Ok…. so let’s fess-up… it was my 60th birthday earlier this month! Sixty seems more of a
millstone milestone than fifty did. However, I saw it in in much the same way *** dancing.
And I made a cake (ok, not a surprise) but as I did so I thought that the design would suit a 60s party (as in fancy-dress based on the 1960s) as much as for a sixty-year-old. Actually, it really doesn’t matter what age – just as long as big blowsy flowers are suitable to decorate a large number-shaped cake, and these really do not have to be psychedelic colours at all… they could all be pink, or yellow, or blue, or — well you get the idea …..
And I like to share making cake decorations without using lots of fancy equipment – as many people only get to decorate a few cakes and do not want to fork-out for such stuff on a once in a blue moon basis. So here we go…
The easiest way to make a number cake is to buy or borrow a number-shapes cake tin. However, I opted to make mine easier to cover by omitting the ‘holes’ in the centres – so did not use a shaped tin.
I baked a 12 inch square chocolate and vanilla marbled sponge cake. Same recipe as Victoria sandwich (times-ed up) but longer cooking time and slightly lower temperature. The 12 inch cake took 12 eggs. For the chocolate part I melted 400g plain chocolate in the MW and beat it into half of the mixture. TIP: I always weigh-up the eggs, out of their shells, for a Victoria Sandwich… and then use exactly the same weight in caster-sugar, butter (or soft baking margarine) and self-raising flour – thereafter following the traditional recipe.
I used the round cake tin to mark out the curves for the zero and for the tail on the stick of the 6. The parts were glued together onto the cake-board with apricot jam. My plan above actually shows far more waste than I had .. but none of it goes to actual waste — every-bit eagerly eaten up as a pre-taster!! Brush all over with apricot jam and cover with ready-made roll-out icing (but not ready-rolled) – you’ll need a kilo for each number. Roll out on cornflour – not icing sugar – and ‘pick-up’ supporting the icing with a rolling pin to drape and then, gently with a well-cornfloured hand, smooth the icing over the corners and curves first. Trim to fit.
Take the trimmings and work colours into them and some gum-tragacanth. (this is a specialist ingredient, I’m afraid, but my one pot has lasted me YEARS and I decorate quite a lot of cakes. Also, I’d always go with the real thing rather than the chemical substitute – the price difference isn’t huge)
Apart from this you will need a heart shaped cutter (well worth having for all sorts of decoration). I also used a small 5 petal shape cutter (from a selection tin bought at Lakeland) and a press-cutter with similar number of petals. Now I have experimented with other ’round the house items’ and you can use a circle (cut with an apple-corer or a icing writing nozzle) for the centre of the flowers, decorated by dotting-it with a fork.
Cut five hearts. Stick them together by dampening with water. Cut a centre from a contrasting colour, dampen and press down firmly on the petals. Support on your hand and wash off all cornflour by ‘painting’ with water.
When these are dry prepare to decorate by mixing up one-egg-whites worth of royal icing. Arrange the flowers along the cake, leaving the place where the hole would be blank. Lift each one, squeeze a blob of icing and rearrange the flower on it. Decorate by making small leaves as done for the Christmas cake (or if you did get that spring shapes collection from Lakeland – use the small oak leaf shape) Drape the leaves between the flowers, fixed with a little icing.
Candles (if you have them) can go in the empty centres – as could a name if required. (six tall slim candles went in the centre of the 6)
Why do birthdays with a zero on the end feel momentous?
Which was your best (or worst) number to reach and why?
Do share, – you know I love to hear from you