Monday, February 6, 2012

My son's birthday and a very special cake

Last year, right before my son's birthday, I was feeling poorly so I had no energy to spend decorating a cake... I did manage to bake one though, but the decoration was far from what I wanted. This time it was different so I carefully planned ahead... yay!.

Ever since my son watched the Queens Birthday parade in 2010, he has been obsessed with marching and has learned all the movements, posture and even commands!, I bought a costume that he wore out, and I saw he was still interested, I bought a better costume and he absolutely loves it (see him on picture to the above)....

So his cake had to be related to his passion :-)

For the first time, I have taken pictures of all (nearly all) the steps I have gone through. I hope you find it helpful and please don't hesitate to contact me if you want to know something in particular that I haven't covered here.
I'm not a professional decorating cakes, this is merely a hobby that I really enjoy.
Working with fondant is tricky, it takes quite a lot of practise and patience! especially when covering cakes.

I baked 2 madeira cakes using a 7 inch tin. This is a firm sponge that lasts 2 weeks. Ideally you take 1 week to decorate it and then there's a week to eat it.

Recipe for a 7inch/18cm round madeira cake:
Recipe taken from the book "Cakes to inspire and desire" by Lindy Smith (my only guide!)

-225 gr unsalter butter
-225 gr caster (superfine) sugar
-225 gr self raising flour
-125 gr plain flour
-4 large eggs

1. Pre heat the oven to 160C
2. Grease and line the cake tin with baking paper (bottom and sides)
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, until light, fluffy and pale. Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
4. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.
5. Sift the remaining flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon. Add the flavouring, if using ( I added some vanilla extract).
6. Transfer to the lined tin and bake for 1 hour or 1hour and 1/4. (Mine was ready in an hour)
when the cake is ready it will be well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean.
7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin then, leaving the lining paper on, wrap the cake in foil or place in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before cutting, to allow the cake to settle.

The sponge is firm enough to stand the weight of the fondant decoration, its moist and yummy!.

After baking the cakes, I covered the cake board with fondant.

I really like the Dr.Oatker Regal-Ice.
I used red food color (gel), I rolled it and placed it on top of the board.
To stick the fondant to the board, you can spread a thin layer of buttercream on the board first, or a thin layer of jam (this is what I did).
Before the fondant dried, I used a small cookie cutter to decorate the border, it looks really nice!.

The fondant on the board has to be dried before you place the cake on top, so leave it overnight in a dry and cool place.

As I'm always afraid of dry cakes, I add a bit of syrup to the sponge before spreading the filling. Add a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons (or a bt more) of water to a small sauce pan over medium heat, wait untill the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the cake. Level the top with a serrated knife.
Cut the cake in 3 layers. Place a thinner cake board, an inch smaller than the cake diameter (aprox) over a flat board covered with cling film, spread a bit of buttercream over the board and place the first cake layer over it. Using a straw make several holes in the sponge, then add a bit of the sugar syrup to the cake layer using a spoon.

For the filling I used buttercream. After you've added the syrup, spread some buttercream over, followed by another cake layer, poke with the straw, add some syrup, spread the buttercream and cover with the last layer.

Using a metal spatula, cover the top and sides of the cake with buttercream. To smooth the buttercream on the cake, put the spatula under hot running water, then pass it again over the cake, top and sides (a turnable table is very useful for this, I use an Ikea wooden turnable plate).

The idea is to make the buttercream as even as possible to avoid bumps under the fondant.
Unfortunately I couldn't take pics when I was rolling the fondant to cover the cake. I used 2 packages of the Dr. Oatker Regal-Ice, I kneaded it first. Add some "Trex" (vegetable fat) to the surface where you are going to roll the fondant, so it doesn't stick, add some Trex to the rolling pin as well and to the palm of your hands. Roll, lift gently, roll again untill you have reached the right size for your cake.
To make sure the fondant will cover the whole cake, measure the hight of the cake (x2), the diameter and add it up. For example, if the hight of the cake is 3 inches (x2) = 6 inches, diameter is 7, so 6+7= 13 inches. I would add a couple of inches just to make sure everything is ok!, so lets make it 15.
The rolled fondant should be at least 15 inches in all directions, when you've achieved this, gently lift the fondant and place it on top of the cake, gently press on top and lift the sides carefully to avoid craks, pass your hand around it then use a cake smoother to go around the top and sides, making sure there are no big creases.
After you're happy with the result, cut the excess with a sharp knife.

Take the second cake, cut the layers and using a big round cookie cutter, cut 3 circles, to create the second tier. Follow the same steps. Leave both cakes overnight as the fondant has to be dried before you assemble the cake and before any decorations.

