When I attempted to tip the cake out of the cake tin on Saturday afternoon, and it didn’t just ‘slip’ out onto my wire rack I knew I was in trouble. Everyone’s recommendations of outsourcing, or buying from Woolies came crashing back to me, not helped by the fact that Harper told me, very loudly, that her Birthday cake was RUINED. So I scraped it out, let it cool down, then wrapped it up and whacked it in the fridge until Sunday morning. The Birthday girl and her sister exited stage left early with Rob to nippers so I had the place to myself. I had coffee. I had music. I had space. It was time to create Peppa.
The cake was packet. Yep! Two packets of plain vanilla. I baked them together in a rectangle (stupidly sticky) slice tin. which gave me a good blank canvas to work with. I think that freezing the cake would even make it better for the icing – but for me the overnight fridge did the trick too.
To start with, I looked online at pictures of Peppa. Not cakes, just images from the show. I got myself a piece of A3 paper and I free drew a picture. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t to scale, but it was home-made and that’s the POINT of making a birthday cake for your kid. It’s made with love. I drew Peppa and then cut her out.
I then placed the cut out on the cake and started to carve the cake out around the stencil of my dodgy drawing.
For the icing I used fondant. Or fucking fondant as it became known to me 30 minutes later. This is only the third time I have used this stuff – and the first time I created my own colours using white and food colouring. I just used the ones you can buy at the supermarket in the cake decorating aisle – they have plain white ones, or ones that come in 3 packs (red, yellow and black). I’m sure if you went to a cake decorating place you would be able to get any colour under the sun! I created two kinds of pink – a lighter for her face, darker for her cheeks and smile – and then red for her dress, black and white for the eyes and shoes. Yellow for a sun in the corner. I had visions of green grass in the background and blue for the sky – but time and skill stopped me from creating this. I added a drop of food colouring and then kneaded and kneaded, using icing sugar to make sure it didn’t stick.
I used a plain butter icing (icing sugar and butter with a dash of milk) to layer between the cake and the fondant – to help it stick and to make it taste yummy too.
I then rolled out the coloured fondant in sections, laid it over the cake, pushing it down around the ears, tucking it in almost and then trimmed the excess. I did this for the face and dress then used the extra fondant to roll into long, thin sausages to make the outline that the illustrators use when drawing Peppa. I cut out the eyes and cheeks with a small scone cutter and then just free formed the rest – using left over butter icing drops to help it stick (Mum said I should have just used water). Dodgy and home-made like.
When it was done I squealed and clapped my hands – even though I was alone – I was stoked with it! As I said, a little rough around the edges, but that’s the point right? I was also told that I could have created a simple sugar syrup and brushed it over to give the cake more of a shine rather than the dusty look of mine (given that I was rolling the fondant in icing sugar to keep it from sticking). Smarties make EVERYTHING better too right?
When Harper returned back, ready for her party, and I saw her little face and heard her say “You did it Mum!” it made it worth every stuck piece of fondant, every stained finger. She loved it, and so did I.
Got any home-made cake decorating tips?