Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A tale of Three Cakes

One summer, two birthdays, three cakes. How about that for a score card?
The Pickle was most adamant about what she wanted for her school friends party, so it was only down to me to follow directions. She wanted a chocolate fudge cake, with a pink layer with fudge balls around it, a second layer with a rainbow and a candle in the shape of a six.

I decided on a recipe from the Good to Know website and it was delicious! I tried to be clever, I have never been good with standard icing (and the Pickle hates Royal icing - the stuff you buy in blocks or rolled sheets), so I bought some pink icing from Lakeland. The pink strawberry icing came as buttons in a microwavable pouch that you could heat and pour - the problem was, when we did a quick taste test, it was horrible! My only cheat was the rainbow, which I prepared on my computer and via ebay had it printed out with edible inks on a sheet of icing that I could just pop over the cake. To get the look I had to make three cakes, one for the base, one for the top and one for the rainbow. All in all, I thought that it worked really well.
The next cake was for DB's birthday a few weeks later, a day that we kept VERY simple. Just the four of us, but the Pickle declared a birthday is not a birthday without a cake. I checked with Saint Dan the patron Saint of Elasticated Waistbands, and found a great recipe. if you don't worship Dan you just must buy the book too:

It was meant to be a really simple but unctuous chocolate cake, I tackled the Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake and then fudged the Treacle chocolate fudge frosting (excuse the pun) to use up the left over condensed milk - if you are interested let me know and I will share my recipe because it worked well! Sadly it did not quite fit onto the board I had ready, so I had to get inventive. Instant car eat our heart out.

Perhaps I had been inspired by the technicolor, e-enhanced, sugar doused, mega confections on the vintage birthday book.

Finally, I had a family party to celebrate both birthdays and to get the everyone together. Loads of fun, lovely people, great food, and a very different cake. How often is cake left over? Pickle loves the idea but rarely finishes the full slice, and after a meal they can be rich and I end up by polishing the lot off after a few teething nights and then notice the spare tyre. This time I went for a three tier ice cream cake, coffee, strawberry sorbet, and vanilla with a chocolate ripple - then as I had some egg whites left over I made some meringues to decorate. Saint Dan came to the rescue again with the ice cream base and the faithful Nigel Slater supplied the strawberry sorbet recipe (he combined it with an elderflower and basil syrup but without that I doubled the recipe and wish I had made more). Oh, and then I made some choc ice bears to go on top.

The downside is that it needed to be assembled at the last moment - even if i had to allow to defrost for 1/4 hr to soften - so the effect was less pretty as I was focused more on chatting and less on making it beautiful. Guess what? It was DELICIOUS!
I have come a long way since Pickle's first birthday where I only dared make cup cakes - still a load of practice needed. Somehow nobody is complaining. :)

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