Tag Archives: icing

In deep waters

27 Oct

Canoe cake

And so we begin cake number three.

Having taken a bite out of the burger of success, I was sure that this cake making business was plain sailing. I couldn’t have been more wrong – I was just about to hit troubled waters…

With this cake I was challenging myself, not only was I going to attempt the infamous royal icing, I was also going to attempt to carve and ice a ‘non-standard’ cake.

My friend Steve kayaks, so the obvious cake was a kayaking cake (although I do believe this is more like a canoe). “Easy!” I thought, “Just cut down the sides, then slide the icing on. Bob’s your uncle.”

Bob, however, is most definitely not my uncle. This was hard. Cutting the cake was shockingly hard and crumbly (I should have left it to cool for longer really, but patience is not my strong point!). Icing it was also a little taxing, but I got there in the end and, using one of the most tried and tested methods of cake decoration, I set about covering my mistakes with various adornments.

Namely rocks and water. As you can see, my first attempt at royal icing wasn’t quite thick enough, so I didn’t get the true choppy effect. But it was OK….

And so I continued with constructing what lovingly became known as “Half Ton Steve”. He is a little fat in this cake. For the sake of Steve I would like to confirm it isn’t in any way to scale. This was the first person I’d made, and to all accounts I didn’t do too bad a job. He looks a little like he might benefit from some extra tuition, but good on him, he’s made it into the canoe and is paddling away in shockingly shallow waters.

There you have it – happy EXTREME birthday Steve! I need to improve my cake writing as well…

As you can all see this wasn’t the most successful of my cakes, but I was happy I’d tried out a few of the more difficult ‘caking’ techniques. I thought a good way to show my progress at this point was with a Cake-O-Graph:

Here, we see that although the overall finished quality of the cake has reduced, the skill level required has increased. There is also a definite improvement in both quality and skills since the bowling cake. This is an entirely self-rated Cake-O-Graph and I will happily take comments and ratings in these categories. If you would like to see more categories please let me know, the Cake-O-Graph is a (semi-)interactive product. Watch out for it in all future blog posts!


My First Cake

10 Oct



Sponge cake designed into a bowling alley

My very first cake!


As I mentioned in my earlier post, my first cake was for my housemate (Rachel)’s 23rd birthday. She was having a very retro bowling party, so the obvious cake was a bowling alley!

I began by baking a lovely sponge (Delia Smith’s all-in-one is always a winner) and filling it with some scrummy buttercream and jam. Then to the task of icing the cake, and the start of what one might class as a comedy of errors. I only had white rolling icing, so I had to colour it brown (for the alley), but this was not as easy as I’d hoped – the icing was pretty hard and I didn’t get a very even coverage. (see above). Why not? Apparently, I wasn’t massaging the colouring into the icing enough.But it all adds to the effect of wood I told myself. Then I realised (just a little too late) that I’d iced the wrong side of the cake – you wouldn’t get very far bowling down that! As my mum informed me later, I should have flipped the cake over so it had the smooth bottom as the top. Rookie mistake.

Carrying on in the face of cake adversity, I moved on to the lanes – drawing the markers and lines with my best freehand. Those who knew me in art class can vouch for my prowess (or lack thereof) in this form of artistry. Nevertheless, I separated my lanes with a gutter made from two ‘sausages’ of black icing and created some amazing bowling balls to try an disguise some of my mishaps. Finally, I made some smashing bowling pins using a mould which I wedged firmly into the cake with cocktail sticks.

As you can see, I had no cake boards, and so made excellent use of my bread board. The lessons from this cake? A lot of ‘What not to do’s! But it went down well, and tasted great (even if I do say so myself)… Here’s to the next one!

Sponge cake, side on, in the style of a bowling alley

First cake, from the side