Once upon a time - well last month to be precise - I decided to make a birthday cake for my eldest daughter's 18th birthday. Jen loves the TV series "Once Upon A Time", so I decided to use this as a theme. The image that stuck in my head was the end of the opening credits with trees silhouetted against a night sky. I thought about stencilling the trees and then I remembered Karen Taylor's "Little Red Riding Cake" in Cakes and Sugarcraft magazine. I knew it would be a challenge but thought I'd give it a go. Like the path of true love in a fairytale, making this cake did not go entirely smoothly!
It all started well. I made the trees out of floral sugarpaste a couple of weeks ahead of time.
I was worried there would be some breakages, so I made a lot of trees!
I made the letters out of yellow florist paste and dried them around a cake time so they would fit on the finished cake. I smeared white vegetable fat on the tin to make the letters stick.
Then I painted the letters using a mixture of vodka and powdered gold food colouring. This was as far as I could go ahead of time.
This was where things started to go wrong. I made the cakes the evening before construction day, hoping they would be tall enough. I made a 9 egg Victoria sponge mixture, thinking that was sure to be enough. I was wrong - I was one inch short on the bottom tier. If I was doing this professionally, at this point I would have baked another layer. I'm not professional so I bodged it! After levelling the layers, I used the cake tops to patch together another layer. I knew I would be using dowels to support the forest canopy and as long as the dowels were held firmly, the squishy middle layer would only need to support the top layer.
A generous covering of buttercream filled in the gap at the outer edge and at this point I called in the cavalry.
My hubbie, Graeme, has a skill at smoothing buttercream which I need to learn when I'm not working to a deadline.
The sugar paste covering was Cosmic Blue from Squires Kitchen. It reminds me of lace pillow cover cloths. At this point I remembered I had intended to cut my nails before I started. I looked at the thumbnail imprint and hoped I'd be able to cover it with a tree.
From this point it started to come together quite quickly. The first layer of trees went on.
With the second layer of trees, the bottom tier was finished. I added the top tier and stuck on the letters. The hug Jen gave me when she saw the cake made it all worthwhile. It was quite an investment in time and sugarpaste. but as Rumpelstiltskin says - "Magic always comes with a price"!