A Duo of Birthday cakes

As this year was a milestone birthday for G – her first in double figures – I wanted to bake her a cake she’d love and remember for a long time.  Some time ago, I had seen this post by fellow allergy-friendly blogger, The Free From Fairy, and had duly filed away the information in the depths of my memory ready for the right occasion.  I loved the idea of creating a cake for G that would be as unique as she is and would have that often elusive wow factor too.

SAM_1707The morning before her party dawned and having bought every colour of icing under the sun and ensuring I had enough supplies of all the key ingredients, I started to bake.  In an attempt to make the cake extra-special, I decided to sandwich together layers of chocolate cake as well as plain sponge and used the tried and tested recipes I had developed earlier in the year.  The chocolate cake was perfect, but I wasn’t happy with the plain sponge layers as they were too soft in the centre to allow me to successfully cut and stack the cake as I needed.  I desperately searched for an alternative recipe and quickly found one that I tweaked according to the new principles of allergy-friendly baking that I have learnt this year. This second Victoria sponge worked brilliantly well and has now been added to my allergy-friendly repertoire.

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With cakes baked, layers trimmed and stacked and my icing ready, I attempted to construct G’s rainbow pinata cake.  I filled the hollow with a selection of G- and M-friendly sweets before struggling to cover the structure with icing, ready for the final decoration. SAM_1717 I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t totally happy with the end result.  I found it hard to create the stability needed using an “everything-free” sponge cake.  With hindsight, I wish I had assembled the cake layers whole, rather than trying to create the arch of the rainbow as I think the outcome would have been even better.  All that being said, G and her friends loved the cake and were thrilled to discover the pinata-effect of the sweets hidden away in the middle of each slice.

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Of course, me being me, I wasn’t satisfied with just one cake to celebrate such an important occasion and once the party was over and done with, I set to finding the perfect creation for the big day itself.  My inspiration for this second cake came from the amazing book, “Cupcakes, cookies & pie, oh my!“, which had been part of my recent leaving present from my job.  G and M have spent hours drooling over the wondrous creations featured between those pages and I determined to create a cupcake piece of art just for G.  I now have several great cake recipes to choose from, but stuck to our new favourites of Chocolate and Victoria sponges, though I ambitiously attempted to marble these together for the cupcakes.

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The challenge this time round was that I needed to bake the cakes, ice and finish the decorations all in one day.  Usually I bake the day before and then spend the evening before the party finalising my ambitious decorating plans, but with G’s birthday falling on a Friday, I had to do it all whilst the children were at school.  Cupcakes and 8-inch cake baked, I started to prepare the icing, which needed carefully combining to ensure I had the final effect I wanted.  Everything ready, I put all the component parts together and perused the final masterpiece.  G had fallen in love with the cupcake peacock in the recipe book and I have to say, it has quickly become one of my favourite bakes too.  Needless to say, the birthday girl was delighted and it tasted pretty good too!

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