Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Baking Elise's 4th Birthday Cake... A Number 4 Cake!

Elise is turning 4 this weekend and we are very excited! She's actually having two cakes this year - one for her classmates at play school and one at her party. Never before have I made two cakes for one birthday party... but I'm sure it won't be the last time.

For her play school she's asked if we can have an Ariel cake - from A Little Mermaid. Truthfully I didn't want to spend ages doing this cake as I know the second cake for her party is going to be challenging so I wanted to keep this one simple.

Princess Ariel from A Little Mermaid

The basic colours for Ariel are red and green - red for her hair and green for her tail... so I decided to stick to those colours and opt for an easy cake design: a numerical cake.

I used a basic chocolate cake recipe to bake the cake. Elise really enjoyed helping weigh the ingredients and watching them blend together. It's not every day I partner up with Queen Elsa of Arendelle either when I'm baking!

Queen Elsa is very handy in the kitchen!

I also made sure that the baking tin we used was about the size of an A4 sheet of paper so that the '4' that I had drawn and cut out, fit. 

I turned the cake out onto a chopping board (so it is actually upside down in the photo below) and placed my cut out number 4 on top (the number is also back to front). Next, I used a cocktail stick to draw tiny little dots around the number 4 so that I had a guideline to follow when cutting out the 4 shape:

A cocktail stick is a great way to draw a line on a cake
You can see the dots and '4' outline
Next, I cut out the number 4 shape with a knife. To get your number 4 the right way round, you need to place your serving tray over the cake (I used a big silver one) and swiftly turn the cake over.

Now you're ready to make icing! In all fairness, children only like licking the icing off cakes - have you noticed how they all just lick the icing off and have a little bite out of the cake before discarding it?!

Elise and I made a batch of buttercream icing and divided it in two. We coloured one with green colouring and the other with red. You can just use a spoon to blend the colours into the basic icing, but Elise enjoyed watching our blender at work again:

Mmmmm icing... can I have some mum? Can I? Can I?

So now comes the fun bit: icing the cake! Just using a simple flower shaped icing tip and plastic bag, I dotted lots of green stars onto the base of the cake, adding a few long strips that I thought looked a bit like seaweed retrospectively. If I'd thought of it sooner, I would have made those lines wiggly so they did resemble seaweed moving in the current... but I didn't and you can't have everything!

The green icing which I could have made look more like seaweed but never mind.

Then I added some red and four red dots, where the candles will go:

Tip: when using buttercream icing, you have to work super quickly. Because the base of the icing is made from butter, it melts very quickly and your stars will start looking more like splats.

But no fear. Just keep putting your icing bag back in the fridge for a few minutes (as well as the cake if you think it's melting too) and let it firm up before continuing.

If you want to find out how I made the cake decorations, click here.

And the final touches to make your cake even more special:

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