Easy Birthday Cake
It really is simple to create a fantastic child’s birthday cake, which they will be so proud of and will knock the socks off supermarket ones! This bright and colourful design is suitable for boys and girls, but you could easily adapt it by choosing your child’s favourite colours.
Cover your cake in sugarpaste and leave for a couple of hours to harden – it is much easier to stick decorations to the cake once the sugarpaste has formed a crust.
Begin by covering the sides of the cake in colourful stripes. Colour up four pieces of sugarpaste using gel or paste colours. Wrap the pieces you aren’t going to use yet in some clingfilm to prevent them from drying out.
Apply a little Trex or other vegetable fat to your work surface and spread around with your fingers. This will stop the sugarpaste from sticking but won’t dull the colours like icing sugar can. With a small non-stick rolling pin roll out your first colour to make a long strip. Use a ribbon cutter to cut different width strips.
If you don’t have a ribbon cutter you can use a sharp knife and a straight edge, but make sure if you are using a household item, such as a ruler, that you have cleaned and sterilised it and that it doesn’t mark the sugarpaste as you use it.
Cut your long strips in half, making sure there is a nice straight top edge as this will show at the top of the cake. Use a small brush and some cooled boiled water or edible glue to dampen the side of the cake where you want to stick the first stripe. Line up the nicely cut straight edge with the top of the cake and gently press the stripe against the cake. Cut off the excess at the bottom with a sharp knife, pushing it gently where the cake meets the board.
Repeat this with the same colour at different intervals around the cake and using different width stripes. Make sure you have a rough guide in your head of where you want to stick the colours so they are spaced fairly evenly.
Repeat the process with the other three colours until the sides of the cake have been covered with the stripes.
Next task is to make the balloons for the top of the cake. It is best to choose three of the colours for balloons and the fourth for the writing, but of course, you can add as many balloons as you wish.
Take a small ball of your first colour, this will be for the top balloon. Knead the sugarpaste ball until it is soft and pliable then mould it into a balloon shape. Fix it to your cake with cooled boiled water or edible glue. Take a very tiny ball of the same coloured sugarpaste, make a triangle and fix it to the bottom of the balloon. Repeat this to make the other two balloons, positioning them on your cake but making sure you leave room for the writing.
Mix up a small amount of royal icing. You can always make a larger batch and freeze it in small pots, then you can defrost it when needed for small jobs like this. Colour half the icing grey for the balloon strings and half red (or whatever colour you want your writing).
Fit your piping bag with a number 2 or 3 nozzle and fill with the grey royal icing. Pipe the balloon strings so that they cross over each other. Fit another piping bag with a number 1 (for thin writing) or 2 (for thicker writing) nozzle and fill with the red royal icing. Begin by piping the word ‘birthday’ as this makes sure you get the writing centralised. Then add the ‘happy’ and child’s name and use the red icing to pipe a bow where the balloon strings cross each other.