17 September 2010

Over-ambitions [Part 1 of 5]

So my BFF’s birthday was coming up and I had no idea what to get for her. Then, one night, at 3am, whilst not being able to sleep, it came to me! Cake!!! But not just any cake, oh no, a cake that would be her, would speak volumes about her, and would be instantly recognisable as hers!

Of course, when I awoke, I had forgotten half of the elements, but over the next 2 days I came up with 2 designs. One that was simple and very achievable, and the other which was ridiculously ambitious, terrifying but would be EPIC if it turned out well. I sent my BFF a simple, non-revealing question, which would it be? She, of course, said I should do the ambitious and document everything. At the time, I don’t think she knew what the hell I was talking about.

Sketch 1 Initial Simple Plan

Sketch 2 Initial Over-elaborate Plan

So, by Tuesday, I had the final design, had found a good cake recipe, a good buttercream recipe and a good fondant recipe. The design was, let’s say, complicated. Very. But I knew if I could pull it off, it would be amazing. By now, my BFF had been teased  about secrets, plans and suspense, and I think she had her suspicions about what exactly I was up to!

Sketch 3Final Design Plans Part 1

Sketch 4  Final Design Plans Part 2

So, the final plan was to make a large base cake covered in pink fondant (since my BFF is a bit of a princess :P), with a computer shaped cake on top (she’s also a total computer nerd!) and a cup of tea cake (well, she is Irish!!!).

I decided on a Chocolate Mud Cake, having googled about 50 different sites on cake carving, and knowing my BFF loves chocolate almost as much as I do! The recipe was gotten from here.

I chose a Chocolate Fudge Frosting as the buttercream to layer the cakes and also as a foundation to stick the fondant to the cake. I got the recipe from my favourite unused book, Best Ever Cake Decorating by Angela Nilsen and Sarah Maxwell.

CakeBookIncidentally, I bought this book as an xmas present funded by my nana, at an xmas fair with said BFF.

The rolled fondant recipe came from The Food Network website, here, and seems to be a recipe that doesn’t change across many sites, unlike most things in the baking world!

After deciding on all these recipes, and having the design, I then went through all of my baking ingredients, made a huge list of what I needed, over estimating so that I could fix any unforeseen mistakes!

On Wednesday, I took my long list and made the trip to my local Tesco [other supermarkets available]. I needed some new cake tins, none of the ones I own were either the right shape or size! Plus, any excuse for new equipment for the kitchen. Also, invested in a pallet knife and a sifter, knowing I’d need both to get me through this epic task. I got some strange looks at the checkout, but managed to pick up everything I needed for cooking!

100_2007 My over-estimation of ingredients!

So, I started this blogging on 1am Thursday morning. At this stage, I have no practical elements completed! I’m so afraid of so many things going wrong! I’m hoping to at least get all the ingredients weighed out before bed, and documented of course ;). And with a little luck and motivation, I can get the fondant made up too.

On Thursday, I was supposed to be in college in the morning, and meet a friend for dinner at 6, but I knew I would have had no time to get this done at all. So all plans were cancelled! I baked up the cakes on Thursday and left them in the fridge overnight. I also made up 3 batches of the fondant, one pink, one white and one chocolate. It was the biggest workout I’ve ever done!

Read more about the cake and how it turned out…

Part 2 : http://statisticalbaking.blogspot.com/2010/09/rolling-rolling-rolling-fondant-part-2.html

Part 3 : http://statisticalbaking.blogspot.com/2010/09/bake-thon-part-3-of-5.html

Part 4 : http://statisticalbaking.blogspot.com/2010/09/fudge-tastic-part-4-of-5.html

Part 5 : http://statisticalbaking.blogspot.com/2010/09/cake-to-remember-part-5-of-5.html

Regular Blog : http://statisticalblogging.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-bff-is-quarter-of-century.html

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling Fondant [Part 2 of 5]

Having seen fondant icing used on many a cake decorating show, and hearing the many, many ways in which it could go wrong, I was terrified! But I was determined to at least give it a go, and shockingly it worked out okay!



