Sunday, 12 October 2014

Cute Dinosaur Cake!

Happy 21st Birthday, Lindsey!

How cute is this little guy?? I have been looking forward to posting this cake all week. She has been starring at me from the kitchen counter, her little face sitting on top of her now half-body. Believe it or not, I baked this cake for my wonderful housemate Lindsey's 21st birthday this week. Although it may seem more suited to a slightly younger birthday, Lindsey loves dinosaurs and yellow so this cake was born! 

I was excited to actually have an excuse to decorate a cake again and just have fun. I adore decorating cakes, it's by far my favourite part of baking. But since I started this blog it has somewhat taken a back seat to leave time for developing new recipes and flavours for you. So I fully embraced this opportunity and hoped to produce a perfect cake for my lovely friend! 

She absolutely loved the cake so I think it was a job well done! Everyone else who has seen it has it has also been majorly impressed - clearly not realising it is much easier than it looks! I honestly believe even a complete baking/decorating novice could produce this cake with just a little patience and practice. So here is a guide for how to make this adorable little dinosaur. This is a long post with a lot of instructions but read them through once before you start!

Decorating time: approximately 3 hours (without baking time)
Difficulty: medium
You will need: Victoria Sponge (baked in a 7 inch round tin), approximately 200g buttercream, approximately 400g white fondant, food colouring (yellow, green & purple), piping bag, "grass" nozzle, rolling pin, cling film, 9 inch cake board, small blossom cutter (optional), small paintbrush, I used the below modelling tools but a cocktail stick would easily work as well.

Firstly, bake the sponge in a 7 inch round pan according to the recipe and leave to cool before assembling the cake. While waiting for the cake too cool, prepare the buttercream.

I was lucky in that my cakes came out of the oven with a pretty perfect dome. Normally domed cakes are the bane of my life as they need to be leveled and trimmed but in this case the dome definitely played in my favour. Level one cake by cutting off the dome with a large serrated knife like a bread knife. This will be your base.

Put the other cake on top and cut the edges of the bottom of the dome downwards at a slight angle to create a round looking cake. Fill the cake with your favourite fillings - for a birthday cake I don't think you can beat the simple but mouthwatering combination of strawberry jam and buttercream. Next, spread a thin even layer of buttercream all over the cake. The cake should be completely covered. Make sure the buttercream isn't too think but it doesn't matter in the slightest how messy it looks! A tip for an easy, less stressful crumbcoat is to put a big dollop of buttercream on top of the cake and spread it downwards. Put any excess off the spatula into a separate bowl - not back into your buttercream or back onto your cake. Keep the crumbs away!

Leave this in the fridge to chill while you prepare the fondant. Knead the icing for a few minutes on a worksurface dusted with icing sugar. Knead until the icing is malleable and easy to roll and sculpt. Remove a small section about the size of a £2 coin from the white fondant before you colour it: this will be used for the spots, flowers and eyes. Dab a few dots of yellow food colouring and knead into the icing - add until you reach your desired shade of yellow. Put around 1/4 of the icing aside: this will be used for the feet, head and tail.

Place the ball of yellow fondant on top of a large piece of cling film and roll out to approximately 1/4 inch thick. The cling film will allow you to lift the large sheet of rolled fondant easier and to cover the cake with less cracks and splits. Carefully lift the sheet and drape it over the cake, smoothing downwards with open palms or an icing smoother if you have one. Cut the excess around the bottom carefully with a sharp knife. 

Make the shapes to decorate the rest of the cake. Separate the yellow icing into 4 balls to make the feet, 2 thick, relatively short sausages for the tail and neck and then a bigger ball for the head. Refer to the pictures for perspective (the white icing would be yellow).

Slightly squash the balls down a bit and flatten one of the sides to fit the body of the dinosaur. Use your modelling tool or cocktail stick to make indents to resemble toes. Carefully push these onto the sides of the cake where feet would go. Use the paintbrush dipped in some lukewarm water to attach. Use a flattened hand to roll out one end of one of the sausages to make a tail - tapering to a point. Again flatten the top end to a shape to fit the cake and attach in the same way.

To form the head attach the bigger ball to the sausage and smooth them together. Make 2 small holes for nostrils and above, 2 slightly bigger holes to put the eyes into. Applying gentle pressure, score a smile below the nostrils and some eyebrows. To make the eyes, roll very small pieces of white fondant into balls and gently push them into the sockets you made. Using a cocktail stick, dot a dark colour into the middle. 

Use the same cocktail stick and insert half way into the bottom of the neck, push the half protruding out of the neck into the top of the body. Use the paintbrush dipped in warm water, smooth around the joint to make it less obvious. Next, dye the remaining fondant purple and separate it into several small balls. Press these balls down flat and thin and carefully cut them into a neater circle shape, make varying sizes and using the warm water attach them onto the back of the dinosaur.

Dye the remaining buttercream a vibrant green and fill a piping bag fitted with a grass nozzle. Applying gentle even pressure squeeze the bag and pull upwards and release. Do this quickly repeating to cover the whole board. This should create the appearance of grass! This next part is optional but I think it's pretty if this cake is for a girl! Cut out some teeny tiny little blossoms out of the left over purple fondant and place them in the grass and one on top of the dino's head!

I wish I had taken more pictures as I was going but hopefully these instructions will be enough for you to be able to replicate this cute cake! Try some different colours, whatever suits your theme or favourite colour :) Enjoy!!

Teri x

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