I get a few unusual requests for cakes sometimes, which actually suits me down to the ground as I love flexing my creative muscles to make a cake that is a bit out of the ordinary. Over the last week I have made two cakes on a tipsy theme - a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and a packet of Marlboro Lights for a 40th birthday cake, and a giant pint of Guinness cake which I made for Melissa to celebrate St Patrick's Day on Saturday.
As I'm writing this post I'm getting hungry again and might just have to cut myself another slice of the Guinness cake before I tell you how I made the cakes....
I've made the vodka bottle cake before, so it was quite handy that I already had the label prepared. Usually I can find a suitable picture on Google Images but in this case I had to make it up from scratch which took more than 2 1/2 hours that I hadn't budgeted for - oops. Luckily after some good searching I was able to find the Marlboro images I needed, and with a bit of photoshopping I sent the pictures off to be printed into edible images at a local company in Newhaven. I got some slightly strange looks when I picked them up and had to assure them it wasn't a cigarette flavoured cake!
The cake itself is a vanilla madeira cake made from two 5" round cakes that I filled and cut in half to create the main bottle shape:
Then it just needed a small amount of shaping with a sharp knife to create the domed top and to make sure the sides were smooth and even. Once carved, the cake was then covered in a thin layer of buttercream:
The neck of the bottle was made from a sausage of marzipan, then I covered the whole thing in grey sugarpaste and trimmed neatly:
The cigarette packed was made from a rectangle of cake cut to just smaller than the image and covered in white sugarpaste. I've learned the hard way to always use plenty of icing sugar underneath so that when you come to move it to the board the sugarpaste doesn't stick to the surface.
The surface of the sugarpaste is dampened with a little water before fixing the edible image (see my Monkey Street Art post for top tips on using edible images):
The bottle label is added to the cake in the same way and the cigarette packet is secured to the board with a little icing.
A few finishing touches and a happy birthday message in royal icing and the cake is finished:
I think making this cake gave me the inspiration for the Guinness cake, and I instinctively knew that the recipe I had to use was Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake. I'm not a huge fan of chocolate cakes, but this one is a little bit different - moist and dark, with a hint of bitterness coming from the Guinness and then lashings of cream cheese icing really makes it a special cake. Nigella's recipe is for a 9" round cake, which I split between a 5" and a 6" tin to give the basis of the famous pint glass shape.
This is quite a damp cake and not really suitable for carving, but I had my heart set on making this cake work and just took shaping the cake very slowly, glueing crumbs back on with a little more icing to fill in any holes. Usually you can freeze cakes before carving to make it easier, but I didn't want to risk the cream cheese icing in the freezer. I also stuffed cake crumbs on top of the layers of icing to make as stable a surface as possible for the sugarpaste as the icing isn't as firm or stable as buttercream (so also not really suitable for a carved cake like this!). Before I started carving I placed strips of greaseproof paper just under the edges of the cake which protect the board from crumbs and smears of icing. It doesn't look very pretty at this stage, but it's now got just about the right shape:
Then for a thin layer of icing so that the sugarpaste will stick and once that's smooth you can carefully remove the greaseproof paper and you will have a nice clean board underneath:
And then time for the sugarpaste - I like to use Renshaw Chocolate Sugarpaste which has a lovely chocolate flavour. I covered this up to nearly the top, then covered the top part with white sugarpaste for the head of the pint. I then cut through both layers of paste and removed the excess to give a nice clean line:
All that was left was to add the logo using some edible gold paint and some superwhite mixed with a dash of water to create the white for the writing.
And it just so happens that this is excellent timing as I am celebrating my blogiversary this week - one year of writing the Brighton Bakery blog. Thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope you all have a pint of cake to celebrate with me!