2lb Icing Sugar (1 3/4 lb for chocolate + 1/4 lb cocoa)

1/4 cup Water

1 tbsp Unflavoured Gelatine

1/2 cup Liquid Glucose

1 1/2 tbsp Glycerine

1 tsp Vanilla (or your preferred flavouring!)

Optional colour


01. Add gelatine to warm water and dissolve over a low heat.

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02. Add glucose and glycerine and stir until all combined.


03. Add flavouring (here vanilla!)


04. Add colouring at this stage if you want the entire batch in the one colour, ignore this stage if you want white fondant, or are planning to do a lot of colours.


05. Transfer to a bowl, and start to stir in the icing sugar slowly, a little at a time until all is combined.


06. When the icing is too tough to stir by spatula, start to kneed by hand, using either cornstarch or icing sugar to get rid of the stickiness.

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07. Continue to kneed until it can be made into a ball with none sticking to your hands!


08. Cover in cling film and refrigerate overnight in an airtight container.


This fondant will keep for about 3 or 4 days in the fridge, or a month in the freezer. Remove from fridge a couple of hours before you plan to use it!

Bake-a-thon [Part 3 of 5]

I needed a cake recipe that would hold up under the weight of the fondant, that would be able to be carved into shape, but also taste good :) after some searching online, found a Chocolate Mud Cake recipe that would work. I made two cakes, the one shown below, which became the base, and a smaller but thicker one for carving the shapes.

100_2019 Ingredients

200g Chocolate

250g Unsalted Butter

1 1/3 cup Warm Water

1 cup Golden Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Instant Coffee

1/4 cup Cocoa

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour


01. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

02. Add chocolate, butter, water, cocoa and coffee to a saucepan.

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03. Heat over low heat and stir until the mix is smooth.

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04. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. 

05. Add in the sugar and dissolve.

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06. Beat the eggs with the vanilla while the mix cools.


07. Transfer the mix to a bowl.


08. Add the flour and beat until smooth.

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09. Add in egg mix and beat until smooth again.

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10. Line a baking tin in greaseproof or parchment paper and pour in the mix.

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12. Bake for 60 – 90 minutes until cooked through.


13. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge overnight.

Fudge-tastic [Part 4 of 5]

So a buttercream was needed to adhere the cake and fondant, and chocolate seemed like the perfect option! This recipe is straightforward and delicious! The recipe below is enough for a 20cm / 8 inch round cake, I made 2.5 times the recipe to be sure I didn’t run out!



50g Butter

3 tbsp Cream

1 tsp Vanilla

50g Chocolate

225g Icing Sugar


01. Put all ingredients into a saucepan together.

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02. Melt over a low heat until the butter melts completely.


03. Beat until smooth.


Make sure to make this icing at the very last minute, and that it’s still warm when spreading as it goes hard very quickly!

Part 5 : http://statisticalbaking.blogspot.com/2010/09/cake-to-remember-part-5-of-5.html

A Cake To Remember [Part 5 of 5]

My hopes for the cake were at a 10, my expectations of how I’d do were at a 2, and I think the outcome was about a 6 :)So everything is set and ready to go, and I’m praying that it all comes together as planned…

100_2056The base layer (the carving layer was twice as thick and just slightly smaller)


Made up 3 batches of fondant in total, one pink (above), one white and one chocolate.

100_2071 The chocolate fudge butter-cream (above) used to stick the fondant to the cake

Carving was fairly straightforward as I had the sketch to go on (see post 1!). I carved out the basic sizes for the hard drive, screen, keyboard, mouse and tea-cup.


It was all a case of putting it together, covering in the fondant and getting the shapes right.

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After that, it was all about the finishing touches. I added mini keys to the keyboard using a spatula to indent “keys” and dots of white chocolate to give the appearance of letters. I added a mix of milk and white chocolate to the mug to give the appearance of tea, and of course a birthday message for the BFF in question!


Two days of very hard work was well worth it for the happiness on my BFFs face :D