A mixture of hubris and disorganisation led me to having to make Kitty’s birthday cake myself. She had requested a cake in the shape of a 5, it being her fifth birthday.
So I ordered a “five” tin from Amazon, (Eurotins – not a promising name), with only 5 working days left until her party and it arrived and it was ENORMOUS. “Fuck,” I thought, looking at it. “Fuck.”
So I quickly rang a few bakeries to see if they could knock me up a five-shaped birthday cake and they all sucked in their teeth and went “Ooo we’d need a fortnight’s notice for that.”
“Fuck,” I thought, looking at the monster tin. “Fucking hell.”
So I set about just making the damned thing. I doubled the quantities of James Martin’s chocolate cake, which is the cake I make for any sort of celebration. It is a good cake because it is easy to make – no rubbing-in of butter and sugar – it keeps well and it’s not too sweet. Find the recipe here (and also go back in time 3 years).
I lined the bottom of the monster tin with baking parchment and then greased the whole thing like mad with butter. Then I made the cake batter, poured it in, put it in the oven and crossed my fingers for the whole 55 mins of its baking time and then whole 2 hours of its cooling time. Then I had to uncross my fingers in order to get the cake out of the tin but when it came out, it was just fine. All in one piece. Fine!
“Fuck!” I thought. Then the excitement of this all went to my head and I decided to ice it with sugar paste dyed pink and then trim it with Smarties all stuck on with icing sugar. Then I had to re-ice round the top with yellow because it was all so cracked and fucked all over the place.
The whole process took about three days (not constantly) but Kitty loved it. I won’t be doing it again though.
Anyway you’ll be pleased to hear that that’s it about kids’ birthday parties for a while as Sam hates parties, so will not be having one for his third birthday in May.
That looks amazing! Hope she had a lovely birthday. My nearly 5 year old has requested a space shuttle. I can barely manage round and edible I’m going to have a look at Eurotins though.
Looks amazing – I made a plane cake for my son’s second birthday – lesson learnt ordering one next time – I have neither the patience or nerves for such endeavours!
I think I may have ordered a ‘Castle’ tin from Eurotins back in the day. Something roughly the size of the Taj Mahal turned up and, because I have twins, I had to bake two of these fuckers. One iced in a pink fairy theme and one in a dark, tortured dragons-lair theme because they’re girls but they want to be different (fair play). It took me about a week and I probably spent three hundred quid on icing. I should have piped “Never Again” on each of them but instead I faffed around with smarties and agonised over the shoddy finish because I’m a sucker and a slave to their despotic demands. Now I bake one of your Recipe Rifle chocolate cakes and make lashings of a malted chocolate icing and stick some of those sparkler candles in and it all looks fine in a shit, home-made way. But the sparklers make up for it. Birthday parties in my house now feature me screaming “everyone watch their hair!” as the cakes shoot flames to the ceiling.
Tess this made me LAUGH and LAUGH. thank you xxx
It looks awesome. You should have put tiny Kitty next to it for size comparison!! And Sam sounds like a very wise kid x
I have done this for both my kids until they hit double figures- but I do a sort of short cut. Make enough quantity of cake mixture to fill a roasting tray type vessel (line with parchment for ease). Cut another rectangle of parchment to fit tray. Draw number on parchment paper, filling the space as best you can. When cooked and cooled, lay over upturned cake and use sharp knife to cut out the number shape. Slather in whatever color buttercream icing takes your fancy (go thick so it hides the inevitable crumbs) and then stick smarties or buttons or whatever all over the thing. This hides all manner of sins and looks amazing. Can scale down to a smaller tin also obviously if preferred. Leftover cake from the number cutting exercise is the bonus.
Poppy thank you for this very instructive, practical and helpful tip x
Ha….words to live by…..my point really is there isn’t a cake situation in the world that can’t be MacGyvered to quite spectacular effect with a knife, more buttercream than is decent, and A LOT of smartie action.
Gosh, I agree with Poppy about ‘more buttercream than is decent’. Hides a multitude of sins.
I used to be given a clock cake every year by my mother – google it, but it was from the Hamlyn All-Colour Cook Book c 1970 and was far simpler than the pics I’ve just found. Normal round cake, Cadbury’s Buttons with the number iced on each one and piped icing hands on a pale blue background. Why blue? Who knows. But Buttons – gosh, they were such a treat …
But Kitty’s cake looks SO SMART with the snazzy piping and the smarties. I think you could do ’42’ or ’35’ or ’87’ with two tins and enough people to eat it all and anyone would be delighted. I know I would.
Elisabeth h says
My friend wanted to make a special choc cake for her sister’s 30th, but she forgot to grease the tin properly so she could not get the cake out so she, quite wisely,requested my help. I suggested turning the tin upside down and to give it a little tap or two while I was holding it and she SMASHED down on the tin…and out the cake came….in a huge pile of choc crumbs!! What to do? Well, I am not a kindergarten teacher for nothing,so we scooped it all into a 3 and an 0, play-doh-style or maybe sand-castle style, who knows, made a giant portion of thick gooey choc frosting and covered it all, plenty of candy and smarties and whatnots and everyone thought it was a great success! We also once had a go at a really yummy looking three-layer sponge cake filled with cream and berries and were supposed to put pink jelly on the top as a pretty finish to the berries, but we misread the instructions about the jelly to be allowed to cool (we thought it meant no longer piping hot, not cool as in semi-stiff), so when we poured the liquid jelly stuff onto the cake it seeped through three layers of cream and berries and came out at the bottom in a totally disgusting, cloudy grey-pink cream-jelly yucky mass. Ever resourceful, we stuck the sorry mess into the freezer until the jelly really got stiff, scooped it on top of the cake and covered everything in masses of whipped cream. The taste was just delicious, but we served it along with the picture of what it ought to have looked like……