One of my closest friends is having a baby and she decided to combine her birthday party with her baby shower this year, and I offered to make a cake. Another friend who was coming was vegan, so I knew I had to make a vegan cake. I wanted to somehow incorporate the birthday and baby shower and brainstormed a few ideas to get them both into the same cake - which wasn't particularly easy!
I decided to make two layers, as I knew a lot of people were coming to the party, and that meant I could make one layer vegan and the other layer use dairy. As we didn't know if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl I decided to choose a pink and blue colourscheme, and make mini building blocks spelling out the word baby; the mum-to-be's name also has four letters so I decided to write baby on one side of the blocks and her name on the other. I also bought a spray of stars as a cake topper from an online shop.
For the bottom layer I used Delia's lemon curd cake recipe.
175g self-raising flour
175g butter, softened
1 tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon
|Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 9cm cake tin. Cream the butter and the sugar then beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour and the baking powder and add the zest and juice of one lemon.|
|Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 25 mins. Cool in the tin then on a baking rack.|
|I found the recipe for the vegan lemon cake on About.com. It was a cupcake recipe but works fine as one large cake, albeit with a longer cooking time. I also adapted the ingredients slightly to use a different type of oil.|
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup soy or almond milk
3/4 cup caster sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 7 inch baking tin. This was going to be the top layer of the cake so I needed it to be smaller than the bottom layer.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the salt. Mix in the vegetable oil and soya milk then add the caster sugar and mix well. Finally fold in the lemon juice and zest. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack.
I made a simple lemon buttercream; for the bottom layer, I creamed butter and icing sugar and added some lemon curd. For the vegan layer, I creamed Pure - a vegan margarine - with icing sugar and added lemon juice.
Split both cakes; fill the bottom layer with the buttercream and fill the top layer, which is the vegan cake, with the vegan buttercream.
To decorate the cakes, I rolled out some white ready-to-roll fondant - which helpfully also happens to be vegan. Cover both cakes separately and trim off around the edges.
Cover a cake board as well and place the larger cake on the cake board.
I wanted to make stripes going all the way around the edge of the cake but wasn't really sure how to do it. I coloured some fondant with pink and blue gel colour (I usually use Sugarflair or similar) and rolled it out. I then cut strips with a pizza cutter, measuring the width so they were all the same. I then laid the strips over the cake, alternating each colour. I went right across the cake so found that the strips built up to quite a height in the middle.
I wasn't really sure what to do about this so used a knife to carefully cut out the centre. It looked OK but I would like to know though if anyone has decorated a cake like this and what you are supposed to do?
I also found that even though the bottom cake was two inches wider than the top, by the time I had covered it in fondant there didn't seem to be much difference and the bottom cake needed to stick out a lot more. I was restricted though by the fact that I needed to put the cake in a box to carry on the train so the largest size I could make for the bottom layer was 9 inches and I didn't have a tin smaller than 7 inches for the top layer. It's a shame that having to take cakes on public transport so often restricts what I can make!
I made alphabet blocks in pink and blue with the letters 'baby' on them for the top of the cake
I also spelled out my friend's name on the other side of the blocks
Here's the spray of stars I bought, which I think looks very pretty.
I also bought two rolls of ribbon online, one saying happy birthday and the other congratulations, to combine the two occasions.
The finished cake. It's a shame the bottom layer wasn't larger but it looked quite pretty anyway and tasted very nice. I preferred the vegan layer to the regular layer!
I'm sending this to Love Cake, hosted by Ness at Jibber Jabber UK; she has chosen a theme of vintage cakes this month and I think a Delia Smith lemon cake falls under that category, even if I have given it a twist.