Pretty in pink birthday cake recipe
This can be made up to a month in advance and kept in the freezer.
- 250g butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 230g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 450g self raising flour, sifted
- 250ml milk
Use a good quality dark chocolate to achieve a smooth and silky ganache. If you have any leftover it makes a delicious chocolate sauce!
- 100g thickened cream
- 100g chocolate, dark
This can be made up to two months in advance and kept in the freezer or made fresh and frozen for next time.
- 50g cocoa powder, sifted
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- 80g butter, softened
- 30cm round wooden board, found in craft stores
- Craft glue used for fabric
- .5m fabric
- 500g readymade white icing (you can find Orchard white icing at all major supermarkets)
- Icing sugar, extra to prevent white icing from sticking to the bench when rolling
- Pink food colouring
- Yellow food colouring
- 12 large pink cupcakes cases
- Small silver and blue balls, optional
- Pink hundreds and thousands
- .5m ribbon which is 2.5cm wide (I chose an orange/red colour; you could choose colours found on your fabric)
- .5m Happy Birthday ribbon (usually sold in a 4m roll, can be used for another birthday!)
- Greaseproof paper to line tins and use with rolling out of the icing
- Small flower cutter
- Large muffin tin, optional but I find the cupcakes bake more evenly in a tin
- To make the cake and cupcakes: 20 minutes preparation time, approximately 30 minutes cooking time
- Ganache: 5 minutes to make, 10-15 minutes to cover cakes
- Icing the cakes: each cake will take approx 30 minutes to 1 hour from the first step of colouring the icing to placing the cakes together (step 8) Allow more time if you are doing this for the first time – you will have a much better end result if you’re not rushing (trust me on this one!)
- Decorations: allow a total time of 1-2 hours which includes colouring the fondant, rolling and shaping.
- Decorating the cupcakes: approx 30 minutes
- Finishing up the cake with ribbon and decorations: allow one hour
1. Soften the fondant icing and dot with food colour 2. Knead until colour is combined 3. Roll out to 5mm
4. Gently wrap around rolling pin 5. Unroll the icing over the tops of the cake 6. Trim the edges with 2-3cm overlap.
7. Smooth icing with fingertips 8. Cover with baking paper and turn upside down 9. Tuck icing under cake
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Line tins with greaseproof paper and place cupcake cases in muffin tin.
Cream together butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly add in eggs one at a time.
Fold in flour and milk in two stages, don’t overmix.
Place into tins three quarters of the way up and half fill each cupcake case.
Bake in oven until the mix springs back when gently pressed or when a skewer comes out clean.
Keep the cakes in the tins for approx 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack – keep the bottom side up at all times to avoid making lines as this will be the presentation side up. If you want to freeze your sponge and cupcakes at this point, tightly wrap them in cling film.
When the cake is totally cooled (best if you can keep it in the fridge to chill right down before going any further) you will need to flatten the ‘bottom’ (which was the top.) Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on the presentation side and turn over. Use a serrated knife and cut the top of the cake so it’s as flat as possible. I usually cut a little at a time so that I don’t accidentally cut away too much cake! These bits of cake can be used as fillers for any holes in the sponge or to adjust the cake if it’s not evenly cut. The less holes in the sponge the smoother the cake will look. I usually fill the biggest holes and if there are any others once I’ve put on the icing layer, I ‘hide’ them with ribbon and decorations!
This layer of melted chocolate and cream will give the cake a smoother edge before putting on the fondant icing. You could also use buttercream – the key is to make it as smooth and straight as possible as each bump will be highlighted by the fondant icing.
Place the cream and chocolate in a microwave bowl, heat for 1 minute, remove and stir until all is combined and the mix is smooth.
While the ganache is warm, sit the cakes on a cooling rack and pour over until all is evenly covered. Smooth the edges and top if necessary with a flat knife (if you warm the knife it will make it easier but make sure no water comes in contact with the ganache).
Allow to set in fridge for 5 minutes before transferring onto the bottom of a plate or soup bowl (depending on the size of the cake and your crockery) with a sheet of greaseproof paper – this will make life easier when you need to transfer onto a cake board.
Use the remainder of the ganache to cover each cupcake, using a clean, dry warm knife to spread evenly.
I do this part away from the kitchen (and my kids) as the glue can be quite strong. As per the instructions, glue the fabric onto the board, keeping the edges as tight as possible. Allow to dry before using.
