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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cat cake

Jessica turned 1 earlier this month. Ummm...aaaaargh how has that happened?!! But panic aside, something I was both looking forward to and slightly dreading regarding Jessica turning 1 was making my first birthday cake - all I could picture in my head were all the cake fails that made it onto GBBO An Extra Slice. Now I love seeing those cakes but I didn't want to be creating one in my kitchen. So to Pinterest I went. Of course. The cake I went with was one I had actually saved a couple of years ago...because who knows when you're going to need a super amazing cat cake? Maybe when you're trying to turn your kid into a cat lover from an early age?! The original is by Coco Cake Land and can be seen here. This ended up being finished literally minutes before our family arrived...our house was a mess but we had cake, so I guess I had my priorities right :)

My only other attempt at icing a cake with any panache made me realise that a lot could be achieved with the right piping tip, even with very (very) little experience. This has just reaffirmed that for me...this was seriously easy! I made a four layer victoria sponge cake, sugar biscuits for the ears, butter icing to decorate and ready made fondant icing for the details
I wasn't able to exactly recreate the fur effect in the original but got a great result using a grass effect tip. I also may have splashed out on a whole set of food colouring gels in order to make cream icing a little creamier ;) But this Wilton set was great for achieving that (it did also make a great pink nose).
What I learnt -
1) Last time I tried decorating a cake the icing was far too soft to stick to the sides. My sister is a fab cake decorator and she recommended using a 2:1 ratio of icing sugar to butter, and then adding a little more icing sugar to achieve a firmer consistency. It worked great although I could have probably gone a little softer (maybe just the 2:1 ratio) and saved some hand ache from pushing the icing through the tiny holes of the icing tip. I think it would have worked fine with any other tip though. I used a regular buttercream icing for the crumb crust which gave the icing a good base to stick to.
2) You can do a lot with a regular shaped cake! I think Jess may be having a lot of different animal cakes for her birthdays (this one looks great if I'm brave enough to tackle fondant icing!). However to get a balanced effect I did need to use more layers than normal. Something I didn't take into account when choosing the size of cake I ended up making a cake that was far too big (Jess looks tiny in comparison in our photos)!! So if you're going high...don't go as wide ;)
I was really happy with how this turned out and actually really enjoyed the much as I'm probably going to freak out when Jess turns 2, at least I'll be looking forward to doing her cake!

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