Beautiful Butterfly Biscuits

Spring has definitely sprung this week, and the sunshine is putting big smiles on everyone’s faces!

A new cake decorating magazine has come out in the UK, and as a treat to myself I decided to subscribe – at least it won’t take up space in the already-groaning wardrobe like my normal “treats”.

The first issue came with these super cute butterfly cutters, so obviously I wanted to put them to good use straight away…

The biscuits themselves were a simple recipe from Be-Ro (search for rich biscuits). My parents have the Be-Ro recipe book and we always used to use it for cakes and biscuits when I was younger. They were always really easy and straightforward to make, so when I bought a place of my own this was one of the first baking books to grace my shelves. The recipes are simple, generally with every day ingredients (no pinches of 7 different kinds of spice that you’ll never use again…”), with easy to follow instructions and clear photos of what the finished product is supposed to look like.

For the icing I actually used a tip from my new magazine (hurray, subscription is paying off already!) I made up the coloured icing, quite thick to start with, and put a spoonful in a piping bag, which I used to outline the biscuits. Then I mixed a little water into the icing to make it runny, and spooned it into the middle of the biscuits. With only a little encouragement it spreads out, filling up to the piped outline. I’m so impressed with the result, beautiful smooth iced biscuits, neatly outlined with no drips running down the side or patches in the icing!

For the decoration I used my glitter icing tubes and just made a few free-hand swirls one each, simple but effective.

Baby’s Toy Box Cake

Recently some friends of ours had a beautiful little baby girl. What better way to welcome her than with a tasty toy box cake!

Rob, a painter and decorator by trade, wanted to try out his painting skills and make a wood-effect cake, so the choice was made – baby + wood + cake = one giant toy box…

The cake itself was a vanilla sponge with vanilla butter cream. I used a standard square tin, cut this in half for the main cake, and made a second, thinner cake to be sliced and stacked for the rim of the toy box.

With the basic shape of the cake made, we covered it in a layer of yellow fondant, and Rob got to work with his wood effect. Using normal food colouring, he layered up the colour to get the grained look, before adding a few dark lines to make the plank details.

Whilst Rob was hard at work, I made the toys and the blocks for the top. They are all made out of fondant, again simply coloured with food colouring. There is a great tutorial on making fondant teddy bears here, and I modified this ever so slightly for the rabbit.

For a personal touch I wanted to put the baby’s name on the cake, and what better way than pretty pastel building blocks. I used a couple of square edges to shape the fondant into cubes, before imprinting with a letter stencil, and drawing over with some glitter writing icing.
To put them on the cake I used some cocktail sticks to get them on different levels, and made sure to warn the recipients before they tucked in!

The finishing touch was a little chocolate fondant to spell out “TOYS” on the front of the box, a sprinkling of glitter later and we were all done!

I think Rob has decided as much as he likes the look (and taste!) of fondant, it’s definitely not the same to work with as walls! That might be the last I see of him in the kitchen for a while…

Sparkles, Swirls, Pearls and CHOCOLATE!

The last of my birthday – this one was to take into my office, and following the epic afternoon tea, I wanted to keep this one quite simple.

The cake itself was wonderfully simple – a rich chocolate sponge, sandwiched together with withe sickly-sweet white chocolate buttercream, and topped with a layer of chocolate fondant icing.

For the decoration I wanted to make use of some of the icing kit I’d been given for Christmas.

The idea behind these stencils is to imprint them lightly, then go over in one smooth line with icing, to create a neat swirl.

However once I’d imprinted them into the cake, I decided to do something a little different. Using white glitter piping icing, I carefully went around putting little dots into each of the imprint marks.

A not-so-steady hand and several swirls later, the results looked great. The writing icing sat very well inside the imprints, creating tiny, shiny, little balls, which looked like the cake was adorned with little pearls all over.

Another cake I’m really proud of; simple, quite quick, and impressively effective.

Needless to say it went down very well in the office, and definitely tasted as good as it looked!