Adventures in Cake

So here’s where we began on the great cake baking adventure: four square sponges which, given that we only had one square baking tray, were an interesting logistical problem. It took us a couple of hours and a few singed fingers, but we got there.


My son is not that keen on buttercream or jam as sponge glue, so we decided to try American frosting instead, which seemed to be a cross between meringue and icing. Here he is whipping egg whites and icing sugar together.

So this was the basis of our house. When we’d stacked the sponges like this, it didn’t look all that big. It seems that if you look at anything for long enough, you lose all sense of proportion.


So then we added the roof, a construction made of bought trifle sponges and sponge fingers. The rafters were sort of glued into place with jam, although quite what good the jam did we were never entirely sure. They were really held there by our willpower.


Really there ought to be another photo before this one of us cursing and tearing our hair out, because getting the fondant icing on was no easy matter. My son was doing most of the preparation with me there for surveillance, and he had never properly rolled anything out before. Fondant icing is not exactly the best place to start. He discovered how icing sticks to the work surface and to the rolling pin far more readily than to cake, and that if you try to roll out too big a piece it stretches or falls apart in your hands. In the end he decided to attach the icing wall by wall, which made for seams, but frankly if anyone knows how to cover a house-shaped cake in one piece of icing, I’d really love to hear how the trick is accomplished!



And here we are doing the fun bit – the decorating. We decided to use chocolate digestive biscuits for the windows and doors, cut into shape. Then we added chocolate buttons for interest. Elaine at Random Jottings, who knows a thing or two about cake, suggested a whole roof of them which would have been brilliant. But we didn’t have enough and it was Christmas Eve by now, so we went with the minimal look.


Here’s the finished cake in all its glory on Christmas Day,  a final dusting of icing sugar and a little snowman made out of the last of the fondant icing were the last touches. Considering we had no idea what we were doing, and no recipe or plan to follow, we thought it came out pretty well.  The real trick now is to prevent my son from eating it single-handed…

We’ve been having a lovely Christmas and I do hope that all my blogging friends have too. I was going to add a picture of the books I received, but my photography skills being what they are (nil) I couldn’t get it to come out right.   So I’ll have to save that for another day (when my menfolk are not watching Thor on DVD). But fond and festive wishes to you all in the meantime.


24 thoughts on “Adventures in Cake

  1. That is *so cute*, and I loved the step-by-step descriptions and photos. Your son is a braver man than I am…I wouldn’t touch fondant icing if you paid me; the stuff is a recipe (literally) for disaster.

  2. Oh, I love how creative you both were in making this cake! I am so impressed! And yes, please get those men of yours to help you post a picture of your books–that’s one of my favorite parts of your blog! Seeing all your great books!

  3. What a terrific bonding time: baking with your son! Just wonderful to see him so immersed and interested doing that with Mum! Thanks for sharing. The baked creation looks delicious and delightful. Yes, I trust you’ve had a marvellous Christmas. 🙂

  4. Thank you, my dear blogging friends! I’m so glad you like it and wish I could send you all a slice. We’ve been encouraged by our success so far, and will be making more cakes in 2012. My son has decided to do his extended project (a sort of extra to his A levels) on baking, with the ultimate goal of making a rainbow cake – one that is iced white on the outside but when cut open reveals layers in the colours of the rainbow. He needs to practise his techniques in the run-up to that, so be prepared to see other cake-models in the months to come!

  5. Wow–how cool! I love the ‘snow’–if only all snow could be made of powdered sugar. Martha Stewart would be proud! 🙂 Cake (though it’s really too pretty to eat…) and books–it sounds like an all around lovely holiday.

  6. ‘quite what good the jam did we were never entirely sure. They were really held there by our willpower’ made me laugh and laugh. But the cake is brilliant – congratulations! Am now looking forward to 2012’s series of cakes, although I think this one will be hard to beat.

  7. I am VERY impressed 🙂 I made cake frosting from scratch for the first time ever and was amazed at how good it tasted (and looked!) However, I don’t think I have the courage to tackle an entire house 🙂 Good luck on the rainbow cake project!

  8. Ooooh, so impressive!!! I entertained brief thoughts of an animal cake for Master J’s first birthday, but soon begged off, chickening out (ha!) and fleeing back to the relative safety of a simple round tin. I am deeply respectful of all that’s been accomplished here! So glad you are enjoying the holidays – best wishes and warm hugs to you all for the year ahead. xxx

  9. This is wonderful! And I finally get to see what a “digestive biscuit” looks like! I never actually encountered one of them in either Ireland or in England. Do you call them “diggie biscuits?” I think I heard that phrase in an Agatha Christie TV adaptation. Lovely, lovey cake house.

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