Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Not just a unicorn rainbow cake, but a sparkly rainbow unicorn cake! This cake was made to celebrate a birthday and was made from yummy chocolate fudge cake, and filled with strawberries and cream. The frosting was a cream cheese frosting and the decorations made from fondant.

Finished rainbow unicorn cake

The chocolate fudge cake recipe is one I use often, and can be found here – it will open in a new window. This time I made it I substituted the sour cream/creme fraiche for low fat Greek style yogurt. The cakes turned out really well – so well that I will be using this substitute every time I make it. I made two square cakes in 11 inch x 11 inch square cake tins. The linked recipe will be enough for one of these, so double it if you have two cake tins. I don’t so I made it twice. This is how they came out:

square chocolate fudge cakes

I made a pattern for the unicorn head from paper, which I drew freehand until I was happy with the shape. Here’s what that looked like:

unicron head template

I was originally going to make its ears out of cake – but they ended up as fondant – which I think looks better anyway. I (carefully) cut out sections of cake to the pattern. I should have made the template smaller, or the cakes bigger – but I ended up with four pieces of unicorn head, like this:

unicorn template headunicorn template head 2unicorn head in four pieces

OK. So the cake is kinda starting to look like a unicorn. Next time I will make a smaller cake, and try to make it just out of two pieces. Next I cut each piece in half, and added sliced strawberries and whipped cream. I think this kind of filling makes a dense chocolate fudge cake nice and fresh.

unicorn head cut in halfunicorn head filled with strawberries and creamunicorn head filled complete

Once the filling was in place I crumbed the whole cake. You can’t see in the picture above, but I laid down four thin strips of baking paper down each side of the cake board. This will catch any crumbs and drips, and can be easily slid from under the cake at the end for a nice, clean finish. I crumbed the cake really well, and I used the leftover whipped cream.

unicorn head crumbed

Then I frosted him with cream cheese frosting. You can find the recipe here and it will open in a new window.   The eye I made from white and blue fondant, and I sprayed an ice cream cone with edible silver spray. Then I began to cut strips of rolled colored fondant and stuck them on from the base over the unicorn cake for the mane.

unicorn cake with cream cheese frosting and hornunicorn cake with fondant mane

You can see I measured out seven even spaces with toothpicks so I know how much of each color to add. And then I moulded the ears out of white and pink fondant.

unicorn cake ears

I stuck the ears into the cake with toothpicks. I used an edible pearl glitter spray over the frosting, and then some more edible glitter was sprinkled all over the cake.

unicorn rainbow cake nearly finished

You can see the unicorn is a little bit sparkly in the photos – much better in real life.  To add the finishing touches I made some dark grey piping icing and added the mouth, nose and piped the lines around his eyes. Glitter rainbow unicorn cake – complete!

glitter rainbow unicorn cake

Thomas the Tank Engine Cake

Creating a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for a young friend’s birthday party was my latest cake challenge. Fortunately, I found a lot of help on the internet, and it seems that Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cakes are a popular choice for the young man about town. I used a chocolate fudge cake recipe with vanilla butter cream frosting. Here’s how it turned out:

So here’s how Thomas was made. The cake is the chocolate fudge cake that I use for, well, pretty much everything – and the recipe is here. I used one and a half times the recipe, baking two square cakes in 11×11 inch tins. There is a fair bit of carving involved with Thomas, and a layer of crumbing frosting is essential. This layer is to prevent lots of crumbs spoiling the fondant finishing. You can see the evolution of the shape of the cake in the photos below – two square cakes, cut in half and sandwiched together with layers of yummy vanilla butter cream frosting.

Luckily you can see I had a Thomas toy to model for me! Carving the rounded front end is really the only slightly difficult part, as you can see the rest of the carving are just straight cuts. Here’s how the front turned out, and how Thomas looks after being crumbed.

After this was done, things got serious. I has coloured the fondant I was using already with gel colourings, but the nerves kicked in, so I went browsing for some online assistance. I found this amazing Thomas the Tank Engine cake tutorial (why, oh why didn’t I do this before carving) which outlines both how to construct the cake, and how to make Thomas’ face. Thanks to Wendy for this and you can find her tutorial here. The tutorial is particularly good on how to make the face, and a good tip too to freeze the cake to make it easier to carve, something I didn’t do. Gradually I built up the layers of fondant, and slowly the whole thing started to look right.

I think he looks a bit creepy with no face, so I put the face on next and finished with all the red and yellow bits. You might notice that he isn’t quite anatomically correct, but enough so that I could live with it.

OK – an aside – I am in the process of ordering some cake modelling tools, so I promise in future that some of those sloppy joins will disappear! But I am certainly getting better with the fondant. Perhaps I could have taken a little more care with the carving – he certainly has a lean, maybe he’s just taking a sharp corner?

Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe

A few weeks ago a lovely friend of mine had a birthday. Hmmmm…. what to bring to the party?

chocolate mud cake

I know! A super-moist chocolate mud cake. Complete with chocolate fondant covered pigs, whipped chocolate ganache frosting and chocolate sand! I had seen a chocolate cake with pig decorations before – and with the use of google images found some amazing cakes to base this one on. (Thanks fellow cake makers!) I think it turned out quite well. Here’s how I did it.

To make the whipped chocolate ganache: break up 300g of dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Meanwhile, heat 300ml of double cream to a simmer point. Then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Wait for a while and then stir until the chocolate is melted completely. Then whisk on a medium speed until its fluffy enough for ya.

