27 July, 2010

Caravan Cake

So my auntie heard about my new business venture into the world of cake-making, and asked me to make a caravan shaped cake for a work colleague who was leaving. Ironically, he hates caravans so the joke was on him, poor soul. But apparantly the cake went down a storm in the office and I thought I'd share with you how I made it :) Also, the cat in the basket was made my mum and auntie, who thought it would be funny to add on to the design - hence the shoddy workmanship of the basket and lack of scale towards the caravan. The cat is a figurine by the way, not modelled. Silly women!
(I do apologise for the quality of the photos - my SLR is at my in-law's house, and my battery ran out on my compact digi cam, so it was up to the ol' mobile phone snapper to help me document this post.)
Firstly, I made four madeira cakes in loaf tins. I'll post the recipe for this type of cake soon, as I've also made another recently. After they set, I  used my brand new Lawson's cake leveller so get rid of the lumpy bumpy bit on top of two of the cakes, giving a nice smooth top surface. I kept the other two loaves the same as when they came out of the oven, to give the curved feature of the caravan's roof.
Next, I used Betty Crocker's Vanilla Buttercream and Sainsbury's Strawberry seedless jam to create a filling and also a glue to stick the pieces together. I arranged the cakes so that they resembled a cuboid shape, and continued to fill it.
Then, I used a sharp knife to cut down one side of the cake to give the curved edging of a caravan, however I only grooved into the cake as a guideline, I used my cake leveller, and brought it down the side of the cake to give an even finish.
After this, I finished the cake off with one thin layer of buttercream, ready to stick the rolled icing onto. *Tip* When covering cakes, use either marzipan then icing, or two layers of icing if you don't like marzipan. I don't, so I used the two layers of icing, albeit very thin - it would be too sickly. To stick the two layers together, I used a cooking brush and boiled water. Boiled apricot glaze also works, or even a clear alcohol like vodka for all you alcys :P When covering a square shaped cake, pinch the corners together and cut them off, then use a sharp knife to get rid of the excess edges at the bottom of the cake. Remember to keep your hands well dusted with icing sugar whilst handling icing.
I let the cake set for about 3 days before decorating, so that the icing could dry out and make it easier to assemble objects on to. The little blob of icing on the side of the cake is the towing bar you see on caravans - I used an edible silver spray to get the metallic look on the hook, and inserted into the tow with a small bit of a cocktail stick, so it stayed upright.
Use your imagination when it comes to modelling, use paint brushes, cutlery items, modelling tools - anything you can get your hands on to give different effects. For example, if you were making a sugarpaste person, put a blob of sugarpaste through a garlic press to make their hair! The numberplate is also writen in a liquorice edible writing pen, and also happens to be the guy's own numberplate for his car. Add personality to your projects!
Anyways, that's all on the caravan cake stuff. Sorry it's been so long (again), I've been in Barcelona for a week and such like :D But on the plus side, I got my results back for my 2nd year of uni, and am happy to report that the highest marks I got were for my blog (yes this actually did start out as a uni project!). A lovely 2:1 overall for the year, and only one more to go!

Happy baking munchkins.
Kirsten x