I don't know why January has a reputation for being boring, miserable and staying indoors - last Saturday Melissa and I were back up in the big smoke for our third London party in as many weeks. Our good friend David turned 40, and to celebrate he invited his friends and family and threw a lavish party with a film screening and a slap up 3 course meal in a top London hotel - he really spoiled us all.
A few of us clubbed together to get David something really nice, and part of the gift was a Brighton Bakery birthday cake (I happen to know the owner there so can get a good discount haha). David really loves monkeys and I toyed with the idea of creating a carved cake in the shape of a monkey - that would have been pretty cool, but if it went wrong it could have looked a bit...special. David collects and is a big fan of street art and I thought I could make a cake in the shape of a brick wall with a Banksy style image on it, but that idea still didn't seem quite right. Then Melissa told me that David really liked a particular graffiti artist called Mighty Mo who paints his iconic monkey across London, and he'd recently bought one of his prints. This was the perfect image for David's cake, and along with a cheeky message this would be something he would really like.
Back before Christmas I made a vodka bottle cake and used a local company who print edible images onto sugarpaste to print the label. It turned out really well, so I thought I would use the same technique for this cake. I never did a post for the vodka cake so here's the picture:
I'd made the trip all the way over to Seaford to get the image so I had to make sure the cake was good as I didn't have a back up. I started with an 8" square cake which I cut and reshaped into a rectangle and covered with orange brick coloured sugarpaste. I used my handy brick texturing tool to create the brickwork effect and then used a dry brush with some red colouring dust on top to create a bit more texture. The cake was then ready to add the edible image.
The image itself is on very thin sugarpaste which is very fragile and can be quite tricky to work with - once it's stuck you can't move it so you have to get it right first time. Here are my top tips:
1. Trim around the edge of the image on a flat surface using a cutting wheel, making sure you have a clean cut through the paste all the way around - you'll find you don't need to press too hard as it's very fine sugarpaste.
2. Put the image still with its backing into the freezer for exactly 90 seconds. This makes the image stiff so that the backing peels off easily.
3. While the image is freezing, dampen the area of the cake where your image is going to go with some moistened kitchen towel to make it tacky so that the image sticks.
4. Take your frozen image from the freezer after 90 seconds and quickly peel off the backing and set in place. Smooth gently with the side of your hands moving from the centre outwards to remove any air bubbles. By the time it is in place the image will have defrosted and gone soft again so be confident and work quickly.
I had planned to take plenty of pictures but our camera had run out of battery and I felt completely foolish. Luckily our good friend Jo had her camera at the party and has kindly allowed me to use her picture of the cake:
I hear that David took the cake leftovers into work last week and it was all eaten up, and that's always lovely to hear.
David - happy 40th birthday, thanks again for inviting us to your party we had a fantastic time and so pleased you loved the cake.