Hi I’m Baker Girl Lou, owner of DIY Cake Kit Company – Cake 2 The Rescue. I’m so excited to be guest blogging for The Mummy Code this week and I can’t wait to share with you my top tips for baking and decorating a home-made birthday cake.
Before I start, the thing you should all know is that I’m not a baker by trade, I actually started out in engineering and then interior design. I’m no Donna Hay, in fact, my lack of decorating skills is my secret weapon! So, I promise you, if I can do it, so can you!
The funny thing is that kids don’t need their cake to be perfect! What they see in a home-made cake is love. They love bragging to their friends as it arrives at the table, candles lit, “My Mum/Dad made that!” I honestly think there is nothing like a homemade cake so I hope that the tips and tricks I’m about to share give you the confidence to give it a go!
Since opening Cake 2 The Rescue in 2011 I’ve created over 200 kits, each designed to ensure that people with little to no decorating experience can have success in the kitchen! Between making 200 cakes and the feedback I’ve received from 11,000 plus customers I’ve learned the pit falls of cake making. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, what can go wrong and how to avoid it. My moto is “Hero-status for minimal effort, stress free baking even on 2 glasses of wine!”
So here are my top tips:
Making a Template
Google is fantastic for templates. Search for things like printable masks and colouring pages, these will give you great outline drawings easy to print and make templates. Consider making the head of a character rather than the whole body. The shape will be easier to cut out and that means, easier to ice! Avoid 3D cakes if you have to move your cake to another venue.
Baking Your Cake
You really want your cake to rise as flat as possible so keep the oven a bit lower (say 160oC) this will make the cake rise slowly and more evenly. Position your cake in the middle of the oven not the top. If your oven usually cooks things more quickly than recipe guidelines or your cakes have a habit of splitting in the middle then chances are your thermostat is out of wacks so make sure you bake at a lower temperature than recommended and consider having your oven serviced.
Bake The Day Before
If you bake your cake the day before you decorate it, it will be much easier to ice. It’s a bit like buying a loaf of fresh bread straight from the baker’s oven, it always tears when you try to spread the butter. You’ll get less crumbs if you give it time to settle.
Making Butter Icing
You icing needs to be spreadable but still thick. So add your food colouring to get the desired colour before making the icing softer. Usually the liquid of the food colouring is enough to soften the icing but if it’s not just add a little more butter or a teaspoon of milk. If you thin the icing before you add the food colouring you may end up with a runny mess!!
Icing Your Cake
Think of icing your cake as gliding the icing over the surface, not scraping butter onto bread. Put a big pile of icing on the middle of the cake and then gently push the icing around the cake and over the sides. If you have too little icing on your spatula you will drag the surface of the cake and that’s when crumbs sneak in!
Fondant is Fun (I promise!)
Don’t be scared of fondant, it’s just like using play doh only edible!! It will give you a really professional look and give you much more flexibility in your design than using lollies. Just remember butter icing is king when it comes to taste so make the majority of your cake with butter icing and just use fondant for the details like for example the face on your ninja turtle.
Warm the fondant up by kneading it in your hands, this will make it more malleable and easy to use (I recommend gloves!). Roll it out onto a sheet of baking paper, this will make it easier to pick up the shapes. Run your finger round the edge of the shapes after cutting them out to remove any rough edges and give a smooth finish.
Storing Your Cake
Avoid putting your finished cake in the fridge unless you have to. On the bench is always best or with the air conditioning on if it’s a hot day. If you have to keep it in the fridge, serve your cake immediately when you remove it from the fridge to avoid the colours on your cake running as it warms up to room temperature and moisture sets in.
Hope these tips have given you the confidence to try making your next birthday cake at home. You can always have a practise run a few weeks before if it’s your first time just to put your mind at ease. And please remember it’s not about creating the perfect cake, it’s about the love that went into making it. I promise you, once you see the excitement on your little ones face, you’ll never look back.
Cake 2 The Rescue – DIY Cake Kits are offering a special $5 discount off their cake kits to Mummy Code readers, valid until 30th June 2016. So if you want all the hard working taken out of planning your cake and love the idea of having the recipe card, template and everything you need arrive in the box ready to bake and decorate, take a look at their fabulous cakes.