Interest in baking is at an all-time high here in the UK, and people are exercising their skills in the kitchen all the time – there’s no event that doesn’t improve immeasurably when cake is involved, and this gives amateur bakers ample opportunity to show off their skills with a mixing bowl and a batch of buttercream.
Just after Jenson’s birthday back in March, I was sent an ice cream cake pan to review. It was a shame it arrived after and not before because his birthday party, for his theme was Ice Cream but it was my fault for not replying to the company quicker really!!
I decided to make some pinata cupcakes. Pinata cakes have been made before of course, indeed google is full of them, but to make mine stand out I decided to try and make mine stand out from the cupcake crowd.
I was having a discussion with some online friends the other night about cakes being either bought or made for you by a cake making professional when it comes to our children’s birthday parties. I am a firm believer in making as much as I can myself because for one thing I enjoy being creative and I like baking, and I think I am good at making cakes. My decoration skills are still not that great, but I am at least practising on a regular basis! However, following my online chat, I do understand why many Mum’s opt to have them either ready made by someone else or will buy the sponges and then decorate them at home. I think we all take shortcuts where we can – I often cheat with my frosting and buy the ready made because it is means I don’t always have to worry when I dont have any icing sugar or butter in the house. I have even bought chocolate sponges and decorated them myself – I think sometimes life is too short to worry and as long as they taste and look great and the recipient is pleased, then no one need know the truth – the whole cake truth!
Another factor to take into account is price. I think that by the time you have bought all the ingredients you need, especially if starting from scratch, plus the gas/electricity it costs to cook a couple of sponges it can add up. From just £7.40 a ready made vanilla sponge cake can be delivered straight to your front door ready to be pimped by your own cake decorating hands. Which is actually not *that* pricey really when you work out how much baking a cake is (from scratch). And of course, if you are not a good cake baker, then having a cake made for you would be very helpful!
I was recently sent a 6 inch and I decided to have a go at making a Rainbow Sprinkle Cake having seen it on pinterest a lot, and knowing how great it would look and appeal to children for a birthday cake. So with this in mind here is how I made one.
- 1 x 6 inch vanilla sponge cake
- strawberry jam
- 1 x pot of ready made vanilla buttercream (I used Betty Crocker)
- 3 x bottles of hundreds and thousands
- Slice your cake into 3 layers
- spread jam over each one
- spread the buttercream around the top and sides of the cake all around
- place in the fridge for about an hour to firm up
- add another thin layer of the buttercream all over the first layer to cover up any cake crumbs which may be on show
- pour the hundreds and thousands onto a large serving dish/plate
- Very carefully roll the cake in them on its side
- turn the cake over on to its bottom and scatter more of the hundreds and thousands onto the top
- when covered very carefully place the cake onto your serving plate/cake stand (I used a fish slice utensil) and place back in thre fridge to firm up again
- remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving
This ready made vanilla sponge cake was easy to work with and sliced with less crumbling than I had anticpated, and remained firm as I spread the jam on to the 3 slices I cut from it. The only issue I had was that when I was trying to coat the assembled cake with the buttercream, small bits of cake came away leaving gaps, which meant I had to push bits back in! It did not affect the overall look of the cake that much really, but this is the only minor criticism I have really.
The sponge was really nice actually, not too sweet and the texture was just like a victoria sponge type cake – the type of cake I make 85% of the time anyway which is fine by me! It tasted really good and I would happily eat some more. I will continue to bake my own cakes, but I do recommend the cake on its flavour and texture and it smelt like fresh cake should aswell. It does say on the packaging that the cake should be consumed within 5 days of recieving it, which means it will last a while too once served at your party/social gathering of your choice. I think this is a great idea for those who either dont like to bake , cannot bake or are too busy to do so.
With regards to my attempt at the Rainbow Sprinkle Cake – well I think I have escaped an epic fail BUT it could look a lot better. It is actually much harder to achieve than I had thought it would be, as it looks so impressive (on pinterest sites at least!) , and those hundreds and thousands do go everywhere and anywhere – pesky things!! Check this tutorial out if you want to have a go yourself and produce a much better looking decorated cake than mine!! Still, my boys went ‘wow’ when they saw it so it has the desired effect !
I was sent a cake for the purpose of a review. It was my choice to decorate it in this way. All comments made regarding it are honest and my own.
Rainbow Cupcakes is our idea for a childhood recipe that my boys and I will enjoy making and remaking time and time again because whats not to like? They are bright, colourful, and easy to make, and cakes that children will love making aswell as eating.
The idea came about when I asked Burton to draw a colourful cupcake that we could try and make. He drew an image and explained that it was a rainbow coloured cake and I thought to myself *yay* as I had hoped this would be his idea because I know he likes all things bright and colourful, and rainbow like, and it would fit perfectly with the idea I had already been mulling over.
I made vanilla sponges with smarties in the batter just to add some extra fun, but they would work equally well with chocolate or lemon sponge. We topped each cake with vanilla buttercream, and covered with mini white marshmallows to make clouds and then rolled out Renshaw’s ready to roll different coloured icing into strips to form rainbows. We also added a gold covered chocolate coin to represent the pot of gold you find at the end of a rainbow. Rolling out these ready to roll icings is similar to playdough really, so …. well just like child play!!
- *For The Cakes*
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g self raising flour
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tubes of smarties
- *For The Buttercream*
- 100g unslated butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- *For The Toppings*
- 12 small gold chocolate coins
- 1 pack of mini white chocolate marshmallows
- Renshaws Ready To Roll Icing - I used blue, green, orange, red and yellow
- Pre heat the oven to 180oC / 160oC (fan)
- Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases
- Cream together the butter and sugar until soft ansd creamy
- Add the eggs, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of the flour and beat together until light and airy (about 2 mins)
- Fold in the flour and then add the smarties and mix
- Divide the batter between the cake cases
- Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked right through
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely
- Make your buttercream by beating the butter to make it soft and then carefully add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat to make a soft buttercream
- Place in a piping bag or you can spread the buttercream onto the cakes if you prefer
- Top each cupcake with the buttercream
- Top the buttercream with the marshmallows - as many as you can fit on
- Add a gold chocolate coin to one side of each cake at the top
- Then make your rainbows - literally by rolling 12 strips of each colour icing into worms and then make your arcs as per my photo - although with hindsight thicker worms may have been better
- Place them over the marshmallows so that one end touches the gold coin
- Then they are ready to enjoy
I dont have any photo of the boys helping to make the rainbows – it got a little fraught when they started eating the icing and mixing them up too much (as they do with playdough – the mixing of the colours I mean and not the eating part!!) and my hands were messy. They did help make some of the rainbows, but I ended up finishing them off early this morning so they had no idea that not all of the ones they made were not used!!