Happy 1st Birthday Cara

And so it was finally here, we have been blessed with Cara’s first birthday, I can remember the day my sister went to the hospital with my brother in law and mom.

Isla (3 year old niece/big sister to Cara) stayed up all night (shush) watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Until the following day we awaited to hear the news.

I wanted to do something special and as you can see from my previous cakes, I’ve always been happy to use cake mixes and icing but this time I wanted to do it myself.

I didn’t take as much pictures as I would like because I didn’t have faith it would go better than I expected. I used fondant icing to cover the cakes and FINALLY used my topsy turvy cakes. I was a complete beginner with both icing and tins and was researching smoothing techniques and various recipes for what would be a 3 (albeit wonky) cake.

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I bought
1kg of Caster Sugar,
18 Eggs,
1.5kg of Self Raising Flour,
A big tub of Stork margarine
1kg of fondant icing and 3 x 250g
250g of pink icing
Pink food colouring
Green food colouring
Vanilla Essence
1 candle
Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing
Baking powder

I also found a Madeira cake/Victoria sponge mix in the cupboard but these weren’t used.

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I used this recipe for the three cakes. The 25cm tin which would be the bottom. The 20cm tin for the middle and the 15cm tin for the top. The website where I got the recipe and method from seems to have disappeared and so I’m a bit disappointed I can’t put it on here. However I’m a big fan of Lorraine Pascal and this link is a good recipe to follow:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/three-tier_red_velvet_17795

I’m not sure if that link works but I generally googled three tier cake recipes till I found a method I liked.

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As usual I sat down to watch it rise. There’s something comforting watching what you made grow. A bit how my sister feels watching Cara grow in to a toddler and Isla in to a little lady.

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When it came out I was a bit ‘hmmm’ about it. The recipe I used didn’t call for baking soda/bicarbonate even though I had bought some. I felt it had not risen enough. Once I took it out the pan though, I could see the it had moulded to the shape of the wonk so was a little bit more pleased.

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This was in the oven at gas mark 4 for about 1 hour and a half.

I used the method of creaming the butter and sugar and adding 1 egg to 1 spoonful of flour to avoid curdling. I set to work greasing and lining the middle pan and put this in the oven for 1 hour.
And this was the end result.

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I had neglected the boy a little. So he offered to loosen up and colour my fondant icing.
It turned out he was a dab hand at cutting the butterflies out of fondant and therefore he takes the credit.

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Now came the crumb coat. This is the first time I have used icing to coat a cake crumb like rather than just plop it on!
And the fondant icing. I’ve never used it before. I’ve never covered a cake before. I didn’t have a scraper or a smoother. Just my hands.

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For my first attempt I was impressed and I’m never happy but I really was pleased. It was a heavy cake and I thought it wouldn’t be nice because of it being a sponge cake I missed putting the jam on it. I thought no one would like but everyone was pleased.

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And the birthday girl enjoyed her very first piece of cake 🙂

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Totally radical man!

So if you read my previous post you will know that I got my gel colours out of the cupboard. They were just screaming to be used. So.. I made a traditional Victoria sponge. Well, traditional-ish.

Ingredients:

225g/8 oz soft margarine
225g/8 oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g/8 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar, to dust

For the filling it suggests 4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam and 100ml/ 3&1/2 fl oz double cream.

Apart from the baking powder (which I forgot to add) I did the recipe to the T.

I preheated my gas oven to number 4, I greased my two silicone 8 inch sandwich tins and I mixed all the ingredients in the Beast with the whisk handle.

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So having mixed the ingredients to a smooth texture, I divided about three/four spoonfuls, some five, in to individual bowls and set to work on the gel colours. Some of them didn’t go as bright as I wanted to so they didn’t get the chance to have their photo taken.

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Once all the colours were mixed in well I spooned them in to the silicone tins one spoonful at a time and this is how it ended up looking

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And of course, I sat on the floor and watched

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I forgot to mention the flour I used as it is meant to be premium flour especially for cakes

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These are the end results of the cake once I had taken them out of the oven

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I will admit, I looked at them and thought “is that it?” I went to all that trouble and this is what I was left with?

I got to work on the buttercream as I didn’t realise I didn’t have double cream in the fridge. I prefer to make this in my mixer because doing it by hand, it separates for me. I have no idea why but if anyone has any tips, please tell me!!

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The red was calling me

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I removed the cakes from the silicone sandwich tins and BAM

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Psychedelic maaaaannnnn!! Now we were talking. I am rather impressed.
The colours weren’t as bright as I had originally wanted them to be but I was pleased that my crappy purple and my black mixed in well.

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I spread the buttercream on the ‘sand’ and the jam on the ‘wich’ and hey, presto!

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bake cakes, not war!!

A little treat

One Sunday, up in the ghetto, the boy says to me “I’m bored, lets go to tesco..” What I didn’t envisage was boy who will eventually be named, purchasing about £50 worth of cake ingredients, icing, cupcake cases, cupcake boxes, icing in cans, whatever he could pick up, he did.

I’m surprised he was soon keen to purchase all these cake ingredients and accessories cause I usually kick him out the kitchen for being in the way. However, his eagerness and how cute he was when grabbing as much as he could (we didn’t have a basket either), I reined in the cake eyed monster and enlisted his help and muscles.

He even mixed a batch all on his own, bless. He got so excited he would put the cupcakes outside so they would cool down quicker and he could decorate them. I therefore take no credit for the decorating of these cupcakes.

Boy, these are all yours.

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In his midst of buying, he also bought me ready to roll coloured icing. This was more for kids to make shapes out of and is called sugar dough. I had really wanted to make a ladybird but was frustrated when there was no white or black. The colours were red, green, yellow and blue.

I did make something though, can you guess what it is? Free cupcake to those who guess correctly.

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