with your hand as you go, this looks as if it’s going to be harder than it is. You have to unfold the icing and smooth it onto the cake.

7) With a smooth bladed knife trim the icing from around the bottom of the cake being careful not to get too close to the base of the cake.

8) With an icing smoother, smooth around the outside of the cake in a gliding motion. Trim any excess from the base and smooth some more.


An icing smoother gives a superior finish, if you don’t have one you can go over the finished cake with a pad of sugar paste wrapped in cling film.

If you use too much icing sugar it will dry your icing out and cracks may appear when covering.

Cracks may also appear if your icing is too thin. 1/4 inch is good for me.

A rough edge at the base of your cake can easily be hidden with ribbon.

Always use paste food colour, not liquid as this will change the consistency of your icing.

Don't overfill your cake or you end up with a bulge halfway where some filling has been squished out.

If your cake develops air bubbles insert a sterile pin and smooth the air towards the hole.

I hope this has been helpful to some of you,  I will try to take step by step photos next time I have a cake to do (I have several on the horizon so memory permitting, soon).