I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a ‘showstopper’ cake for a while and my Husband set me a challenge to do it! I looked through some designs and recipes and decided to try something relatively simply for my first attempt! The design I chose was a house which I thought would be a relatively straightforward shape to try! It was the first time I had ever worked with sugar paste so again I thought that this simple design would be a good place to start! Again, I haven’t worked with food colouring properly either, other than adding random splashes and making things look like they would make a child bounce of the walls! I chose some of my favourite colours for the design (so the colours do perhaps look a bit odd!) but I thought it was better to pick colours I will want to reuse again soon so I didn’t have to spend too much in one go! I have found baking equipment can be quite expensive…but that’s for another day!
So I picked my colours and design and off I went!
For the actual cake I made a madeira sponge and used vanilla flavouring for both the cake and the buttercream that I made!
I baked the cake the day prior so that it had time to cool down and I didn’t have to wait a couple of hours while it cooled, as otherwise the buttercream may have melted. The buttercream helps to stick the sugar paste in place so you don’t want it melted!
The first task, and probably the thing I struggled with the most, was cutting the cake in to shape. I really am not particularly good with my hands (perhaps I should be trying a different hobby…!) and I gave it a good go! I cut the sponge into 4 equal sized squares sandwiched two together (one on top of the other) with some buttercream. I then had to shape the roof! This is where I struggled somewhat! Herewith….
As you can see, this does not resemble a roof by any stretch of the imagination so I then had some fixing to do and eventually I did manage to create something which looked more like a house, even if the roof was ever so slightly out of proportion!
Once I had my shape I layered all the shapes together with buttercream and added a thin coating of buttercream all around the house to help the sugar paste stick.
With the foundations made I then got to work with my sugar paste! I was surprised how tough sugar paste is when you first begin working with and it does take some kneading to make it pliable. Once it was ready I got the food colouring out. I was making a green paste to cover my cake board, to represent grass. For my other colours I was using food colour paste but for the green I only had a gel. I actually needed quite a lot of the gel to get the green of the base but I added this a little at a time as it was something I hadn’t done before so I wasn’t sure how much I would need. Once i had the desired colour I rolled the paste out to a thickness of about 1/2 a centimetre and proceeded to cover the board. The edges weren’t exactly perfect and this is certainly something to work on in the future! Saying that I could have used a ribbon around the edge of the cake board and then nobody would have known! I just didn’t have any ribbon!
After this I began with my mauve paste for the walls of my house. I repeated the same process of making the sugar paste pliable and adding the colour slowly. I found with the paste you needed far less than the gel to get the desired colour. Again I rolled the sugar paste out and then used a ruler to measure the size of the walls of the house and cut the relevant shapes out. I then transferred the cake onto the cake board and stuck the walls in place. This was rather fiddly and I used my cake smoother to get a smoother finish around the edges. The gaps did not quite line up as they probably should have, but again this is something to work on next time. I think perhaps using slightly larger pieces of sugar paste would assist with this.
Then for the roof…the tricky bit!! I’d opted for a brown roof and used teddy bear brown colour paste. Again I repeated the same process as above. Cutting the shapes here was probably the most difficult part of the whole cake. I am not particularly good with things like this and despite my best efforts and using a ruler to have the precise measurements….I didn’t get anything remotely right until about the 5th attempt. Eventually however I did end up with something resembling a roof!
You can see here that the icing really is not the most precise and is a bit messy. I decided that given that this was the first attempt, one of the beauties of this design was that it was going to be covered in sweets anyway so nobody would see! I used sugar glue and a paintbrush to seal the edges of the cake and I then lightly brushed the roof (again having not used sugar glue before I was surprised at how little you need!) before the FUN part! Sticking (and eating) the sweeties to the roof! It really is up to you what sweets you use for this cake but I would say that more lightweight sweets would be preferable as they won’t fall off or knock others out of place. You can do whatever you fancy with these and eat half of them along the way! (I bought plenty in as I knew how many I would eat!)
I then cut a small door and windows for the front of the house and created a path leading up to the front door using sugar glue and hundreds and thousands. The finished product looked like this….
I really was extremely proud of my efforts here! I know things went wrong and that the cake is far from perfect, but for a first attempt I felt like I had really achieved something! I have certainly learnt things I didn’t know about working with sugar paste, sugar glue and colouring and am now really excited for the next challenge! The question is, what next!? If anyone would like the recipe and/or instructions for this then just let me know!
A final note….I made this cake last weekend. It was my brother’s fiancee’s birthday on Tuesday and they were coming round for tea on Monday. I decided that when I am making these cakes I need a purpose or I will just sit and eat them all to myself! I decided that I would make the cake as a birthday cake! Monday night came, I gave the cake, we each had a slice (I won’t lie, it was slightly dry and I need to fix that for next time!) and all was fine. My brother’s fiancee forgot to take the cake home with her so I boxed it up. The next day off I went to work, cake boxed up and safe. I came home and found this….
and a very guilty and full looking….
Needless to say my Scrummy Sweetie House was no more!