So last Friday I turned 27. It’s one of those crappy 20’s birthdays when I realise I am hurtling towards 30. Still, I fared better than last year where I totally freaked out about suddenly having to say I was in my late twenties. I was treated to brunch at Betty’s tea toom in Ilkley, then we popped to the sugarcraft supplies shop so I could pick up some new sugarpaste to make the flowers on my cake and also stopped by the lovely Swillington Organic Farm where I picked up some rind-on bacon (my favourite) and a rack of organic lamb. In the evening we went for a v. tasty meal at Pinche Pinche mexican restaurant who catered for a blogger event I ran at work.
The day before I was at a web design conference with Mr LTT and as he’s self employed and had taken both that day and my birthday off, I was left to my own devices for most of the weekend so I had full time to devote to making myself a birthday cake. I had loads of ideas what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to try a few things like making a proper zebra cake, using swiss meringue buttercream (a year since I made it for my last birthday cake) and having a play with sugarpaste flowers which I hadn’t done since I did my course a while back.
I started making the flowers and quickly realised there was no way I was going to be able to make enough in time, so I cut it down to three although I would’ve liked more, but I saw the light fading and realised I was going to have to act fast if I wanted to capture the light to take the photos.
The cake itself was quite easy. I initially made one following the recipe I first found for zebra cake but it used olive oil which I’m not especially keen on and even though I cake tested it and it seemed fine, once it’d cooled and I went to slice it, it turned out it wasn’t cooked in the middle. So I sighed, cleared down the kitchen and started again. This time I used my usual sponge cake recipe (x4) but I melted the butter to make it a bit more runny and it worked out great! When I split the batter to colour, I used bright pink gel food colouring and blue gel food colouring. I used two 9 inch tins by the way. I used a cake wire to slice the cakes in half.
For the buttercream I used Sweetapolita’s swiss meringue buttercream but even though we both have KitchenAid mixers she must have a much bigger one by the look of the photos, because halfway through making it my egg whites were nearly overflowing the bowl! I took half the mix out and slowly added it back in as I added in the butter. I then mixed in blue food colouring (Sugarflair). I then filled between two of the layers with buttercream and also some apricot jam for a bit more flavour and apricot jam is totally my favourite. Let’s face it, if you can’t have what you want on your birthday then when can you?
I used my Wilton 1M star tip to pipe the roses like on I am baker’s rose cake tutorial. Then I used some white normal buttercream to pipe in the gaps and add another colour to the cake. I popped the sugarpaste flowers in the top too.
I think the best thing about this cake was taking it to work today – everyone ooohed and aahed and couldn’t believe I’d made it. There’s such excitement in having a pretty buttercream and having a more exciting colouring inside I think! It was great because everyone managed to have a slice and as the swiss meringue buttercream isn’t nearly so sweet, it was possibly to have a slice without questioning whether it would leave you with type II diabetes. I didn’t use all the buttercream by the way, I used about ⅔ of it and put the rest in an airtight tub in the freeer.
Do you want to know how much of the main ingredients I used? OK, this will make me feel a bit ill but I’m going to!
- 1.356kg butter
- 1kg sugar
- 225g flour
- 4 eggs plus 15 egg whites
On that note, I’m going to return to diet…