Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter Cake

Having not one but two wedding cakes to make in the foreseeable future, I thought I should probably learn how to deal with fondant or royal icing. We were also visiting T's parents for Easter weekend, so I took the opportunity to make a bigger cake than I would normally and palm some of it off on them.

I started with the Simnel cake in from the April edition of Delicious. I didn't read it through before baking it, so I didn't realise you had to bake a layer of marzipan in to the cake. I didn't have any marzipan, and I don't like the stuff, so I skipped this step. I thought this might make the cake a bit dry, so I soaked the cake in marsala, lemon juice and sugar syrup before icing it.

I initially planned to do royal icing, but life got in the way and I ran out of time to do the icing in stages. Each stage has to be left 24 hours to dry, and I only had one afternoon. I went for fondant instead.

Trusty old Leith's came out. Syrup was boiled to the soft ball stage, then kneaded on the worktop with a spatula. It then stuck to the worktop, and made such a pathetically small ball of icing when I did prize it away that I gave up and binned it. Then I spent 15 minutes chipping the remaining sugar off the worktop with a knife. On the plus side, they played "Sit Down"by James on the radio and I still know all the words. That makes me feel very old indeed.

I decided to give another recipe a go before giving up and buying ready-made icing. This was much more successful; soon I had a rather large ball of sugar paste, and a kitchen covered in icing sugar. It took me several attempts to roll the icing out large enough to cover the cake, as it kept sticking. I only used icing sugar, but with hindsight I should have used some cornflour too to make it stick less.

Once I'd done the cake, I smoothed off any bumpy bits and tears with wet fingers and a paring knife. Classy.

I dyed the remaining icing into several colours to decorate the cake with, and went crazy with some miniature cutters I was given at Christmas.

Fondant confetti shapes

They were still a bit dusty at this point from the cornflour, but I'll brush that off later when it's hardened.
Fondant chick

I had loads of icing left over so I tried to make a hatching chick. The egg part fell to pieces but the chick survived.

Easter Confetti Cake

Given that this is my first time making this type of icing, as well as my first attempt to cover and decorate a cake, I feel quite chuffed. The surface isn't entirely flat, and the shapes aren't uniformly spaced, but it looks like vaguely good.

Fondant Icing
Makes enough to cover & decorate a large cake.

450g icing sugar
50g glucose
1 large egg white
flavours and colours
cornflour for dusting

1) Put the icing sugar in a bowl, sieving it if it's very lumpy. Make a well in the centre.
2) Add in the egg white, glucose and any flavourings and colours you want to use (such as lemon, orange flower, peppermint etc).
3) Knead the mix in to a smooth dough.
4) Dust a large surface with icing sugar and cornflour, and roll the icing to the desired shapes.

- You can use the white icing to cover a cake, and then colour and flavour the offcuts to use as decorations.
- A drop of blue colouring makes white icing seem even whiter.
- Keep the icing in an airtight bag or covered with a damp cloth when you are not using it - it dries out quickly.
- If it does start drying out, add a drop of egg white or water to the paste to make it more malleable.


Chele said...

I think your cake looks fantastic jenny - especially loving the wee chick! How cute is s/he! With so much care and attention going into your cake I'm sure everyone will love it.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Blimey you are brave agreeing to do wedding cakes - I have been turning requests down for fear of some bridezilla coming to get me afterwards.

This cake looks great though!

Jenny said...

Chele - Thanks! It went down very well with T's family. T didn't like it though as he hates dried fruit... tut tut!

Sarah - Luckily the wedding cakes are for friends, I would be a scared of bridezillas too!