Making birthday cakes is one of the quirky little things I love about having kids. Every year we talk A LOT about what type of cake each little person will have and I spend way to much time googling how to make their ideas come to life on the cake board. This year little pink was over the moon with excitement about turning four. At first she wanted a princess doll cake like her sister, then decided upon a rocket cake but just days before her birthday finally decided she wanted a good old-fashioned number four.
Making the four shape didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I imagined. The hardest part was working out what shapes I’d need to cut to create the four. I got a little help from Dr Google and Cake Central and made myself some pattern pieces – as you can see in the two top pictures below. Then I got the girls to help me whip up a butter cake (with the recipe doubled) and baked it in a flat rectangular tray that fitted all four pattern pieces in easily. My biggest tip when baking cakes is to always line the base of the tin (or tray in this case) with baking paper cut to size. That way you know the cake isn’t going to stick to the bottom of the tin and will always come out in shape.
Once the cake had cooled I sliced off the uneven part of the top with a serrated knife, turned the entire cake upside down and placed the pattern pieces on top. Then I cut out the four separate shapes needed to make the number 4 before assembling them on my cake board. It’s a good ideas to use a few globs of icing on the underside of the cake pieces to stick them down on the cake board in their place – that way they can’t move around while you’re icing. Once that’s done it’s time to crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing used to seal in the crumbs. You really need to do it when you’re working with cut out shapes – as they’re pretty crumbly. A slightly thinner than usual butter icing works well to cover all areas. You need to wait until the crumb coat is well set before moving onto your display layer of icing. I left this one overnight in the fridge and that seemed to work well.
The second/display coat of icing is much easier and usually comes up looking great. I rushed this one a little so it’s a tiny bit messy but no one seemed to care less at our house. I used a butter cream icing with pink colouring. I generally follow the 1 to 4 ratio of butter to sugar and then add extra sugar until I get a consistency I’m happy with.
A few weeks ago I bought some flower press cutters off ebay and they arrived in the mail box just in time to help decorate the cake. The girls and I coloured and rolled out fondant and created a few hundred little flowers to press over the cake. You could also cut out bigger shapes with biscuit cutters or dream up some other fabulous do for your cake. Add excited four-year old and the cake is complete.
Do you enjoy making birthday cakes for your kids? What’s your favourite to date?