I’m aware I haven’t blogged for a while, and I’m really sorry. It’s not that nothing has happened, just nothing that seemed particularly blog-able. Plus, once I got out of the habit it was quite hard to get back in again. So I thought I’d ease back in again by putting in some baking.
It’s the younger two children’s birthdays this week. I got into the habit of making birthday cakes for them a couple of years ago and so I did the same again this year. Since going on a diet I don’t get to do much baking anymore, so I appreciate the opportunity and I enjoy the challenge. It’s not very often I get to make cakes that are a bit more out of the ordinary where I get to use my imagination so I like to try and be inventive.
2 years ago, when the kids were 5, 7 and 10 they had these cakes:
Last year I decided to merge the younger 2’s cakes- their birthdays are two days next to each other with the eldest’s the following week- as we had way too much cake left and just couldn’t eat it all. So the 2013 cakes were:
(that’s the logo for the Smiler ride at Alton Towers if you didn’t recognise it)
This year they’re having a joint cake again, so the difficulty is trying to find something in common between a 7 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. Fortunately there’s a few crazes around at the moment that they’re both into so it was fairly simple. I decided to stay away from Frozen, which they do both love but I didn’t fancy doing it in the middle of August. So instead they have a Minion loom band cake:
It looks more complicated than it is so I’ll go through the steps. The base is a marbled chocolate and vanilla sponge cake. Really easy- means you don’t need to worry about fillings, they get a slightly more interesting flavour and it can be made from one lot of cake mix. Just make the batter as normal then split it in half and stir cocoa powder into one half, then alternate spoonfuls of batter into the baking tray and run a skewer through it to blur the edges of the batters together.
One thing I should have done but didn’t was level off the top when it was cooked, as the minions are now a little bit crooked. I just covered the very top with a layer of marzipan, after spreading on apricot jam; then covered the whole thing in jam again followed by yellow icing.
I’m not very good with icing modelling, particularly not for something as well known as minions, as simple as they look, so I cheated and bought plastic figurines off e-bay. Still, more difficult than you would have thought. The bit that was the most difficult was the loom in the middle. I don’t know how the kids do it, but loom bands are surprisingly difficult to make. The only pattern I could make any sense of was one for a ladder band, using minion colours. The letters on the side of the cake I cut out of light blue fondant icing, the cake wasn’t very tall so it was too fiddly to cut out the middle of the letters, so I just drew them on later. I found some minion haribo at the Range so stuck some of them on the side for extra effect. Here’s a few angles so hopefully you’ll be able to see it all.
The kids have seen it over FaceTime but not in real life yet, so let’s just hope they enjoy it. Feel free to comment to let me know what you think. In a couple of weeks there will be another one up as the eldest turns 12! (very old, quite scary)