Sunday, 8 December 2013

Daphne's Birthday Cake - my first time with cake lace

In my family Birthday cake is a sponge cake, maybe vanilla, maybe chocolate (check out mine from this year). Not so, in my husbands family. He thinks that Birthday cake should be fruit cake. Now, I am not going to say too much about my opinion on this, for the sake of marital harmony. Let us just say that I think a darkly spiced fruit cake is for Christmas or maybe a simnel cake at Easter. And also that one of the joys of bringing families together is introducing and combining traditions to make a family's new traditions.

This cake then is for my mother in laws Birthday. At this time of year I think a Birthday cake has to try extra hard not to look Christmassy, which is why I chose this greeny-blue colour palette.

When I am decorating cakes, I love to see the way the different components come together and how the look of the cake changes and develops, so I am going to show you this cake from beginning to end. 

Starting with this six inch fruit cake. Before starting I compared the size of my lace to the height of the cake. I felt that the cake would make more of the lace if the cake was a little taller. To achieve this, I raised the cake up by using a six inch cake drum / board underneath to give it a little extra height.

Covering The Cake

Next comes the marzipan layer. Marzipan is a bit like the cake's underwear, smoothing everything out a little and providing a foundation for the fondant layer. Making it all look a little better. I'm not actually that fond of fruit cake, the marzipan is my favourite bit (and I love the cherries).

Now to add the colour of the fondant layer. I started off by colouring the fondant / sugar paste with Sugarflair's turquoise but, this was bluer that the colour I was looking for. I was after a pale teal or a dark eau de nil type colour, so I added some Sugarflair's Gooseberry to green the colour up a bit. I would say that I used about two parts of turquoise to one of gooseberry.

I should perhaps have spent a little longer smoothing this fondant and getting it perfect, but, as every busy Mum knows, this type of decorating has to be done after inquisitive pokey fingers have gone to bed and so time was a little limited. I have done what I hope is a competent enough job and with all the other additions on this cake, I don't think a few lumps, bumps and creases will be too obvious (I hope not anyway)

Adding the Lace

This is the first time that I have made cake lace. I bought a starter kit from the Cake decorating Company at this year's Cake International and had been looking for an opportunity to try it. More about making cake lace in a future post. The cake lace mat I used for this cake is called Chantilly.

I made the cake lace about a week before I decorated this cake. I stored it carefully laid out on sheets of baking parchment and then wrapped in aluminium foil.

I applied the lace to the cake by using a water pen to lightly brush water all over the back and then pressed it on to the cake, making sure I kept it level and straight. I then used the brush to wet underneath any areas that had not adhered properly.

You may notice that there are some little air bubble holes on these lace pieces. These are barely visible to the naked eye on the actual lace. They show up here because of the type of camera lens I use and possibly the size of screen you are viewing this on.

Flowers on the top

I had a thought to make a beautiful wired mini bouquet of sugar flowers to go on the top of this cake, but with only a few days to go till this cake needed to be gifted and given that I have, well, never actually made a wired bouquet before, I needed a different approach. 

The flowers are coloured with the same colours as the fondant / sugar paste used to cover the cake.

I always start by laying my flowers out on my work board before I start, so that I can get an arrangement that I am happy with before I start attaching the flowers to the cake. This arrangement of sugar flowers has a dogwood flower in the centre, surrounded by the larger flowers which are petunias and the smaller ones which are stephanotis. More about making these in future posts.

You can see that rather than attempting a wired bouquet, I have rested the sugar flowers on a little cushion of the coloured fondant left over from when I covered the cake. Without the height from the fondant cushion, the arrangement doesn't look quite right. You may also notice that when I decorated the cake, I decided to add some more of the small stephanotis flowers to hide more of the fondant cushion and also to make the overall outline of the flowers rounder in shape.

I'm really happy with the way this cake turned out. I'll finish off by saying Happy Birthday to my mother in law,  Daphne. I really hope you like your cake.

That's all for today
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