After seeing about a million amazing cakes at the Cake and Bake Show last month, and spending more on food colouring in one go than I probably have in the rest of my life combined, I thought I’d probably better make a cake. When my sister and I decided to arrange a surprise 30th birthday party for our friend Neil, I set my sights on a birthday present-shaped cake. By using a bunch of Google images inspiration, a load of instructional YouTube videos and a bit of trial and error, here’s how I made my edible gift wrapped chocolate cake with a little miniature Neil figurine on top. Check out step by step videos in the photo gallery below.
You will need:
1 chocolate fudge cake
Chocolate buttercream frosting
1 kg of ready to roll fondant icing
Sugarflair colour paste in 8 colours – poppy red, baby blue, navy, holly green, black, dark brown, egg yellow, dusty pink/wine.
1. Make a chocolate fudge cake in a square cake tin. I used this BBC recipe but cooked it in one batch rather than two as they recommended.
2. Cut the cake in half, add a layer of chocolate buttercream in the middle and cover all the sides. This is called ‘crumb coating’ and provides and I watched this video that shows how to do it. Leave it to set in the fridge so the fondant doesn’t slide about when you place it on top.
3. For the icing, first I made small balls of each colour by using a toothpick to add a drop of the colour paste and kneeding it in. For the skin tone I used a really tiny bit of the dusky pink and yellow to create a soft peach colour. For the other colours I gradually added more paste until the colour was dark enough.
4. To make the spotty ‘wrapping paper’ covering I totally improvised. I made a big ball of yellow (it took a good few drops of colour paste and a LOT of kneeding) and rolled it out on a piece of greaseproof paper. On the other side of the paper I drew a square using the cake tin as a guide. When it was rolled to about a centimetre thick I took little balls of the other colours and pushed them into the yellow, then put another piece of greaseproof paper on top and kept on rolling until the icing was as big as the square and about a millimetre thick.
5. To cover the cake, roll the icing up over the rolling pin and unfurl it gently onto the cake. It may look difficult to make the icing fit over the square corners but it’s actually not. The trick, which I learned via another YouTube video, is to just gradually smooth the icing down all the way around an inch at a time then cut off the excess at the bottom.
6. For the gift bow, cut two inch-wide long strips of orange and stick them across the top of the cake using a little bit of water. Then make lots of little strips of different colours, wrap them round the end of a pen, attached the ends with water and cut them to a point. Leave them to dry for an hour or so then stick them on top of the cake in layers using buttercream adhesive. Video number three helped with this.