Ready-made white icing
This is also known as fondant icing and can be found in larger quantities in cake specialty shops – they also sell it already coloured if you don’t wish to do it yourself. It will keep for a long time if stored in a cool place and if it’s wrapped very well (I usually use a few layers of cling film before placing it in an airtight container)
Usually the icing is quite firm to touch when you open the packet. Break it into small pieces with your fingers and begin to ‘work’ or ‘massage’ it until you notice is becomes smoother and softer. At this point, bring the icing together and knead as you would a dough until it is soft and smooth (the smoothness reminds me of my kids’ baby bottoms!) Once it’s smooth and soft you are ready to add the colour. Set aside a small amount (around 50g) for the yellow part of the windmills and small flowers, and use the rest for the cake base, more small flowers and pink side of the windmills.
Flatten the icing a little, press some ‘craters’ into the dough and add a few drops of colour. Going slow but steady with the colouring is better than adding too much at once (unless you are after a very bright colour!) until you have achieved the strength of colour you are after. To work the colour into the icing, continue kneading as you would a dough. If the icing starts to stick to the bench use icing sugar, as you would flour to dough. Repeat this process with the smaller piece of icing and yellow food colour.
Once the pink is mixed evenly throughout, halve the icing. Wrap one piece in cling film (to prevent drying) and roll out the other to approximately 1/2cm thickness. It can be easier to roll it out on greaseproof paper – don’t forget to use icing sugar if it starts to stick. Use your rolling pin gently and turn the icing regularly so that the bottom doesn’t stick.
Using your rolling pin, and starting closest to your body, loosely roll the icing into the rolling pin. Unroll the icing over the larger cake, making sure you allow enough icing to fall over the edges. This is the trickiest part of the whole process so the less kiddies are around at this stage, the easier it will probably make things for you. Don’t stress if it looks a mess, icing can be smoothed over and the ribbon and decorations will work their magic to hide the bits you don’t want anyone to see. Also use the natural curves of your hand and fingers to manipulate the icing so that it sits smoothly on the cake. Also try to touch the icing to the cake gently – if you press too hard, you will make finger holes in the cake.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut around any excess icing from the bottom so that it has an overlap of around 2-3cm.
Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on the top of the cake and gently turn over to expose the bottom. Fold in the icing overlap so that the edges are all sealed. If you have any cake spots exposed use the excess pieces of icing to cover. To seal them, run your finger over the joins a few times (gently!) and they will stick together. This is also your last chance to make any adjustments if the cake’s not sitting evenly – either use the sponge which you cut off previously or a piece of icing.
Turn the cake over onto your serving plate or cake board.
Repeat the process from steps 3 – 6 with the smaller cake, then carefully place in the middle of the larger one already sitting on the cake board. Well done! The tricky part is over and now the fun decorations begin!
To make the windmills: You will need to make these at least two days before you put them on the cake to allow them to dry.
Roll out a strip of yellow icing and a strip of pink icing to the same thickness. Lay one of top of the other and roll together to join.
Cut out squares approx 2cm x 2cm or 3cm x 3cm (I use a ruler to cut out one and then use that as a guide to cut the others – saves time!) Make a dot in the centre and cut from the four corners ¾ of the way toward the centre. Using a skewer, carefully lift the right side point from each pair of four corners and bring to the middle to create a windmill. Use an edible ball to finish or alternatively, roll some icing into a ball and glue into the middle with a tiny bit of water. Allow to dry for at least two days - more is better to prevent decoration disaster!
To decorate the cupcakes: Cut the leftover pink fondant into circles matching the size of the cupcakes. Lay gently on the top of each cupcake and using a small amount of water ‘glue’ on small flowers and windmills. You can also decorate the cupcakes with sprinkles rather than the icing.To decorate the cake
Measure both ribbons around each cake tier, cut, wrap around using the wider ribbon first and secure at the back end with a pin.
Place a drop of water at the back of the decorations, and place them evenly around the cake. Place a cupcake at the top with a candle.
Keep the finished cake at room temperature in a dry cool place.
- To save time, you can make a single layered cake in the same way.
- This recipe was created for Kidspot by Chef Sonia.
From Chef Sonia:
I have put together a decorator’s pack so you can showcase your cake-making prowess and save time. The decorator’s pack includes fabric, ribbons, 12 pink cupcake cases, pink sprinkles, pink fondant icing and decorations. Buy through the Chef Sonia & You
Although I am a qualified chef, I’ve had no formal cake making training. What I have learned is through trial and many errors. I hope that by sharing my knowledge, you can become as confident and as excited about cake making as I am! (without the mistakes!). I think the most important thing is to ‘give it a go,’ you’ll be producing amazing cakes before you know it!