I only make celebration cakes once (or since the birth of my eight month old twice) a year. A christening (or Thanksgiving service, as we chose) for my littlest one makes this potentially three cakes this year (although I may well try and get away with a joint birthday party and thus joint cake, as my two girls were conveniently born in the same month).
It’s a lengthy and drawn out journey, this cake business. Yet so rewarding when you see the final result and know it’s made by your own fair hand (ok, with considerable help and advice from an expert cake maker in the family, my excellent mother-in-law).
So here’s my rose-themed christening cake.
Making the fruit cake
Now I would love to share the recipe for the actual fruit cake, but between myself and the above-mentioned expert cake-maker, we concocted a mix of recipes handed down through generations, collected from magazines, and, well Delia. We also had a huge square 12″ cake tin to fill.
Delia does an excellent celebration fruit cake recipe, here. Of course, depending on the size of your tin, you have to scale up your quantities and cooking time. There’s a good guide to this here (excellent blog, by the way).
The basics are lots of fruit, flour, eggs, butter and booze, cooked for many hours at a moderate temperature (ours was done in 4 1/2 hours at 140 degrees, but then my oven is big and prone to furnace-like tendencies).
Anyway, here is how the fruit cake turned out:
Ok, I cheated on both marzipan and fondant icing. With my oldest’s cake, I toiled for hours with eggs and ground almonds to make my own marzipan, and with water and bags and bags (and bags) of icing sugar to make the fondant. This time, I thought “why bother?!”. It’s just eggs and ground almonds, or just water and icing sugar. Just buy some ready made! So I did.
Here’s the marzipan-covered cake. Note that you have to brush the cake with some warmed jam to make it stick:
…and the fondant-covered cake. Just a note here that a trick I learned from browsing many YouTube videos is that left over fondant rolled into a ball makes an excellent buffer to get a smooth finish:
Again, I watched many YouTube videos and practiced lots, with two-going-on-three-year-old making her own decorations (“it’s SuperwormMummy!”) at my side.
So – fondant roses.
Take a small ball of pink fondant icing, as so:
Now simply roll the flattened oblong up to make the inside of your rose :
Now do the same, but miss out the oblong part and keep the balls round, for your petals. Add your first petal as so – no need to use water to stick (apologies for the terrible nails by the way. I would have spent an hour or two at the beauticians having a deluxe manicure but, er, I don’t have time):
Keep adding as many petals as you see fit – I added four per rose, and also varied the shade of pink by mixing pink with white fondant:
The finished cake
Here it is. I like it – it still looks homemade, is personal to us as a family, and doesn’t look like a dog’s dinner!
The proof is in the eating
This post wouldn’t be complete without a photo of the cake in the process of being eaten. We had a lovely day for my littlest one, despite the horrendous weather! A nice cake brightens up any party.
A giant hand eating a giant slice of cake. This partygoer and good friend of ours told me the cake had the “perfect level of moisture”, and he particularly loved the addition of glacé cherries!