Spread some buttercream to the centre of the cake board (red one with the stars).Use a metal spatula to help you lifting the cake and carefully place the first tier on top.
Gently mark the diameter of the second tier on the first one using a little sharp knife.
From that border go 1 inch toward the centre and make 4 marks (making a square), you'll place the dwells there. They are necessary to make 2 tier cakes as they give support to the second cake, otherwise they sink like the Titanic....and we don't want that, do we?.

You'll need now 4 wooden dwells. I bought a long one at B&Q, 5mm thick and cut one piece first, of 3,5 inches high, sharpen one end and push it gently through one of the marks, this is just to check the length of the dwell, the idea is to see it level with the cake surface. You may need to cut a bit more. Take it out carefully and use it to mark the other wooden dwells you'll use, so they have the same length.

After you have cleaned them, proceed to put the wooden dwells in the cake.

When all the dwells are in place, spread a bit of buttercream and carefully place the second tier on top.
Now to have fun decorating the cake!... as I said before, I already knew what I wanted to do, made a few drawings and took some measurements to place every bit into place.

You can see on picture #1 and #2 the joint between two stripes of fondant....what you can do....(that I unfortunately forgot!) is, damp one of your fingers and gently rub it where the joint is, the fondant gets softer so you can easily make that line disappear.
On pic #3 you can see I added the red triangles and before they dried, I used the same cookie cutter I used for the cake board, and pressed it to leave a star shape.

To stick the decorations to the cake, I make my own edible glue using "Tylo powder". If you don't have it, you can use vanilla extract instead.
To do the stripes on the second tier cake, I used a "sugarpaste gun", check it out here. It is a lot of fun to use it!. Compare prices before you buy one.

Here you can see the stripes:

I wanted to paint the stars with gold luster, but it didn't work the way I thought, so then, using white sugarpaste, I cut out some star shapes and stuck them over it.

With the same sugar paste, I modelled a little soldier and a small base to place the candle.
My original design didn't include the name letters, I added them at the end. Its good to plan your cake but you'll see along the way, that you can make some modifications and that's ok.

My son loved the cake!!!

I hope this "tutorial" was clear enough as it is the first time I make one!
Thanks for visiting :-)


  1. Me encantó, leí gran parte de la receta y me quedó clarísimo, y eso que mi inglés no es muy bueno.
    Te admiro amiga! Un abrazo.

  2. 4 años! que edad más exquista! el cake se ve maravilloso.
    Like all yours cakes this look especially cute! and perfect! really love your art dear!

    1. Gloria querida.... 4 años....qué edad más agotadora! jajjajaja pero deliciosa también :-)
      Gracias por tus palabras, cariños! x

  3. What a master piece! I can comment on the taste :P, sure is excellent, but the look of it is simply superb! Lovely to look at!
    I would have liked to see Bjorn face when he saw the cake!
    Again, a work of art!

    1. Gracias my darling! hoy se terminó la torta por completo....estaba riquisima!!!!
      Gracias por tus palabras, cariños!!! xx

  4. Fabulosa,te pasaste.Te quedó maravillosa.

    Saludos desde Chile

  5. Te quedo precioso. Muy bueno el tutorial además. Creo que el se va acordar siempre de su torta.

    1. Gracias Pili!, sin duda mi gordo se acordará de su torta, tiene una memoria de elefante que te mueres! jajajaja :-)


    1. Gracias Pamela! me divertí mucho haciendo y decorando la torta, casi una meditación! :-)
      Es bastante trabajo la verdad, pero tenía tantas ganas de sorprenderlo, sobre todo porque lleva dos años con esto de marchar.... lindo! muchos cariños para ti.

  7. Simplemente te quedó hermosa la torta.
    Este año pensaré con harto tiempo de anticipación la torta para el cumple de mi hijo que cumplirá 3 años! Al escribirlo que heavy darse cuenta que pasa tan veloz el tiempo!
    Te dejo un abrazo y definitivamente tienes el don de la decoración! Congrats Karin!

    1. Gracias Moon! sin duda será emocionante preparar el cumple de tu hijo. Seguramente está en la onda de los trenes....ahí tienes para inspirarte! jejejeje Luego nos cuentas como te fue!. cariños!

  8. Obejtivo par dentro de tres años: una torta de este nivel!! wau mucho mejor que las compradas, muy bonita.:D

    1. Gracias Carmen! :-) lo que se hace en casa tiene el valor agregado del amor! :-) cariños!

  9. Aquí está la torta maravillosa de Bjorn!! Muy bueno el paso a paso. A ver si algún día soy capaz de hacer una :)
    Un besazo

    1. Gracias Nathalia!!!! ya verás lo inspirada que estarás cuando Alba cumpla su primer añito!!!.


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