Yes - Oliver - aka my Little Cake Tester, is 3 ! It was his birthday last Tuesday and we had a steam train ride with his friends last Sunday which was super fun. Seems an eternity ago now already. Hard to believe it's 3 years since I was given the most beautiful little bundle I'd ever set eyes on.
Asked what he wanted for his birthday " Cake Mummy, just cake ! A big round chocolate cake and cupcakes to take to nursery.... and a Handy Manny cake with a car on it for my party"
Hmm. Not just one cake then. More like lots of cakes.... and lots of work
We started with this. After all, I couldn't not make my little rascal a cake to cut on the morning of his birthday ! A great big fudgy chocolate cake and a load of cupcakes with pirate toppers and flags. Did I mention Oliver likes pirates ? Ok - he's mad about pirates at the moment ...
This was not all the cupcakes - there were 24 of them and I put them all into little individual sealed pods after taking the photo, ready for the next morning.
There was chocolate cake for breakfast ... and a helicopter...
Don't worry. My kid doesn't normally eat cake for breakfast, but it's allowed on birthdays !
Oliver was very happy with the chocolate cakes, and the cupcakes seemed to go down a storm at nursery. We even posted a few to relatives and they seemingly arrived intact !
For the party, I'd arranged a steam train trip for 10 kids and 9 mummies. In the end 3 daddies and a nanny came along for the ride too ! I started making the cake you see at the top on the Saturday night after Oliver went to bed.
I admit it. I had every intention of copping out. I had bought a plastic Handy Manny car and intended making a simple sponge cake, fondant covering and then plonking said car on top.
Plenty of excuses.
I'm still not well.
I'm tired an have been working FAR too much
How many cakes does a 3yo need ?
But then again, what sort of food blogging mummy would I be to cheat and make a boring cake decorated with a plastic car ?
The challenge was on.
Something different. Something with wow factor. Shocking even - since it was also Halloween.
Have you ever heard of a Rainbow cake ? Six sponge layers like a rainbow. A hideous amount of food colouring. Layered with white swiss meringue buttercream.
I'd heard of it- but I'd never made one. I'd never even tasted swiss meringue buttercream either never mind made the stuff. 2am and no time to practice. It would either work, or be a mad rush for a cake at the supermarket in the morning !
Made the cake layers, made the swiss meringue buttercream.
Fondant covered the cake - that was hard. Didn't realise it should be refrigerated before covering this stuff. Swiss meringue buttercream has the texture of whipped cream ! Finish wasn't too bad. Ditched the plastic car idea and made a giant black topper with cut out skull and crossbones detail so the white icing shone through.
Cake looked cute, boyish and totally disguised what lay within....
Oliver ready to cut his cake....
and this is what was inside !
No one had seen one of these before and it certainly got it's fair share of attention. I felt like a kid again myself. It didn't look anything spectacular when putting it together but was rather breath-taking when sliced !
It's really funny to see kids with multi coloured cake crumbs all over their face. :-)
225g salted butter
400g caster sugar
5 egg whites
2tsp vanilla extract
400g self raising flour (sifted)
350g luke warm milk
Weigh your mixing bowl.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg whites followed by some of the flours, then some milk, more flour, more milk and vanilla until all incorporated.
Divide the mix equally into 6 bowls. I had 260g of mix in each bowl.
Add a stupid amount of gel paste food colouring to each until a very vibrant colour is achieved. I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
Butter and flour (or grease and line) an 8" diameter silicone baking mould or standard tin for each bowl of mix. I made two cakes at a time. These cooked at 170deg C fan for about 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
You could layer this with normal vanilla buttercream and it would be lovely. For me, the jury is still out on the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I didn't much care for it before it went on the cake, but as a filling it was light, fluffy and quite tasty. I wouldn't want much of it though. Then again, I SHOULDN'T be eating cake anyway !
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Whisk-Kid has a fantastic tutorial )
9 (NINE) egg whites
350g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla
100g white chocolate (melted and at room temperature)
Look at the link to the tutorial. I could not have made the SMB without it. I'd have chucked it out at the soupy stage !
Put the egg whites in a pan with the caster sugar over a low heat. Lightly whisk in the pan on the heat until the sugar is dissolved and the texture is no longer gritty.
Put this into a stand mixer and whisk until cool. Add tiny knobs of the butter and whisk until these totally disappear before adding more. It will eventually look really soup like. Whisk the life out of it for about 5 mins.. If it refuses to thicken up to whipped cream consistency, bung it in the fridge for 30 mins and then try again. Mine needed the time in the fridge...
Vicky was good enough to video the cake cutting for me...
A labour of love for the little one I treasure most.
Happy 3rd Birthday baby. All those cakes were worth every minute to see the smiles on your face !
Lots of Love Always, Mummy xx