Friday, 13 April 2012

Ribbon cake

My niece turned 18 this month and my sister asked if I would make the cake. I spent some time collecting different images of cakes I liked on Pinterest and then showed them to my sister who chose this one. I was a bit daunted initially, especially as the birthday fell right in the middle of the Easter holidays, meaning I would have to bake and decorate the cake with my two gorgeous but sometimes demanding kiddiwinks around. Call in the cavalry in the form of super dad Jase and my ever wonderful mum ...

Jase kept the kids amused (playing vintage games on the Xbox 360) while I baked four 9" vanilla sponges on Easter Monday. Having been looking for some time, I finally managed to find some perfect sandwich tins just two days before.

Sadly these Silverwood 9" loose base sandwich pans were one of the few things not in the 30% home event at our local department store but after to-ing and fro-ing I took the plunge and splurged out £20 for both of them, on the basis that they will last forever! It definitely made things easier, being able to mix and bake two sponges at a time, unlike Sophie's Moshi Monster cake which I mixed and baked each of the four layers separately.

I left these overnight and decorated the cake the next day. I filled between the sponge layers with some buttercream I coloured plum/purple (to match the ribbon going round the board) but kept the buttercream for the top and sides natural colour. I covered the cake and 12" board in one as I did for the Moshi Monster cake, but this time it didn't prove as easy. It was very warm that day and the white fondant got very soft and stuck to the rolling mat, so I had to scrape it all off, dust the mat with lots of icing sugar and start again. This time it worked fine but the icing sugar had dried out the fondant and made it crack slightly. Nothing serious but enough to niggle the perfectionist in me ...

I had bought some ready coloured fuchsia pink, sugar pink, green and purple fondant but hadn't been able to find any lime green, so I coloured my own using Wilton's leaf green gel and some primrose yellow. The resulting colour was just right, although I did mix up far too much. I'll be using that up in the next few cakes ...

Then the fun part ...

My Wilton fondant ribbon cutter came into its own with this cake. I bought this on holiday in Florida last year and have played with it a little before now, but this cake was meant for it!
I started with the thicker ribbons and chose to do these in the fuchsia pink and the lime green, laying these across the cake at right angles to each other. I then cut thinner ribbons in the lighter pink and darker green and placed these close to, but not touching, the thicker ribbons. I decided to make it random so thin ribbons were not all on the same side of the thick ones around the cake. I also didn't lay them right  across the top but cut them so that the middle didn't get too high with fondant ribbons. I then cut very thin purple ribbons and placed these in the gaps between the ribbons and glued a pink flowers to each of these ribbons.

I had previously mixed some CMC powder with some purple fondant to make it stronger and then cut strips which I rolled around a pencil. I removed these ribbon curls from the pencil once it had dried slightly and then left them to dry fully. I also made ribbon loops in each of the colours and placed a twisted piece of kitchen paper to keep the loops up while they dried. If I had had more time I would have made all of the loops at least three or four days before to harden fully, but ended up making them on the day and leaving them for an hour or so. This meant that there was a high casualty rate, but Sophie and Justin were more than happy to take care of these ...

I then started putting the top bow decoration together, randomly placing the ribbon loops and, when happy with the look, fixing them down with some white royal icing. We had bought a cake fountain candle that formed the centre of the ribbon and which was truly spectacular when lit, something like the image below. This proved useful, as I don't know how I would have finished off the top of the bow! I also added some ribbons in two places at the side of the cake, which looked pretty.
I finished off the cake with some edible jelly diamonds, placing one in each of the pink flowers and "scattering" others in the top bow and side ribbons, then the obligatory sprinkling of edible glitter.
For a cake I was initially daunted by, I think it came out beautifully and more importantly my niece loved it.
Happy 18th birthday Amy.

PS We all contributed to getting her a Kitchen Aid for her present so I am looking forward to her starting her own blog with all her wonderful creations. Go Amy go ...


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