My boss said that home made and decorated birthday cakes are an intergenerational tradition. If your parent did it, you are more likely to do it, and if you do it your children will come to expect it.
I did it because I’m on the crafty side. I guess I’m making a rod for my back, but I don’t think I could stand to go with supermarket or bakery cakes.
After much waffling from Thing 1 about what type of cake she wanted for her 3rd birthday (Fish! Butterfly! Dragon! Chocolate! Vanilla!) I decided to just make adorable little bug cupcakes.
But how to decorate them? I toyed with the idea of fondant and painting (though I only had water based colour and no vodka), but decided to go with painting with royal icing.
Here they are!
The cakelet moulds
The cakes- undecorated. They are all bagged up to go off to the freezer for a few days before decoration.
These were the rejects. Too big (for a toddler to eat alone)or didn’t work out well, those ladybugs…
The offcuts- lots of leftover cake.
My decorating process
I made Royal Icing with food colouring and painted it on.
They looked really awful at first. Drippy and stuff.
After they dried they looked a bit better.
I have discovered why painting with Royal Icing is not a thing. It’s hard to work with and even if you have some skill it does not look polished. It’s like painting with paste, that then drips. I do not recommend it.
I also covered some of the larger cakes with fondant and then painted those with royal icing. I do not recommend that either. A bit garish.
Next time I will do something easier like cutting out a complicated shape and covering the lot in buttercream. Or fondant (though I think Fondant is gross and apparently so does Thing 1). These took 90 minutes at least just to paint. Do they look like they took 90 minutes? Not so much.
Conclusion: Difficult, with unpolished looking results.
I used a recipe from my Mennonite Cookbook called Lady Baltimore Cake.
I’m not exactly happy with the consistency of the cake. It’s very cookie like. There was a lot of butter in the cake. A lot. And probably more flour than necessary. I wanted something that would cook in 20-30 minutes because I had to do multiple batches and many of the other recipes I was eyeing had 50-60 minute cook times. I can content myself with knowing that toddlers don’t care. Sugary? Check. I was rewarded at the birthday-cake-eating-party with the silence of small children munching cake. That’s the best validation there is.