Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Pink and black polka dot shoe birthday cake



So you might have seen the shoes I made from Mexican paste at a recent cake decorating class - I made them in black and pink as I had already decided those would be the colours of my birthday cake. I also decided I wanted a two-tier cake so there would be plenty to go around, though I needn't have worried as we had plenty of cake in the end!

I thought the cake I made for my boyfriend's birthday was such a success that I would do a similar thing again. So I decided to make the Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Fudge cake as the bottom layer - you can find the recipe here or in the Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Recipes book. As I made it and blogged about it in the previous post, I won't repeat it again here, other than to say that it's really yummy!

For the top layer I decided to do something different and chose Dan Lepard's Easy Chocolate Birthday Cake which I found on the BBC Food website.

It was very simple to make but I liked the sound of the ingredients including double cream, sunflower oil which I thought would make it very moist, and four eggs. However I tend to prefer chocolate cakes that contain melted chocolate and this one used cocoa powder.

You melt the butter in a pan and mix with most of the wet and dry ingredients, then add the milk and cream


Then add the flour and baking powder. I found it made quite a runny mixture which is always nice.


Bake in the oven.... you cover the top with foil initially then remove it later in the cooking process.


So when it came to assembling the cake, I took the bottom layer - the Green & Black's chocolate cake - that I had left to cool, and used my cake wire to split it neatly in half.

Unfortunately it wasn't quite as cool as I thought. When I split the cake, the inside was still quite warm and soft but in my impatience - as I still had a whole birthday party to prepare with just a few hours left to go - I decided to lift the bottom layer anyway to put it onto the cake board. At which point it promptly broke into four pieces!


I wasn't put off by this minor crisis and decided to sit the pieces back together and use this as the bottom layer; I carefully spread frosting (my own recipe of melted 75% dark chocolate, butter and icing sugar) over the top and carefully placed the other half of the cake on top. I don't think you can tell from this picture that it's broken!


When I made my boyfriend's cake I tried to cover the two layers at once with white fondant, and realised it would have been a lot easier if I had covered one layer at a time. So I decided that's what I would do this time, and got out my pink fondant to cover the bottom cake.

However I don't think it was really turning out to be my day! I had bought the bright pink fondant a few months earlier for a cake that I didn't end up making. While the fondant was well within its best before date, when I took it out of the packet I found it was already a little dry. I discarded some of the dryer icing around the edges and kneaded the remaining lump for as long as I could bear.


When I covered the cake, a few cracks immediately appeared, and as the fondant dried out, even more cracks appeared.


It looked fine from a distance but close up you can see there were some really bad patches. In future I'll try to use fondant almost as soon as I buy it!


I also covered the second, smaller chocolate cake and placed it on the top. It looked like it really needed something....

Luckily I had already planned to make the cake a polka dot pattern, so while I couldn't quite hide any mistakes as well as with my boyfriend's cow print cake, I did still have the opportunity to cover a few of the biggest cracks.

I had recently bought a cupcake plunger, to be used when filling cupcakes - you place the plunger over the cupcake, push it down, and pull the handle up, leaving you with a nicely shaped hole in the middle of your cupcake to fill with whatever you want. I hadn't got around to trying it out on a cupcake yet, but decided it was the perfect size and shape to cut circles out of black fondant to make the polka dots.




I used a little edible glue to stick the circles onto the cake - I think it gives a really nice effect. I also found some spotty ribbon that I had left over from something else and decided it would be perfect to hide the joins in the fondant!


I placed the shoes and a sort of pink feather thing that I bought a while ago on a whim on top of the cake. The shoes are slightly the wrong colour pink and look a bit small in comparison to the cake but I was quite pleased with the finished effort!


Here's a close up of the top... I love these shoes! They were made using the Jem shoe cutter set, as described in my earlier post.




Instead of candles on the cake I had mini sparklers! Happy birthday to me :-)


25 comments:

  1. brilliant. you are sooo good at baking.

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    1. Thank you! It wasn't my best ever cake but it tasted pretty good, especially the bottom layer.

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  2. It looks like the sugarpaste was past its best doesn't it although I'm quite surprised if it was sealed up in the bag. I am so limp wristed I hate kneading fondant, especially when it's a kilo or more for a big cake!

    Stuff I've learned working with sugarpaste is that you keep it sealed in the bag until the very last moment you use it and when you roll it out you work very quickly with it to avoid cracks and further drying. Using too much icing sugar to roll out will dry it out even more. Rubbing vegetable fat into your hands before kneading sugarpaste helps and when you actually get it over the cake, don't make it too thin as that's more likely to get cracks and wherever you have blemishes just be patient and keep rubbing it with your fingers until it smooths out. Hope that helps.

    The design and colour scheme for the cake looks wonderful!

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    1. Thanks for the tips, and I'm glad you like the cake! I think I do use a lot of icing sugar when I roll out fondant as I find it sticks very easily to my work surface or rolling pin. Next time I won't use quite so much and will see if it helps!

