I know, I know, I’ve been really slack. It’s been almost a year, A YEAR, since I wrote a blog post. Many many things have happened during this time, some good, some bad, which prevented me from writing posts. I won’t go into it here as this blog is about all things cake, not all things me :). So, onto the cake!
I’ve made a lot of cakes over the past year which hopefully I will be able to blog about in due course. But my first post in 2015 will be about my most recent cake as it’s theme is from one of my favourite TV shows, My Little Pony! My Little Pony has changed a lot since I was a kid, the Cartoon Network TV show is AWESOME and it’s one I actually like watching with my 3 year old daughter. So when I was asked to make a My Little Pony cake for a 4th birthday I was delighted.
The birthday girl’s favourite ponies are Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash so she wanted sugar figures of them. The only other request was for a 10″ rainbow layer cake. The rest of the cake I was free to design myself (love being given creative freedom!).
I decided on a design then started to work on making the ponies from gumpaste. I learned that using dry spaghetti as support was not an option as their heads are quite heavy and unlike a human don’t sit centrally in the middle of the figure, they stick out away from the body on one side. I ended up having one pony’s head fall off and rip the body on it’s way down when the spaghetti inserted in the neck and through the head broke. And this was after 2 days of drying! So I switched to toothpicks for support. I also had to anchor the ponies to a foam block with toothpicks through the leg that went into the block as the heads were so top heavy the ponies kept falling forward.
I was pretty happy with my finished ponies, though in hindsight I think I would have liked to do Pinkie’s hair slightly differently.
I then went on to make a rainbow from rolled strips of fondant in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I left that to dry overnight then created clouds with white gumpaste and anchored the rainbow ends into the clouds using royal icing so the rainbow was standing up.
Next up was the actual baking. I hadn’t actually made a rainbow layer cake before, to be honest it was a bit of a pain. I only have three 10″ round tins so I decided to only do 6 layers of colour rather than 7 (for as we all know rainbows have 7 colours). I made up half a batch of 10″ sponge cake batter then divided it into 3 bowls, weighing each bowl to make sure the batter was distributed evenly. I then coloured the batter in each bowl with a different coloured gel paste (I’ve found these work much better than liquid food colouring in cakes).
I started off with Sugaflair Red Extra, AmeriColor Lemon Yellow, and Wilton Orange. I made the colours very intense as I wanted a bright and colourful cake. I found the colour of the batter was true to the colour of the baked cake. I baked these in the oven, it didn’t take long as each tin had such a small amount of batter (about 20mins at 160 deg celsius). When they were done I washed the tins, re-lined them, and made another half batch of 10″ sponge. Again I weighed them out evenly into 3 bowls then coloured with AmeriColor Leaf Green, AmeriColor Sky Blue and AmeriColor Electric Purple then baked.
The cakes were all about the same height due to weighing the batter to make sure each tin had the same amount, with flat tops so I didn’t need to level them with my trusty Agbay. I stacked the cake layers with vanilla buttercream between each layer and the cake turned out to be quite a monster! About 6 inches tall so by accident I’d created a double barrel cake lol. Next time I’d use maybe 3/4 the amount of batter to get a 4 inch tall cake.
I then set about ganaching the cake, I decided to use white chocolate ganache as kids tend to like it better. The sponge was quite crumbly so I did a rough crumb coat then refrigerated it for 20 minutes, then did the “proper” ganache coat.
After the ganache set overnight I covered the cake with white fondant. I also covered the cake board with purple fondant, cut out hearts from the fondant on the board, then dropped in hearts made from leftover strips of fondant from making the rainbow. I like to let the fondant on the cake and board dry overnight before transferring the cake to the cake board, securing it with royal icing.
I printed out an edible image of the little girl’s name in the My Little Pony logo (I had made the logo design earlier on my computer), stuck it on some purple fondant, cut it out with my Exacto knife and stuck it to the front of the cake. I cut out some purple fondant hearts and stuck them on opposite corners of the logo. Then I secured the rainbow and clouds onto the cake with royal icing and placed the ponies in front of the rainbow. I didn’t use royal icing for them as the toothpicks coming out of their hooves did a good job of securing them. A bit of ribbon trim, and done! I know I’ve made it sound very straight forward but it actually took roughly 12 hours all up!
The cake was a huge hit at the party, the oohs and aahs when the kids first saw the cake and the excited exclamations when they saw the rainbow cake inside were magical :).