Sometimes Melissa and I can be a bit rubbish at remembering things, especially important dates like friends' birthdays. No matter how many times we mention it and remind ourselves in the weeks before the event, the date will fly right past us until that forehead-smacking moment when we realise it's too late.
So when it's a really good friend's birthday that escapes us (sorry again Sheena!), we usually make up for it by making an extra nice cake.
I had borrowed this great book in the library called Fun and Original Character Cakes and I had been waiting for an excuse to make this really cute cake that appears on the front of it. Sheena and her husband Nathan have just had a beautiful baby boy called Murphy, so we thought that Sheena deserved a little pampering in return for the sleepless nights she's been having with the little one. This cake seemed to fit the bill.
The cake was a beetroot and chocolate loaf cake which I based on a Diana Henry recipe. I was a bit worried about how the cake would turn out as we had a power surge that blew the fuse for the cooker right in the middle of baking it. Luckily we replaced the fuse quickly and it didn't make any difference to the final result.
The book gives step by step instructions for making all the decorations. I made a few tweaks to the design, mainly making it into an old fashioned roll top bath shape on a chequered floor. The original design has a round bath which is covered with black sugarpaste, but I try not to use black very much as it has so much colouring added it doesn't taste very nice.
About half way through making the cake, Melissa and I had a little panic that Sheena might be offended by giving her a cake with a hippo on it. At this stage I'd already spent hours making it and they were due to arrive soon so there wasn't really time to change plans. I just had to hope that it would be cute enough and she would appreciate the effort we had gone to. And the main thing that matters is the taste right?
Luckily Sheena loved it, and really liked how long Miss Hippo's eyelashes were. She took the cake to her family gathering the next day and they all gave really great feedback. What was interesting was that the cake actually got more chocolatey and moist the following day - I think that might be because of the beetroot.
There are some other quirky cake designs in the book that I really want to make. I guess I'll just have to wait to miss another friend's birthday to try one out ;o)