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    2. I have had this problem when buying icing off the internet and find - as sarah mentions - vegetable fat on my hands when kneading and kneading a little through at a time doesn't change the taste but gives it a little more elasticity! I also roll out with corn flour instead of icing sugar which prevents it from sticking to the rolling pin x it still looks good x

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    3. Thank you! I was told to use icing sugar for rolling out fondant and cornflour for rolling out Mexican paste I think but I might try it for fondant as well. Can't hurt!

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  3. Happy Birthday Caroline!!! The cake looks really good with all the cute polka dots and the shoes on top. You've really put in so much hard work and m glad that in the end, the cake turned out great.
    Happy Bday once again and have a wonderful "bday week" :D

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    1. Thank you! It really is a birthday week - I had a party last Saturday so got presents then and am not seeing my parents until this Saturday so will get more presents then! And I'm still eating leftover cake!

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  4. Wow - that cake looks absolutely AMAZING!!! Well done Caroline! I have kind of given up on the whole teach-myself-cake-decorating thing since the cakes either don't get eaten or the kids leave the lids off the boxes so they go stale and can't be eaten... Also, I really HATE getting my hands all sticky and you just can't do the job properly with blue vinyl gloves on (some of us have latex allergies)

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    1. Thank you! I know what you mean about getting sticky, and anyway it's more about what the cakes taste like than what they look like. I've just been experimenting recently as I've been doing a cake decorating course!

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  5. Happy Birthday (again!) It was a very delicious cake - the bottom layer, the Green & Black layer was my favourite. I love the pink polka dot theme and I think the shoes look great! I will be blogging about my shoe cupcakes tomorrow (hopefully) or later this week.

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    1. Glad you liked it, and thanks again for your amazing bakes!

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  6. Happy birthday Caroline & what a lovely cake with pretty color! Love the shoe, look so cute! Have a lovely day, dear! :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm having a whole birthday week - party with my friends on Saturday, amazing dinner with my boyfriend on Sunday, meal with my family this Saturday and day out at Beaulieu with them on Sunday :-) And my boyfriend bought me the pink Kitchenaid!

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    2. Wow! What an awesome birthday week! And a PINK Kitchenaid too! Fantastic ! Have a lovely weekend & many happy returns! HUGS! :)

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  7. Happy belated birthday! a birthday week sounds amazing - haha! You got the pink Kitchenaid??? super jeal! Unfortunately I got my Kitchenaid back in the day when pink wasn't available otherwise I would have definitely picked pink! (or maybe the purple one that they have brought out more recently) did you get the hot pink or baby pink? I love your hot pick icing, even if it proved a bit tricky to work with and your polka dot idea was genius - I love polka dots almost as much as I love cupcakes so I thought it was great! and the polka dot ribbon really added to it as well. The shoes are so clever too!

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    1. Thank you for the lovely comments! I got the baby pink Kitchenaid, I think it's limited edition and have a horrible feeling my boyfriend had to pay more to get that colour - they're so expensive as it is! I haven't even had time to read the instructions let alone use it yet but I'm looking forward to trying it out!

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  8. ARE YOU PEOPLE ALL DELUSIONAL??????????
    MY EYES HAVE NEVER BEEN SO SHOCKED IN MY LIFE TIME!!!!
    PEOPLE PLEASE STOP LYING TO THIS WOMAN, IF IT LOOKS LIKE THAT HOW DOES IT TASTE????? OR MAYBE YOUR TASTE BUDS ARE AS SCREWED UP LIKE YOUR EYES!!!!!! PLEASE GO FOR EXTRA EXTRA REAL CLASSES ... BECAUSE YOU NEED IT!!!!!!

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    1. Clearly you have never tried to ice a cake without being taught, as Caroline has said she is a novice. She has shown her cake as it is, and even pointed out where it has not gone to plan; that is a blogger with integrity which is clearly more than you have.

      You haven't even the decency to put your name to this comment. Shame on you, this is a very decent effort by Caroline, she has taken time and trouble over it and a lot of people would be rightly proud of and enjoy this cake.

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    2. And also you clearly haven't worked with sugar paste and realise how painstaking of a process it can be. I do hope you don't judge anything by first appearances. Looking at the recipe and the pictures, I can bet my money on it that the cake tastes moist and tasty and yes it does look great!!!

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    3. Susan and Baking elements: Thanks to you both for your comments. I honestly don't mind if people think my cakes are rubbish, they are entitled to their own opinions. And as you say I never pretended to be professional or perfect - this blog is about my baking experiences which includes the slightly less successful cakes. There is no need for person to be so rude, but it's actually quite funny- the capital letters and string of exclamation marks made me laugh, and if someone gets this hysterical over just a cake, I wonder what they are like the rest of the time! And for the record, it actually tasted really nice :-)

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  9. In my experience pre coloured sugar paste is invariably a disaster. Look up Fair Cake on Facebook, I can really recommend one of their course for learning how to do it yourself.

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Thank you for your comment, all feedback is appreciated - even the negative! However due to a lot of spam comments on this blog I have had to turn on captcha. If you have problems leaving a comment please email me at caroline@carolinemakes.net