Having two ready made granddaughters is certainly pushing me out of my cake-decorating comfort zone! When my two were young I always made their cakes but I had a few books they could pick from which then had the instructions on how to create it. I made all sorts, ponies, gymnastics, football, fairy toadstool, fairy castle…I still maintain the theory that the kids really aren’t bothered if it’s not picture perfect, they are just happy that you bothered to make it instead of the easier option of buying one.
These days the children peruse on the internet instead, which is fine, but Grandma doesn’t then have the instructions! Earlier in the year I had traumas over a purple ombre cake for the eldest granddaughter…
Of course it all came out fine in the end and work colleagues were happy to have the funny coloured rejects with their morning coffee!
It was the youngest’s birthday this week and she chose a princess cake, it was tall with a pink crown on top and pastel coloured frills round the sides. Earlier in the week I made three sponge cakes in pink, blue and purple and popped them in the freezer. A tip I learnt last time was to freeze the cakes and decorate them frozen as it’s much easier to decorate a firm cake.
First task was to make the crown, I needed to give it plenty of time to harden. I’d bought some pink flower/modelling icing from Sainsbury’s, standard fondant icing doesn’t set hard enough. I needed something to shape it round. Ideally it would have been a gentle cone shape, but I couldn’t find anything. In the end I used a large ramekin balanced precariously on an upside down bowl! I made a template, cut it out and fortuitously my OH came home just at the right moment as it was quite fiddly to position it around the wobbly bowl. I left it to dry overnight and the next morning the points on my crown stood up fine if a little unevenly…
This is the only in progress photo I took. As you can see I stacked all the cakes on top of each other and positioned them towards the back of the pink cake board. My local cake decorating shop (Dodgsons in Otley) have just started stocking these coloured cake boards, I think they’re fab! The bottom half of the cake is how it all looked after the first layer of buttercream, I think the icing was a bit thick! I made some softer butter cream and smoothed the top and the top half of the sides. Dipping my palette knife in hot water helped to smooth it too. I put a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands on the top before it dried.
The next bit was the fiddly bit! On the sides there were several rows of frilled icing with the frills pointing upwards. This meant I had to start at the top and work down, hoping that the rows didn’t slip whilst I was preparing the next row! There were two rows of each colour, pink yellow, blue and purple. I coloured the icing and then rolled it out into a long strip, cut it in half lengthways and then thinned the top edge with my fingers. I have to say it was very fiddly putting it in place! Luckily rows slipping down the cake didn’t seem to be a problem, however the cake also got wider and wider at the bottom as the rows overlapped each other!
Whilst I had the pink rolled out I used some leftovers to make some pink roses and leftovers of blue were coloured with a bit of yellow to make green leaves.
The crown was meant to slide nicely off the ramekin I’d made it round. Unfortunately it clearly wasn’t going anywhere in one piece. So what do you do with a crown that has a ramekin in the middle…you fill it with pink sweets! I went into Otley to an old fashioned sweet shop and bought lots of pink hearts and space ships, both chosen as they were pink and light weight!
The hearts were just shaped fondant icing with a layer of lustre powder on to give them a bit of a sheen. The number 7 is a cake sparkler which I also spotted at Dodgsons. When her mum brought the alphabet cutters round we realised they were too big to put her full name on (Harriet) so instead we put her nickname of Moo, apparently short for mouse as she was tiny and quiet as a baby!
They were all delighted with the cake and hopefully it tasted OK too!