Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Paternity cake: A challenge

Assume your best Mel (or Sue) voice and read on.

"Get ready bakers … "
"It’s time for the Show Stopper Challenge …"
"And today’s theme is  … "
"Paternity cake."

"It should not look like this …. "

"You’ve got between now and next week to wow us [without including dried fruit]"

"Do your worst."

And thus the gauntlet was thrown down. Seven days to produce a paternity cake that both tasted good and looked the part.

This cake was always going to be about a funky decoration (as well as taste; it's always about taste). I had an idea for the design that meant I needed an oblong cake. The size of the cake would be constrained by the size of my baking tin and the boxes I have to transport the cake to Banners.

Now, I'm not the best with fondant icing (or piping for that matter), so I had to find a way of getting the planned design on to the cake. Fortunately The Cake Shop in Banners has a machine that prints onto icing. Happy days!

All that was left was to make the cake. The father in question had already hinted that a lemon cake would go down well so that's what I went for. I made a typical 4888 sponge flavoured with lemon and baked three cakes in my 8.5"x10.5" tin. Turns out that's not quite enough cake batter. There were a couple of crispy edges and missing corners, but with some judicious rotation during the layering, I just about got away with it (well, nobody complained anyway).

The sponges were sandwiched with some home-made lemon curd and a mascapone-cream mix. I topped the lot off with lemon butter icing. Then managed to use white fondant to give a reasonable finish. Turns out kneading the fondant is the key; it makes it much more pliable and easier to roll out. Who knew?

I picked up the print this morning and it better than I could ever have hoped for. Every detail had come out. Amazing.


The cake went down exceedingly well. Notable comments included "Oh, I thought you bought it" and "why aren't you married?". I do wonder, sometimes, if my cakes are preferred to the efforts I put into my actual day-job...

The original design:

Three cakes in eight days, that's not too shabby.

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