On Crumbs, two sisters – Claire and Lucy – blog about feeding their family. They have different approaches: Claire is the ‘Queen of Cobble’. She pulls things together from locally sourced ingredients and whatever she can find in her cupboard. Lucy is all organisation, with meal plans, but there is the occasional off-piste dinner. In this video, Claire and Lucy show how to make a fairy castle cake, and in this post Claire talks about the appeal of these fancy cakes.
When I was about six, my mum baked me a magnificent pink castle cake. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. Not only did it look beautiful – and was the talk of the classroom for about one whole playtime – but it made me feel very loved and taken care of. A cake can do that, I think.
I’ve made the exact same one for my eldest’s birthday for the last two years and it has been a similar triumph. And I’m sure it has made my daughter feel as loved as I did all those years ago.
And for me? Well, the emotions that course through me as I make a birthday cake the night before a party run the whole spectrum, from love to panic.
It’s a nerve-wracking experience. Just ask Helloitsgemma. “I baked a simple Victoria sponge the night before, but my cake was flat and hard. I tweeted a photo, and Twitter was quick to offer various explanations as well as share their own triumphs. Someone tweeted back a photo of a perfect dinosaur cake.”
So what do you do when it all goes wrong? When my Barbie cake failed to rise, I managed to fake my way to magnificence. Shop-bought sponge helped stop Barbie from listing to one side, and a layer at the bottom gave her a bit more oomph. Royal icing is the make-up of the cake world and you shouldn’t leave your kitchen without it. It covers all kinds of cake disasters.
Once it’s iced you can pimp it up in a way to make Tim Westwood proud. It is impossible to over-decorate a cake, so bling it up with silver balls, mini-marshmallows, feathers, sequins and a cast of Playmobil characters.
If all else fails, just remember Helloitsgemma’s words: “It was late so I iced the cake and decorated it with smarties. The following morning, a crashing came from downstairs. My 3-year-old had lifted the tin from the table to “have a look”, dropping it in the process. Still in one piece but with battered icing, I patched the cake up and served it anyway. The main thing, in my view, is being able to stick candles on the top.”