Last year a friend asked me to make her Dad’s 70th birthday cake in February. Can you believe that there are only 3 days left in February? I definitely can’t. But it means I have made my second cake in 2015! And this cake came with its challenges!
I love how with each cake I seem to learn something new, or need to research a new technique or a solution to an issue. I always ask my family or friend what they would like the cake to look like and this time my friend came back with quite a specific cake – a blue 7 and a yellow rugby ball as a zero so it looked like a 70. The blue and yellow were to be the colours of Nedlands Rugby Union Football Club. That didn’t sound too bad until she mentioned that it was for approximately 60 people!
My biggest dilemma was how to make a 7 and a rugby ball feed 60 people. I went into Cake Tinz and Things and they had cake tins for a 7 and an American rugby ball, but looking at the tins they looked like two normal sized cakes, in other words would feed about 15-20 people. So I asked the lady what I should do to turn the cake into one that fed 60 people – would I need to put the 7 and rugby ball on a slab of cake? She said 7 and ball would feed 30 (coffee* serve) and that I would just need to make a 7 inch square cake for the additional 40 servings – I have learnt this spare cake is called a ‘kitchen cake’. A kitchen cake is an undecorated cake that looks exactly like your cake when cut and is cheaper than a decorated cake. By also making a kitchen cake, it would save me from the hassle of using cake supports in a stacked cake. But what would my friend think? And would she be happy with coffee serves?
I gave my friend 3 options and she decided on dessert* serves and she was happy to have a square kitchen cake too and asked for a birthday message on it as well. With the 7 cake I also decided to carve it from a large square tin, because I didn’t think the 7 tin looked very wide and I also wanted to ensure the height of the 7 matched the length of the rugby ball. I would like to thank Tanya from Coxie’s Cakes for suggesting that! So my next challenge was baking, carving and covering!
*Coffee Size: 1 inch x 1 inch x 4 inches (2.5cm x 2.5cm x 10cm)
*Dessert Size: 1 inch x 2 inches x 4 inches (2.5cm x 5cm x 10cm)
I was very happy with the baking and carving. I was surprised I carved the 7 so straight! And I also carved a layer under the rugby ball tin cake and shaped it like an actual ball. The covering of the rugby ball was also a success and I was happy with how smooth it was – until 30 minutes later when a bubble appeared in the fondant with a diameter of approx. 7 cm! I couldn’t believe it. So I pricked it and tried to squish the air out and it didn’t look too bad. But then a little while later another bubble appeared! This time when I pricked it the air wouldn’t come out so I tried to smooth the air out of the bottom of the fondant, but it caused creases in the fondant. A frown appeared on my face! As this was happening I was also trying to cover the 7, which of course had issues itself – it was hard to get a smooth fondant covering on the inside of the 7 without splitting the fondant. I was so close, but no cigar. I got a tear in the fondant. I think at this stage I decided to put my feet up because they were killing me. When I got back up there was another bubble in my rugby ball! It was well past bedtime and I couldn’t stay up all night popping air bubbles, and I couldn’t leave the bubble overnight because the fondant would harden and wouldn’t be pliable – so I cut a slit into the bubble. I got all the air out, but it didn’t look pretty at all. I left it to morning to sort out.
When I was first imagining these cakes I was unsure how to ensure the yellow rugby ball would be identified as a rugby union ball. So I Googled – my saviour. What did we do before Google? And decided I would make it a Gilbert brand, which is the brand used by Nedlands Rugby Union FC. To keep it to theme I put blue strips on the ball – the strips are wider than the actual balls, but it sure hid the bubble flaws well! I thought the ball turned out quite well. Phew!
The 7 was a bit of a dilemma. I was unsure whether I should leave flaws on the 7, or try to cover it with a square on fondant – which would identify I didn’t do the best fondant covering. I finally opted for the square covering and depending on the angle you look at the cake, it wasn’t terrible. I can say it was a huge relief when the cakes were picked up! I also got a lovely message from my friend when she saw it – I was so relieved! But yesterday I saw a photo of the cake and the fondant looked a little worse for wear on the outside of the 7! Ahhh!! My friend and her hubbie still seemed so happy, and her hubbie even said the cake was “created by the ever so excellent cake creating master sculptor funky icing artisan Michelle”… how nice is that!?
So I learned some new terms about cakes, I had some happy friends but I also had left-over cake! I was having lunch with an old friend on Monday so I decided to make a simple cake and I put some Viking Helmets on it – for two reasons, the first being my friend’s sons (‘B’ and ‘C’) love Horrible Histories so I thought Vikings would go down well, and the second reason being that one of my sister’s friends has asked me to make a Viking cake in March. I am so excited! I love Vikings, so I had Vikings on the mind and thought a couple of helmets would be cute. My friend’s boys loved the cake and the helmets and they even put the little helmet on their heads! Seeing kids loving my cakes and hearing my friends really appreciating my efforts makes the long nights, stresses and sore feet worth it! So here is to some exciting cakes in my the near future! I also hope you have some things to look forward to in your lives, it is so important to have something to look forward to – it is a key to happiness! That and cake is also a key to happiness!