There seem to be an astonishing number of cake baking and decorating programmes on television at the moment, and this combined with the rise of people sharing their birthday cake creations on sites such as Pinterest has caused a lot of people to feel the need to have a go themselves.
If this sounds like you, then here are a few top tips for making a great birthday cake. Or at least, top tips on how to avoid creating a disaster which will embarrass your kids for years.
First of all, creating a fantastic birthday cake is not something to leave until the last minute. Whilst you’ll certainly want the cake to be nice and fresh when it’s presented at the party, this doesn’t mean that everything has to be done the night before. In fact there are several things you can do some time in advance, which should certainly help to make the process considerably simpler.
For example, did you know that you can make the cake a month or so in advance of the party, wrap it in cling film, and then freeze it? Just take it out about a week to ten days in advance of the party and let it slowly defrost. After a day or two you can cover it with the fondant icing and then leave it in a cool dry place.
You can also practice parts of the cake in advance which might be a bit tricky. If you’re planning on making a scale model of a scene from Lord of the Rings out of fondant icing then you may want to practice a few parts in advance. You can even make some of the models a few days in advance of the party and keep them in a cool, dry, airtight container until you’re ready.
A birthday cake is probably not the best time to try out an experimental new cake recipe. Stick with what you know. If you have a favourite cake recipe which you know like the back of your hand, stick with this. Simple, straightforward cake recipes are best.
When planning the cake, think about the design carefully. Whatever it is your child wants, there are probably dozens of ways of approaching it when it comes to the design of the cake.
For example, your child might want a pirate themed cake for their birthday party, and your first idea might be a scale model of a pirate ship, complete with decks, dozens of little canons, portholes, masts, sails and pirates in various poses. This could be pretty tricky though, and if you step back from this initial idea for a moment and have a think you could well come up with a design that’s still faithful to the theme, but a darned sight easier to make.
For a pirate themed party for example you could make a treasure chest instead of the boat. Just bake a couple of normal cakes, stack them on top of each other, cut them to the right shape for a treasure chest, with square sides and a slightly rounded top, then cover with icing.
Alternatively you could make it like a treasure island, with a cake cut into an island shape, covered with sandy covered icing, and then decorated with map like markings, including the red cross for the treasure of course.
Make sure you plan ahead when making the cake, making sure you have a cake tin or a cake box that is actually big enough. I once made a birthday cake, and only realised when it came to put it in the box that the box was just half an inch too short. I spent twenty minutes with the plastic lid suspended between two chairs, with several gym weights in the middle and a hairdryer underneath softening the lid and stretching it to fit. (It worked!)
Of course, if you’re not too confident with making a children’s birthday cake, and you’d rather get your child something a bit more special than the cardboard offerings on sale in the local supermarket, then you could look at the range of professionally made children’s birthday cakes we have available on our website.
Just take a look at our cake page here http://www.parteaz.co.uk/35-kids-birthday-cakes and if you’re lucky enough to live within our catchment area then we’ll hand deliver the cake to you.