Tag Archives: birthday cake

Surprise Rainbow Cake

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This double decker rainbow cake was fun to make and looked great when Big L cut into it (it also tasted really nice).

We started out by making a double quantity of buttercake mix, which in this case was two packet mixes. I sometimes make cakes from scratch and sometimes from packets, depending on cupboard contents, time, and inclination. I happened to have a couple of cake mixes handy, so we mixed them up according to the packet.

In one of my rare moments of organisation, I had previously taken the block of butter out of the fridge to give it plenty of time to soften before mixing up the cake batter. Unfortunately, Big L assumed I’d just forgotten to put it back in the fridge, and tidied it away. So it was hard as a rock when it came time to add it to the mix. Big L suggested that he cut it up for me, and promptly snapped one of our butter knives in two! He then softened it a little in the microwave, but it was still fairly hard when we added it to the bowl, and the batter was a little lumpy as a result, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

Adding colour to the batter.

Adding colour to the batter.

The kids both wanted to have a go at using the mixer. Neither one of them managed to turn it off prior to lifting it from the bowl…. Must work on that. Once it was finally mixed, I divided the batter into five bowls, with each bowl holding a little less than the one before it, until the batter was gone. I added a few drops of food colouring to each bowl, and the kids mixed the colour in. We had blue, green, yellow, pink and red.

To cook the cake we used a rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper. I used the biggest bowl of batter first, which was blue, and poured it into the base of the tray, spreading it out to the edges. Then I took the next bowl, the green batter, and poured it into the tray in a stripe down the centre of the blue. I continued this with each of the remaining colours in progressively smaller stripes until all the batter was in the tray. Then we popped it in the oven and waited for it to cook.

Ready to cook.

Ready to cook.

Straight from the oven.

Straight from the oven.

The cake really puffed up in the centre of the tray, but that didn’t really matter. Once it was cool, I cut it in half. The inside of the cake looked awesome! I leveled off the top of the cake to make each half reasonably flat on top so that they could be stacked one on top of the other.

After leveling the top of the cake.

After leveling the top of the cake.

Cut in half.

Cut in half.

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to spread frosting.

Ready to spread frosting.

 

I normally make icing or butter cream from scratch using icing sugar, but I cheated this time and bought a container of Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate Frosting. It saved a bit of time and made the cake very chocolatey.

I spread the chocolate frosting between onto the top of one half of the cake, and then placed the second half on top. I made sure it was all straight, and then I covered the whole cake in frosting, smoothing it out with a spatula. I covered the top of the cake in lines of chocolate freckles. I had some left over, so I added these down the sides of the cake.

Cutting into the cake and revealing the hidden rainbow surprise was very exciting! The cake was very yummy too. A and L got chocolate frosting all over their faces and hands, while Baby T ate his little piece much more politely.

A slice of surprise rainbow cake.

A slice of surprise rainbow cake.

The inside of the cake.

The inside of the cake.

Bee Cupcakes

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L helped me to make these cute little bee cupcakes.

IMG_0483We made a batch of vanilla cupcakes in dark coloured muffin cases. Once they were cool, we iced each cupcake with yellow icing. I wanted the icing to be thick, but smoother than I normally make cake frosting. So I didn’t use as much butter, and I added the milk to the mix a little at a time until I had a nice consistency. I only had liquid food colouring on hand and that makes the icing runnier too. Over the top of the yellow icing, I carefully iced stripes of black icing, well, dark grey was as dark as I could get it, but I used black food colouring. Gel or paste colouring would have been better for making black. I’m happy with the colours anyway.

Once the stripes were done, we added a head made from a honeycomb pods (little choc filled biscuit cups made by Mars). I used white chocolate fudge writing icing to draw on the faces and then some black icing for little antennae. Some of the bees also got mini choc chips as antennae.
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Wing made from a pipe cleaner.

Wing made from a pipe cleaner.

L helped me make wings and stingers from black pipe cleaners. She placed the wings to the sides of the cupcakes, and the stinger at the opposite end to the head. I was quite happy with how the wings looked when we were finished.

L made a couple of bee cupcakes all by herself too. I didn’t interfere with her creative juices, just let her get on with making her bees how she wanted. She used some of the pods for antennae, mini choc chips for eyes, and the white chocolate for the pupils and mouth. Her wings and stinger were pipe cleaners. She had a lot of fun creating her bee cupcakes.  And she really liked eating them too!

One of L' s bees.

One of L’ s bees.

Cupcake Bee Cake

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Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

I was thinking about ways to make bee cupcakes, when I thought that perhaps I could make one big bee cake using cupcakes. I pondered this for a while, but finally came up with a plan. After baking two dozen cupcakes, I laid them out in a bee shape to see if it looked okay. It did, so I mixed up some yellow icing and some black icing, which is not perfectly black, but rather a dark grey. To get the icing really black, I would have needed some food colouring paste or gel, but I only had liquid colouring, so dark grey it is. This wasn’t an issue though, as the colours looked quite good together.

