28 November 2013

Who Likes Cake?

In the last year my friends have realised that I like to bake. I'm not saying I should be on The Great British Bake Off or anything - although that would be awesome!! I'm just saying I like try to do something a bit more exciting when I make a cake. I'd like to prove the misconception wrong, that student actually can cook! Here are a collection of some of the ones I've made this year (all in a student kitchen with no electric mixers). They're not as good as the ones on Cake Boss (such an amazing TV show) but I think they were enough of definitely a challenge!

Going in time order, one of my closest friends, Beth, decided she would make her first ever cake as a birthday present to me. Although I rather ungratefully called it a Hagrid cake (it looks remarkably similar to the one Harry Potter gets in The Philosopher's Stone) it's tasted pretty good and I ate a fair amount of it for breakfast for about a week.
So I in return promised to make Beth a cake for her birthday. I know that she's a big fan of animals and especially horses so I decided I would try and make her a horse shaped cake. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and then just went for it. 

One video I watched suggested drawing around a picture of a horse and creating a shape guide on baking paper which I could then secure on the top of the cake with pins and carve around. I thought this was a clever idea as there is no way I could freehand cut a cake into a horse shape. 

For the icing I did two layers of crumb coating (basically buttercream used to make the cake surface smooth and without crumbs) and then used shop-bought roll-out icing. Since making the cake I found out that to colour roll-out icing you should use a colour paste rather than liquid food colouring as it makes the colour much more intense. For the mane I used a weird cheese grater contraption that my mum had bought me, very similar to a playdough machine. Overall, I was pretty happy with this cake, although as my first time with roll-out icing, it was very stressful. 

Following on from this, another friend, Harriet, asked me to make her a birthday cake. For this is resorted to a trusty favourite of mine, which I made similarly for my own 18th birthday, a princess cake. 

The crumb coating for this is particularly important as you don't want crumbs in the outer layer of the skirt. You also need to cling film your doll and make a hole for her to stand up in. For this I used a cup. I pushed down in the centre, went through the 4 layers of cake, twisted and pulled out the centre pieces.

The icing for this is entirely buttercream and a tip I learnt to make the surface extra smooth is to use a strip of paper and run it over the cake , drawing upwards and taking off the excess icing. To finish, decorate the skirt and make a top with an unusual nozzle in your piping bag (preferably with a different colour icing). 

Another of my closest friends, Charly, had her 21st birthday this September so I decided to make her a cake too. I had a couple of ideas, perhaps a hockey playing top with her number on the back, but I decided on something involving her as an image. My initial plan was to make her whole head out of cake, but I quickly realised that this might be a bit too difficult and so instead I ended up making a rectangular cake with her face made out of icing. This was my return to roll-out icing! But with the right colouring this time it was a lots quicker in that respect, but the size and hand moulding made it pretty hard work. 
I also decided this time to change my cake to passion fruit flavour rather than plain sponge. This was tricky as passion fruit isn't a particularly strong flavoured fruit and can be pricey! I went for adding tropical juice to the mixture as well in the hope to get an more exotic flavour. Edible glitter on top was just a final touch to make it look a bit more special.

Like I said at the start, I am no cake making expert like Mary Berry. I just enjoy taking on the challenge of something new and unusual. If you want to know how exactly to make any of these cakes you can either contact me samanthablundell007@gmail.com or watch a some videos on the internet. All I've learnt from cake making has come from watching YouTude videos, taking hints and tips from frequent cakes makers and through my own trial and error. Why not watch some videos yourself and give cake making a try? It doesn't have to be someone's birthday! It can just be for you! 

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