Some guys I work with are off to Sweden for an Arctic Biathlon, to raise money for charity - which involves teams competing in husky sledding, ice fishing, orienteering in low light and so on. It sounds like a really tough challenge!
To raise money they held a bake sale at work and even though I wasn't going to be around that day (apparently I missed some people dressed up as polar bears) I offered to make them a cake. I saw a cake last year that made me want to bake a cake shaped like an igloo and this was the perfect time!
I used this recipe from Tesco to make the cake itself, though I decorated it differently. It makes a large cake, that I cooked in a 2 litre Pyrex bowl; the cooking time was pretty accurate and the cake turned out well.
I did have to level the top (or bottom rather) as it rose quite a lot:
I thought that even if it was quite a moist cake it would be a lot to eat without any filling so I split the cake through the middle and filled with some chocolate buttercream.
I didn't have any doughnuts and while I thought Tesco's cake looked good, I thought it would actually be quite tricky to make without ending up with too much blue, and who wants a blue igloo? Instead, I decided to decorate it my own way.
I made some chocolate buttercream and spread it all over the cake, then covered it with roll-out fondant.
Using a knife I scored lines in it to represent the blocks of ice.
I made the entrance to the igloo with another block of fondant and placed the cake on a board I had previously covered with fondant and left to go hard. A blue ribbon around the board was the finishing touch.
I wanted to make a polar bear (actually I wanted to make a penguin until I remembered that they don't live in the Arctic!) and figured it was quite simple to model as I've made various animals before.
I started with a large egg shape for the body and a smaller egg shape for the head, then rolled out sausage shapes for the arms and legs. I rolled a small ball and pressed it flat to stick on the end of the feet as paws and used the same technique for the ears. I used a little bit of black fondant to make patches on the ears and feet and to make the face. I sat my polar bear next to the igloo.
As the finishing touch I found a packet of snowflake sprinkles (I can't remember where I got them from!) and stuck some on with edible glue. The guys taking part in the Arctic challenge were really impressed with the cake and pleased to have it help with their fundraising.
This month for Alphabakes, the blog challenge I co-host with Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker, we have chosen the letter N, and decided that it can also stand for Noel - any Christmassy recipe or bake - so I am sending in my igloo cake.
I'm sending this to the Food Year Linkup, hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, as it's a very Christmassy recipe.
I'm also sharing this with Simply Eggcellent, hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen, as the cake of course contains eggs!
The theme for Love Cake, hosted by Ness at JibberJabberUK, is festive fun, so this cake is just right to enter.