Sunday, 1 July 2012

Swimming party cake

Welcome to my baking blog. This is where I'll post my baking successes and failures, show off my wares and publish my favourite recipes. It's also where you will (eventually) see the bakers I love and aspire to be and some of my very talented friends' handiwork. I'll probably be asking for advice too.

In an ideal world I would do this for a living, but I'm currently studying to be a lawyer as there's more call for that than for cakes. But who knows what will happen in the future. If nothing else I could be one of the TV-type professionals with a hidden hobby. The baking lawyer! I'd like to be played by Cate Blanchett please.

So to kick off, my most recent cake. I don't usually post cakes online until the child in question has seen it but as I doubt I'll have a large following by 3pm this afternoon, I think I'm safe.

Stella is a classmate of my son's, and she's having a swimming party for her sixth birthday. She originally asked for Moshi Monsters but I'm quite uncomfortable doing character cakes, especially as I can't help feeling that I may as well have bought mass-produced cake topper. So I offered Stella the swimming party option and luckily she loved the idea.

This meant I could use my imagination, go where the icing took me and have more space to change and invent things. I started with the pool - I've been there before and seen the huge inflatable octopus they use for parties, so that was my starting point.

The birthday girl is blonde so I based my main character on her. My characters are simple to the extreme - I like to call them an homage to Trumpton - but simple hair and skin colour does the job fine.

My floating girl on the lilo just happened - I mucked about with icing and she appeared. I made the lilo just for her. A little boy leaning against the edge of the pool and a pair of legs disappearing under the water made it crowded enough to give the impression of a party. The beach ball took more work than I'd thought - if I need to make three identically sized balls again, I'll measure cubes of icing before rolling them. The water rings were fun to do, and easy too, and gave me the perfect place to put Stella's name. Likewise, I bent a "noodle" (long foam floats for the uninitiated) into the shape of a 6. My favourite detail is the towel for some reason.

To make the pool itself I cut a square into the centre of the top layer before icing, and kind of gouged it out. If I did it again, I would completely cut the square out and slice it neatly with a long knife, but fondant hides a multitude of messy bits, and the taste is no different - and still the most important part.

A few tiles cut into the surround and then it was just a case of arranging my props, the best bit of any cake.

One note: Can you get long cake boards, or is it better to cover thick card in foil? In this case, because I know the mum, I used my large cake carrier but that wouldn't be a solution for future commissions. I could do with some advice from the more experienced on cake boards and boxes and how best to transport them.

I'll be posting some of my older cakes soon, some because I'm proud, others because they didn't go how I wanted them and mistakes are as valuable as failures. Not monetarily, obviously, but still.

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