I don’t often make decorated cakes, but with my mother’s 80th birthday coming I knew that something special would be expected. Let me just say that my mother is a superb baker and cake decorator and has won competitions through the ScottishWomen’s Rural Institutes (the Scottish equivalent of the WI).
I picked up a copy of March, Making Cakes and Bakes for a bit of inspiration and, not only found the Easter Cake by Izzy Pink which inspired the design of the cake, but also a little feature article on Meadowsweet Flowers. Meadowsweet Flowers sell crystallised flowers for cake decoration and as my Mum loves adding edible flowers to salads and is particularly fond of the little ‘faces’ of pansies and violas, I ordered a mixed box of violas to decorate the cake.
The flowers come beautifully and carefully packaged, in fact they are double boxed and all arrived intact. I dare say if I had had more time I could have made my own, but it was lovely to be able to get them like this.
I made the cake last weekend and froze it so I could get straight to decorating today. I used the Vanilla Birthday Cake from Jo Wheatley’s book ‘A Passion for Baking’. As you can see one of the sponges had a little bit of damage, but you would never know by the time I had finished! I sieved some of my mixed berry jam and spread it onto one of the sponges.
I covered the other sponge with white chocolate buttercream (recipe also in March Making Cakes and Bakes) and placed it on top of the sponge with jam. Then covered the top and sides with the buttercream. You will see that I have managed to resurrect my mother-in-law’s Kenwood Chef. I got it checked out and it technically it is absolutely fine, I was told that it just needed to be used regularly! So I’m doing my best.
I warmed my palette knife in hot water to smooth off the buttercream ready for the fondant.
I was amazed at the difference it made to have proper ‘icing smoothers’ borrowed from my friend Rachel of Rachel’s Cakes. I’ll definitely be getting my own now.
I am not well practiced at piping and writing in icing. I had a little practice and then decided to go for it! When I had finished I was quite shaky, I just didn’t want to mess up after all that work.
Aren’t those flowers just gorgeous? I made the leaves from green fondant last weekend and left them to dry out during the week, that worked well. The leaves and flowers were fixed with royal icing made from the ready made mix from Sugar and Crumbs which makes it easy to make up small amounts.
Now all I have to do it transport it to my mother and wish her happy birthday.