To make the chocolate sand I bought the driest and crumbly-est chocolate cookies I could find (mine were chocolate chip – you can see the chips in the photo) broke them up and put them in a food processor for a quick blitz until they transformed into chocolate sand. Magic!

Now, the pigs. I love the look of sugar craft decorations on cakes – there is some amazing work out there – but I don’t always want to eat these amazing creations. That’s just too much sugar paste or fondant, and to me it can ruin the taste of the cake. So these little piggies contain a surprise. A Lindt chocolate ball of joy in the centre. I just colored some ready made sugar fondant pink, rolled it out and cut out circles to wrap the chocolates in. Pinch the edges together and then roll them around in your palms for a bit and they smooth down quite nicely. Ears are little triangles, noses just a blob, and tails tiny little snakes rolled between your fingertips. Two small black frosting eyes – and done.

The cake is sandwiched with more whipped chocolate ganache. It tasted pretty darned good, and the surprise chocloate pigs stole the show.

Here’s the recipe for the cake:

Chocolate Mud Cake

It’s moist. So, so moist. And choclatey. The recipe makes two 10-11 inch cakes.


Serves: 16-20 Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30-35


Ingredients

230g butter (room temperature)
230g caster sugar
230g light brown sugar
8 medium eggs (room temperature)
340g self-raising flour
100g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
generous pinch of salt
10 tablespoons creme fraiche (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract


Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or 350F and prepare two 10 or 11 inch cake tins with baking parchment.
2. Sift dry ingredients together.
3. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Gradually beat in the eggs. If it looks like curdling add two tablespoons from the flour mixture.
5. Fold in the flour mixture, and creme fraiche, alternating between the two -starting and ending with the flour.
6. Divide evenly between tins and gently encourage the mix to the sides.
7. Bake for 30-35 mins, until they smell ready and a skewer comes out clean.
8. Let cool 5 mins in tins, then turn on to a wire rack to cool.

Fabulous Focaccia Recipe

While this is not technically cake, it was sooooo good that I just had to share the recipe. There’s nothing like fresh bread straight out of the oven. Inspired by the BBC’s Great British Bake Off Masterclass this was the first time I had attempted Focaccia. Turned out well!

So here’s the recipe:

This is an amazingly wet dough so don’t get scared – here’s a link to a useful demonstration on kneading with oil by Paul Hollywood. However, your dough will be much wetter than the one in the video.


Serves: 4 Preparation time: 2+ hours Cooking time: 30 mins – 1 hour


Ingredients

500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 x 7g sachets dried easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml/14fl oz cold water
good olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt


Method

1. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir form a dough.
2. Knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water. It will get very wet. Don’t panic, this is correct.
3. Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, turning the bowl. Knead this way for five minutes.
4. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
5.Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Your tray will need a little height in the sides to it, don’t use a completely flat one.
6. Take the dough and tip it onto the baking sheet, firmly encouraging it to the corners.
7. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
7. Wait. Until the dough proves – which will be about an hour. Here’s a picture. You can see all those lovely air bubbles from the yeast doing its thing, which gives the Focaccia its distinctive texture.

focaccia proving
8. Make finger marks in the dough, top with salt, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, slivers of garlic etc. Douse liberally with olive oil.
9. Bake for about 35 – 45 mins until done. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve while still warm.

Best Ever Carrot Cake – Recipe

This is a very good carrot cake that is suitable also for cupcakes. The frosting on the cupcakes is cream cheese frosting (yummy) and the carrots were made from fondant. I think it was summer when I made these, in the pics they look a little melty.

The cake is so good that one of my friends left this comment when I posted on facebook:

“ARGH! MORE! MORE! MORE! Give meeeeeeeeeeeeee moooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeee! I can’t get enough in my mouth at once! Keeeeeeeeep away, or I’ll chase you with my sticky fingers ‘cos it’s all miiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnneeeeee! (carroty grrrrrrrrrrrrr! )”

This carrot cake calls for three 9 inch sandwich tins, but can also be made in one larger cake tin, and cut in half to add icing in between layers. However, baking this in one tin will dramatically increase the cooking time. Test with skewer after 55 mins


Serves: 10 Cooking time: 30 mins Difficulty: Easy – for beginners Dietary guidance: v


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bircab soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
350 grams butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound carrots (approx 8-10 large medium carrots) peeled and grated (or use the left over flesh from making carrot juice – this makes a finer textured cake)
2 cups chopped pecans
cream cheese icing (see seperate recipe)


Method

1. preheat oven to 180. line and butter three 9 inch round cake pans, dust with flour, tap out excess.
2. whisk ogether flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. beat butter and sugars togetheron medium speed until plae and fluffy. add egs – one at a time – beating well after each. beat together three mins.
4. add vanilla carrots and water. beat well until combined.
5. reduce speed to low and add flour, then 1 cup of the pecans.
6. scrape better into prepared tins and bake rotating tins half way through, until golden brown and a skewer comes away clean – approx 30 mins.
7. let cool in pans on wire rack – then turn out and let cool completely
8. place one cake on platter and top with 1 cup cream cheese icing. repeat with second laer. add third and final layer and cover with rest of icing. press remeining 1 cup chopped pacans into sides.
9. refrigerate 1 hour before serving

Chocolate on chocolate

One of the first event cakes I baked, going back a while, for a colleagues’ birthday. Not sure of the recipe used, but I promise to post the most amazingly moist chocolate cake recipe ever very, very soon.

Star Wars chocolate cake (Darth is actually a chess piece that went with the Star Wars chess set gift).