Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Incredibly lazy cake decorating

(Goblin is 24 months)
It was Goblin's birthday last week and I really wanted to do him a home made cake. But I am extremely lazy so I looked for the easiest option. If you are also lazy, or just too busy to take a lot of time over this but want to give your child a cake you have had a hand in making, here is a quick guide on how to cheat. 
Even though making a basic victoria sponge cake is pretty easy, I opted for the even easier route of cake mix. And for added laziness I got Hublet to bake it - I told you I was lazy! 
When it comes to icing I always struggle to get the consistency right. I always make it too runny, or if I am making butter icing I make it too buttery (and too runny). So I cheated and bought pre-made icing. 
I split it into 4 bowls and mixed it with food colouring. You need to be careful because if you put too much food colouring in it can make the icing taste a bit nasty. Hobby craft do concentrated icing paste in different colours that can be added to icing but it costs more than £2 a pot, while food colouring can be picked up for about 50p. 
I took four sandwich bags (you can use regular plastic bags but sandwich bags are see through and small so easier to use) and cut off one of the corners. Then I took a piping nozzle and taped it to one of the bags using scotch tape. Don't panic if you don't have an icing nozzle, neither did I. So I popped to Tesco's and bought a Silver Spoon white designer icing pack which comes with three different sized nozzles (about £1.50). I personally don't like the taste of this icing and it is quite hard to pipe with because its really stiff, so if like me you are a bit of novice I'd recommend not using the icing to pipe with, but its a cheap way of acquiring nozzles. 
I started with the black icing and spooned it into the sandwich bag. Then I twisted the top closed and piped two wheels by squeezing the bag. Because the icing is quite thick this is really easy to do and won't make a mess (unless the nozzle comes unstuck from the bag - so make sure you use enough tape). Once I had finished one colour I unstuck the nozzle and rinsed it, then stuck it to a second bag and filled the next colour. Here is a quick tip - don't throw the bag of icing away. If you mess up you might want to go over a bit you have already done, so you might need to reuse the old bag of icing.   
Once I'd piped the wheels I added silver balls for wheel nuts. Then I did the red tractor. I made a bit of a mess at the back of the tractor so I scraped it off with a spoon and went back over it - yes its that easy. And then I piped the sky, windows and finally the grass. I did something stupid with the grass - I had been using the nozzle that has one wide slit in it, but I switched to the narrowest nozzle to create a grass effect. The icing didn't like it and went all runny and ran off the cake. So I'd recommend sticking to the slit nozzle. 
Finally I covered the sky and grass in edible glitter. I strongly believe that edible glitter is the baking equivalent of crack cocaine, it makes everything taste ten times more yummy and is totally addictive. And people are so busy going "oooh sparkly!" that they are distracted from the mess and mistakes you may have made along the way. 
And hey presto, one home made, hand decorated cake for my lovely two year old. Happy baking!

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