I can admit now that one of the major attractions for me in having a child was to use the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. I have the vintage edition and have been lusting after the swimming pool and ballerina cakes for years. I decided to start simply with the number one shaped cake. That swimming pool cake can wait until my little girl can actually appreciate all the hard work that has gone into it.
I used my favourite standard chocolate sponge cake as the base. I wanted a firm cake that would hold together once I cut it into shape but I also wanted the actual cake underneath all that icing to be delicious. Once the cake was cooked and completely cool I did a layer of crumb coating to make sure the icing was crumb free. Crumb coating a cake is a secret I have only just discovered (a little late on the uptake) and it makes such a difference to getting a professional looking finish on an iced cake. Essentially crumb coating is like doing an undercoat before the final icing. It gives a nice, smooth base to then ice over the top.
Because the cake shape itself was fairly easy I got a little bit creative when it came to the icing. The number one cake in the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake book is just covered with yellow icing and smarties but I decided to go for a rainbow of colour with some piped ruffles just to make it completely over the top. After all what one year old girl doesn’t love a bit of butter, icing sugar and food colouring?
- 225g butter
- 225g self raising flour
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 tbs cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 300g butter
- 300g icing sugar
- A little milk
- Food colouring (I use Wiltons)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
- 2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- 3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together and then add them gradually to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing well as you go.
- 4. Before adding the flour remove 2 tbs of flour and replace with the 2 tbs of cocoa powder.
- 5. Add the flour and cocoa mix and mix together well then divide the mixture equally into two baking paper lined and greased loaf cake tins and make sure the mixture is level.
- 6. Bake for 25 – 30 mins or until a skewer pressed into the cake comes out clean. Turn the cakes out of the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- 7. Use a serrated knife to cut one of the loaf cakes in half. Then cut one corner diagonally to form the number one. Refrigerate the cake.
- 8. Whisk the butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Then add the icing sugar and continue to beat until all mixed in and light and fluffy again.
- 9. Divide the buttercream into five parts.
- 10. Take one fifth of the buttercream and add a little water to it. Use this icing to stick the pieces of the cake together and form a number one shape. Then crumb coat the cake - this is a thin layer of icing like an undercoat which prevents you getting crumbs in your icing.
- 11. Add colouring a little bit at a time to the portions of buttercream and mix well. I used green, red, yellow and blue to create a rainbow of colour.
- 12. Spoon one of the buttercream portions into a piping bag with a 103 nozzle and then pipe the icing into squiggly lines.
- You'll need two loaf pans and a piping bag with a 103 nozzle.