L icing a cupcake.

L icing a cupcake.

I got to icing, starting with the black head. The two cupcakes at the front are angled up a little to create the head shape. I used a couple of toothpicks to secure them into place against the single black cupcake behind them. L helped me to ice some of the other cupcakes, and was a big help whilst making this cake. The cupcakes that make up the stripey body are just placed into the correct shape. I ended up using fourteen cupcakes for this cake.

The head of the bee.

The head of the bee.

L made the antennae and stinger out of black pipe cleaners. I stuck one antenna into each of the head cupcakes, and then added eyes below them. The eyes are made from a single malteser chocolate ball with some white chocolate fudge writing icing blobbed on it. L stuck the stinger into the last yellow cupcake.

A wing.

A wing.

The wings of the bee were the trickiest part of this cake. They are made out of clear cellophane. I cut a double sheet into a rough wing shape, and then scrunched one edge together to create the shape of the wing emerging from the body. I separated the two sheets of cellophane slightly to give the wing some depth, and then wrapped half a black pipe cleaner around the scrunched section, and secured it between two of the body cupcakes using toothpicks. The toothpick slotted under the pipe cleaner and then poked into the sides of the adjoining cupcakes. I made another wing for the other side.

And there I had my cupcake bee cake. It was very difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best. The cellophane didn’t show up very well in the photos, and it was difficult to get one good shot of the whole cake, so the photos don’t really do it justice. It did look much better sitting on my dining table!

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Bunny Cake

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IMG_8719Big L made a round buttercake, and I decided we should decorate it as a bunny. It was iced with plain white frosting andIMG_8711 then covered in dessicated coconut.

Bunny ears.

Bunny ears.

The ears were made by gluing some pink foam onto white felt, and then when they were dry, I attached them to the back of the cake using toothpicks, so they were sticking up into the air.

I used both normal sized and mini marshmallows to make the nose and the teeth. The eyes are half a marshmallow with a mini m&m as a pupil. The mouth is made out of writing fudge, but I had lots of trouble getting it into the shape I wanted as it didn’t stick to the coconut very well. By the time I came to make the whiskers I was a bit frustrated with the writing fudge, so I started looking for something else to use. I thought about using liquorice, but we didn’t have anything, so I compromised and used dry spaghetti. I broke the spaghetti into the lengths I wanted and then laid the pieces down as whiskers.

Everyone was very happy with how our bunny cake turned out, and even happier when they were eating it!

 

Stegosaurus Cake

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The kids have been interested (possibly obsessed) with dinosaurs for a long time. Yet again this year, L asked for a dinosaur cake for her birthday, and a dinosaur themed party. I think this is the fourth year running I have made a dinosaur cake for her. The first couple were epic dinosaur scenes, with waterfall, stream, beach, trees and lots of little figures. It took hours and hours to create, so this time I offered a simpler dinosaur cake. L asked for a stegosaurus, so a stegosaurus it was.

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Initially, Big L made two round butter cakes for me to use. I created the body, head and tail from these cakes, and then I used two halved double choc muffins for the legs. I cut one of the cakes just past the half-way point, to create the centre piece of the body, which I flanked with semi circular pieces of cake from the other cake. I shaped these pieces of cake to create a curved body. I used the left over cake to build the body into a nice dome shape, with a tail at one end and a head at the other. I know it looks a little choppy using the little pieces to get the shape I wanted, but once it is covered in butter cream, it looks very different. The cake is built up on our cake board, which is just a sheet of plywood covered in aluminium foil.

Stacked up in position.

Stacked up in position.

Stuck together with icing.

Stuck together with icing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L and A helped Big L make the butter cream icing. L now likes to use the mixer, despite years of her running from the room whenever we turned it on. A doesn’t much like the noise, but it has never stopped her from seeking out a beater to lick when the mixing is done.

L chose to make the stegosaurus purple and pink. The initial batch of blue butter cream was used to stick the loose pieces of cake together before starting the main icing of the body, and wasn’t seen on the outside of the finished cake.

I carefully spread the purple butter cream over the body, making sure not to miss any sections. I used a spatula to pat the icing all over the body to give the icing a rough texture. After I’d spread pink butter cream over the head, tail and legs, I also roughened this icing with the spatula.

The roughened texture of the butter cream on the body of the stegosaurus.

The roughened texture of the butter cream on the body of the stegosaurus.

The completed icing layer.

The completed icing layer.

Then it was time to decorate! I used square wafer biscuits as the back and tail plates. The spikes on the end of the tail were chocolate bullets. I cut some chocolate bullets in half and stuck them on the front of the legs to make toenails.

For the face, I had some fudge writing icing in the fridge, which I used to make a smile on the stegosaurus, and then we added two choc chips for eyes and two mini choc chips for nostrils. L called the finished cake Stegi, though naming it didn’t prevent her from eating any of it!

This was a really simple stegosaurus cake that the kids loved. And it tasted good too!

Stegi the Stegosaurus cake.

Stegi the Stegosaurus cake.