Last week it was my friend’s little boy’s first birthday and I was really excited to be making his cake for him.
I wanted to start experimenting with tiers so this was a good opportunity for this and I also wanted to make it fun and colourful.
Initially I researched some animal designs online and settled for an elephant and a lion, both were actually quite straight forward – the elephant was extremely simple. I didn’t have orange fondant at home so I used some orange food colouring to tint some white fondant myself which again was very straight forward, although I would recommend using some gloves if possible. My other little saviour was the edible glue which I used to keep the pieces together, a lot of blogs and recipes suggest using some water and a paint brush to attach the fondant pieces however, I am a bit of a worrier and the last thing I would want is a lion’s ear falling off during the party so the glue definitely gave me piece of mind. I also coloured the grey fondant myself for the elephant, for this I used some black food colouring, a much cheaper option than buying grey fondant.
For the sponge I used 2 simple vanilla sponge recipes. The top tier consisted of a light sponge which I use to make my vanilla cupcakes as I wanted this to be as light and fluffy as possible. The base tier was a heavier, dense sponge. The reason for choosing 2 varieties of sponge was because the base had to hold a layer of fondant as well as the weight of the top tier therefore I wanted to make it strong yet still light and fluffy.
After making both tiers I applied a vanilla buttercream base coat to each and put them in the fridge for around an hour.
As this was my first time stacking 2 cakes I decided to use straws as opposed to dowels because I didn’t have any dowels at home (the straws worked perfectly well) I inserted 8 straws into the base tier, trimming them to make them level and then balanced the smaller sponge on top of the base.
To cover the base layer of the cake I coloured a packet of fondant with blue food colouring, adding drop by drop until I reached the pale blue colour which I was after and a plain white to the top tier before stacking them. In order to make the cakes as smooth as possible I try to apply a thick smooth crumb coat of buttercream and a thick layer of fondant and then smooth it with the base of my hand to make it as smooth as possible.
To make the spots I rolled out some coloured fondant and used two different sized cutters to create small and large circles and affixed these with the edible glue.
The finishing touch was to attach the animals to the top, again with some edible glue.