Monday, November 17, 2014

Cakes for Kids

#4 - Horse
I have a lot of fun decorating cakes in the shape of numbers for kids' birthdays. I start by baking a cake (from scratch) that will produce a heavy, sturdy cake suitable to cut out, manipulate and decorate without crumbling. Madeira cakes are often used for this type of decorating but I prefer, (as does the recipient!) either a carrot cake or heavy chocolate cake. The #4 cake, is baked in an 11"x16" pan so the sides can be trimmed. This leaves a smooth edge that is easy to ice. The #6 and #9 cakes, are an 8-inch round cake plus a loaf cake. The #8 is two 8-inch round cakes, trimmed so they fit together in the center of the #8 with a flat edge. The cakes are leveled so the top is flat, not rounded.
#6 - Ballerina
If you need more servings, make 2 cakes for each section and layer them. The layer cakes are filled with icing and allowed to firm up in the fridge before moving to the next step.  
*Note: Cake mixes produce a crumbly, light cake that is not suitable for this type of work.

#8 - Race Track
Before cutting out the number, score the desired shape into the top of the cake with a paring knife. This means if there is an error, it can be corrected and not ruin the cake. I use a ruler so the width on each section of the number is consistent at about 3-inches wide. If it is difficult to see the scoring of the paring knife, use a decorator bag with icing tip and outline the shape with icing. A round cookie cutter or the lip of a water glass can be used to mark the inside circles for the #6, #8 and #9. Adjust the number to look uniform before cutting out the get one chance!

#9 - Iditerod ~ Dog Mushing
To cut, use a sawing motion with a very sharp knife. Keep the knife at a 90 degree angle to the counter so the sides of the cake are straight. Gently remove the unwanted sections of cake and transfer the cake number carefully to a prepared 'cake board' for decorating, transportation and serving. Cake boards can be purchased or made with clean, heavy cardboard cut to the size you need, covered with tin foil then plastic wrap. A paper doily or colored tissue paper can be placed under the plastic wrap if desired.

Once on the cake board, 'crumb coat' the cake number. This means, ice all surfaces of the cake with a very thin layer of icing then refrigerate until the icing is firm. Now it is time to ice and decorate the number. Use your imagination, keeping in mind the theme of the birthday boy or girl. Dollar Stores or The Bulk Barn are great places to find fancy candles, figures, candy and other decorations. Strips of fruit rolls were used for the reins on the horse, candy mint leaves for trees and candy rocks for the Race Track. Craft popsicle sticks were used to build the Iditerod sled, with cheese cloth and butchers string for blankets and rope.
These special cakes take a bit of planning and time to create but it is worth the effort to see the faces on children and adults alike when presented with such a personal gift!
Bon Appetit, till next week...

'Number Cakes' and Photos by Sally Rae

No comments:

Post a Comment