Birthday cake

 

My lovely little niece turned one year this month. It has been an amazing year for her parents and wider family, watching her grow from a tiny little bundle to a sparky little girl who keeps us on our toes and reminds us just what life is all about. My sister gave me the honour of making the birthday cake. Yes. No pressure there.

However I think I rose to the challenge. My best friend told me that the best type of cake to make was a vanilla sponge. So I found a recipe online and adapted it in my usual fashion. I then had to decide what type of cake to make. All I knew was that it was going to be Panda themed.

So this was cake number one…

I liked it. It also tasted quite nice. I cut it up and my husband took it to work and shared it with his work colleagues. They also agreed that it tasted very nice.

So then I got to work on cake number two. I decided this time I would challenge myself to making small pandas out of icing pasta. 10 YouTube videos later – voila…

YouTube was also my tutor in the art of putting fondant icing onto a cake.



I was doing this late into the evening the day before the party but I was having an absolute blast! I managed to finish before midnight and get some semblance of sleep before driving down to the party venue.

Here is the finished product, a labour of love but well worth it!

INGREDIENTS

220g butter, softened
200g light muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs
220g organic wholemeal self-raising flour
seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
¼ tsp baking powder
7 tbsp plum conserve
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
90g butter, softened
180g golden icing sugar
seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and get the centre shelf at the ready. Line the cake tins with baking parchment.

2 Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Add two of the eggs to the butter mixture with half the flour and beat together until just combined. Then add the remaining eggs and the rest of the flour along with the vanilla, lemon zest and baking powder.

3 Divide the mixture between the lined cake tins and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin, are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Once the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool completely in the tins.

4 While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Once the cakes are cooled down completely, place one of the layers on a plate and spread over the buttercream. Spoon the plum conserve over the top of the buttercream and gently place the other cake layer on top.

 

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