Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Mermaids for the birthday girl: Orange drizzle cake without the drizzle but with other fun stuff!!
Lola is seven. I really don't know how or when this happened. I think I must have blinked. Anyway, the fact of the matter is that the girl with the shock of rock and roll hair and a knowing look which belied the fact that though a babe in arms, she had definitely been here before is now a very old seven, and if you ask me she is a '7 going on 17' kinda girl, judging by her requests for nail polish, jewellery and lip glosses and some false nails off her auntie, who has since been declared the best auntie ever. I don't think I knew this stuff existed until I was at least in double figures but it's true what they say when it's declared that they grow up quick these days, because they do. And it is a shame.
Lola, aged seventeen hours
Lola, aged seven
However, I was slightly placated by the conversation I had with her several weeks ago about the birthday cake challenge she was going to set me this year. I was expecting her to tell me she wanted 'One Direction' on her cake but she told me that mermaids were where it was at. Thank goodness. a sense of childlike wonder was still evident, as it should be when you are seven.
Anyway, I recalled a picture I had seen somewhere of white chocolate shells and toasted coconut creating a beach scene and I decided that after my Angry Birds cake I would try to make something resembling a mermaid out of sugar paste. If you squint it sort of looks like one. I decided also to fore go the orange drizzle and icing that goes with the original cake recipe (from Fiona Cairns' 'Bake and Decorate') but split the cake and spread a thick layer of raspberry jam. Orange, raspberry, coconut, vanilla frosting. If you insist.
Orange drizzle cake, adapted from Fiona Cairns' 'Bake and Decorate'.
Serves 8 (though in reality I doubled the ingredients for I was making two cakes).
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
250g golden caster sugar
Grated zest of 2 large oranges, plus 75ml orange juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g self-raising flour, sifted
a pinch of salt
1/2 jar of seedless raspberry jam.
For the frosting:
(I'll be honest - I eyeball this; there is no definitive recipe I just mix softened butter with icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and some milk until I get a consistency that is spreadable but then holds its shape. Then I added baby blue colouring to get to the shade I wanted. If it helps, I often use the Hummingbird Bakery recipe that you can find here. Scroll down for the recipe).
For the decoration:
Pink sugar paste
flesh coloured sugar paste
teddy bear brown sugar paste
Edible ink pens
50g dessicated coconut
white and yellow Wilton Candy Melts
a mould for creating the shells
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 160ºC/340ºF/gas mark 3 ½. Butter a 20cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin, then line the base with baking parchment.
Cream the butter, sugar and zest until very pale, light and fluffy (it will take at least 5 mins in an electric mixer). Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition, along with 1tbsp of the flour to prevent curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and, lastly, slowly mix in the orange juice.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 - 45 mins until the cake springs back to the touch, or a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave for 1 min, then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
Once cool, split the cake carefully and spread the inside with raspberry jam before sandwiching the two layers together.
Melt the candy melts according to the pack instructions and when melted and pliable, spoon the molten chocolate into moulds. Place in the fridge to set.
Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan, stirring occasionally until the coconut begins to colour. Once it starts to brown it happens quickly so be vigilant. Allow to cool completely or else it will melt the frosting.
Make your frosting by beating the butter and then gradually adding the icing sugar and a little milk and a teaspoon of vanilla followed by a knife tip of colour paste. Mix until the frosting becomes fluffy but stiff enough to spread on the cake. This could take quite a few minutes.
Spread the frosting on the cake by starting on top and spreading the frosting on the top and then down and around the sides. Use a knife dipped in hot water to move and spread the frosting around the cake.
Once the cake is covered, tidy the frosting up by spreading the frosting upwards on the sides of the cake and then smooth the top as much as possible.
Roll out your sugar pastes and cut out a fish tail, a body, a face and hair. Put the parts together carefully on the cake. Using the edible pens, draw the features on the face.
I used a piece of cardboard with an 'undulating' pattern cut out to act as a template for sprinkling the coconut over the cake. take the template away once you have sprinkled the coconut over the cake.
Unmould the shells and place them onto the cake.
Unfortunate Warburtons Bread shot...
Serve to a seven year old who is going on seventeen...