I made this birthday cake for my friend Alice, not that we needed more cake as we also went out for afternoon tea! But I wanted to try out a chocolate transfer sheet and review a couple of products so I thought this would be a good opportunity.
Alice is vegan so I found a suitable recipe online for a strawberry cake. Check out the Snow Child blog for the recipe. I used the cake recipe but changed the icing and decoration.
I followed the quantities in the recipe- this makes quite a big cake.
4 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-2 cups pureed strawberries
1/2 cup soya milk
I didn't use the food colouring or the strawberry extract recommended in the recipe, as I found the fresh strawberries gave a good enough colour and flavour.
Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt
Add the oil and mix well, though it will still be quite lumpy at this stage
Puree a punnet of strawberries
Mix in to the dry ingredients
Add the soya milk and mix well.
I filled two 8-inch cake pans
Make some buttercream by mixing vegan margarine such as Pure or Vitalite with icing sugar
I pureed half of another punnet of strawberries and added to the icing. However, it made the mixture far too runny and I had to add in a ton of icing sugar to make the icing stiff enough to spread and not run out of the cake!
The icing was a lovely pink colour, at least.
Spread the icing on the cake
I decided to try out a chocolate transfer sheet I bought at Cake International in November. These are acetate sheets printed with a pattern made of cocoa butter (so they are vegan). You place the sheet onto chocolate or icing and apply heat to the reverse and the pattern transfers onto the chocolate or icing. It sounded like a great idea at the time and I know people who have had success with using them on chocolate. However I don't know anyone who has managed to do it on icing... myself included!
I used some Regal-Ice ready to roll fondant Dr. Oetker sent me. A 500g packet is just the right amount to cover a cake, and it is very easy to add colour to the fondant by kneading it in. I use this kind of icing a lot, particularly for making novelty cakes.
Here I've rolled out the icing
Unfortunately when I unrolled the transfer sheet, I found it had somehow dried out and half the pattern - which was a cute strawberry print, so perfect for this cake - had flaked off, leaving semi-blank patches in the middle of the sheet. I wasn't given any information on how to store the sheet when I bought it and it was given to me rolled up, so I stored it that way in an air-tight container for a couple of months. So I was really disappointed to see what had happened to it when I unrolled it.
I decided to have a go anyway to see if it would work. I've looked on the internet and found there are three ways to apply heat to transfer the pattern: either by melting chocolate or candy melts and spreading it over the reverse, using a hairdryer, or an iron on a low heat. I know someone - who shall remain nameless - who tried the hairdryer technique and it didn't work - all that happened was the fondant melted!
I decided to place a clean teatowel over the transfer sheet and iron over it on a low heat. Bearing in mind part of the pattern was missing so I knew it wasn't going to work, I wasn't expecting much... part of the pattern did transfer, as you can see below, but the fondant did start to melt as well and it was completely unusable!
So much for that... I'd be interested to know if anyone else has used a transfer sheet on fondant and how they did it!
I decided to try a different tack and spread more of my strawberry icing over the cake (it was intentionally messy as I was going to cover it with fondant).
I took another packet of Dr.Oetker Regal-Ice and kneaded in some pink food colouring so I had a large piece of pink fondant, and covered the whole cake. I used the offcuts to quickly roll some simple roses to go on top.
I used a letter set to indent my friend's name around the front of the cake, and used a leaf plunger cutter with some green fondant to make leaves to accompany the roses.
I was quite pleased with this cake in the end despite it all going a bit wrong initially. I am a total convert to vegan cakes as this tasted lovely!
I'm sending this to Bake Fest as their theme this month is eggless vegetarian bakes. The challenge is hosted by Nivedhanam and Vardhini at Cook's Joy.
I'm also sending this to Celebrate Summer, hosted by Nivedhanam and Jagruti ; the theme is vegetarian recipes with no eggs.