There are a few things I really love about baking a cake despite being a total amateur and first up is planning. I am a total knowledge junkie so research just makes me happy. I spend hours thinking about what cake/ filling/ icing/ colours/ patterns and scrolling through pictures of cakes on Google to get ideas about what colours go together, how things are going to stand or what the perfect recipe would be. Seriously people, this can fill up the back of my mind for months! Um, I may be a bit obsessed but it’s better thinking about cake at 2am when you wake up than thinking there may be a zombie crawling up the stairs. No more zombie films before bed for now me thinks.
Moving swiftly on, they next little joy is shopping, see there’s one you can all get! Almost everything I buy, I get online. The Craft Company are brilliant actually (shameless advertising? maybe but I don’t have to spend 3/4 of an hour trying to find parking). Andit’s cheaper, I know that shops have rent to pay but twice the price? The cost of living in London I guess. I normally order in the mornings so everything turns up the next day! I love opening things like any good kid at heart still does and even when I know exactly what’s coming, I still get all excited. Boxes get delivered to work, my phone at my desk goes and the receptionist downstairs inform me of a lovely little box waiting for me so I bound downstairs to pick it up like my christmas present has arrived. Of course they know what it is and I get asked what I’m baking next and who it’s for etc. The receptionists are great, I get a ‘heads up’ every time the Book People are selling cakey books or if there is a recipe in one of the latest Alright magazine or whatever it’s called that they think I would like. Then of course, after that social loveliness, I GET NEW TOYS! I buy cake boxes for the cakes I make for people because yeah, it looks professional (and yeah I can dream) but I think it’s expected, a cake comes in a cake box right? So why do things by half? I’m also slowly building up the collection of cake pans and my excuse to buy those dinky, dotty mini cupcake cases? Trial tastings, Oooof!
Lauren’s cake I’ve kind of known about for a while and she has actually told me that she wanted a topsy-turvy cake which, as much as I would have loved doing, for 5 people it did seem a bit much. I do know however that she has a thing for red velvet cake and I’m ashamed to say I’d never tried it. In my research (yay) I found this recipe from an American site called Diva’s Can Cook, seeing as it’s meant to be a Southern recipe (and the hoards of comments about how amazing it tasted) I gave it a shot. I have a new-found love affair with swiss meringue buttercream so I made a cream cheese version to go with it. The cake was amazing but the icing was a bit too cheesy, it needed to be sweeter so I opted for a standard cream cheese and icing sugar version which worked a treat. The cake I had in my head to make though was blue and chocolate-brown so blue velvet cake seemed the most logical, well until I’d used that recipe and blue dye in varying amounts resulting in a kitchen full of various shades of green cake, one lot actually looked black! Fail… Chocolate cake it was then, I still used the recipe just without any dye for a chocolate-brown cake. By the way, I’m still trying to shift all the green cake, any takers?
Very early Sunday in the AM, I made 4 thin 6″ cakes and leveled them, whipped up some icing and iced the cake. The icing was actually a bit of a ‘fluke as you go’ kind of thing, crusting buttercream recipes normally have about 3 times the icing sugar to butter and cream cheese icing in most cases has half the amount of the cream cheese used of butter aswell so it ended up as 100g cream cheese, 50g butter, 450g of icing sugar and roughly 100g or so of melted white chocolate for sweetness, hopefully meaning it won’t just be Lauren eating it (cream cheese icing, blergh). I’d made 2 lots of marshmallow fondant (ark at me ) one blue, one chocolate coloured on friday night so when I got in last night, I was all set to work away decorating. Now you know I said I planned things pretty much to a T? Well here’s my confession, although I do, once it comes to about an hour before decorating, I forget most of what I had planned and cherry pick from the few ideas/memories left in near empty skull and do stuff. Sometimes it results in something really cool, mostly I’m not exactly happy. This particular cake was finalised in detail on a sketch on a post it note on my desk yesterday lunch time and I ended up leaving work with the post it still there. So this is what I did instead. I went a bit mad with the blossoms, I wanted them to gradually peter out towards the top and have them kind of inverted colours with the cake and border but I did it the whole way round, only getting to my work desk this morning did I realise my sketch just had them on one side. Overkill much? Well this is the result. The larger flowers were cut out with a five petal rose cutter with smaller blossoms on and the ’18′ are stuck in with toothpicks, here’s hoping they don’t droop! From now on I think I’m going to have to hang a notepad round my neck at all times and buy a decent camera. Anyway, here’s cake No.7. Happy 18th Birthday Lauren!