One thing that I really want to do in my future life is make a career from baking. Be that by opening a tea shop, by holding caking classes or by making cakes for others, I would so love to work from home and make money doing something I love. I took my first steps towards this in August last year. For my birthday at work I made some fudge, two different lots of cupcakes and some cookies. My friend there then asked me to make a cake for her birthday!! I was soooooooo excited!  I had visions of this beautifully iced cake that everyone went ‘wow’ about…..unfortunately, I didn’t take into account all of the hard work that this entailed and my lack of cake decorating skills.

After all this was my first time at making a ‘professional’ cake. I thought that I had blown my chances of ever making another one again and was actually quite disheartened after making it. It wasn’t the amazing thing I had imagined. However, luck has shone on me and the same person has now asked me to make another cake for her. This time it’s a bit more important as it is for my works 20th birthday celebrations on 20th April. They didn’t want to get someone to do it in such short notice so decided to use me again. I really want to make it look professional but am coming up against a few problems, so if you have any suggestions please help me out.

The main problem is that I will be cooking the cake in our massive roasting dish, about 18 x 12 inches. Therefore, it’s going to be quite hard to cover with icing. All of the pre-rolled icing I’ve found will only cover an 8 inch round cake and I don;t really want to roll out a block of icing as I just know it will have holes / break etc. Maybe there is someway that I can blend the edges of two pieces together……I need some ideas!

Anyway, I thought I would show you what the first cake looked like. Now that I’ve stepped back from the moment of making it, I realise that it wasn’t too bad for a first attempt. I’ve definitely learnt from my mistakes (eg. you have to take into account your time and effort and the amount of electricity you use!) and hope that the next cake will be much better. Anyway, here is the story of the first cake……

The shape of the cake was to be a van as they wanted it to look like the work van. THis was such an awkward shape to cut out! I made the cake on the Saturday and then decorated it on Sunday. For each layer I weighed 8 eggs and then used an equal amount of flour, butter and sugar. Then I split the mixture into two foil trays – this wasn’t such a good idea as the trays warped when they were in the oven and the cakes didn’t rise evenly.

8 eggs

Butter

Plus the sugar

I mixed all the ingredients together by hand as our electric mixer is sooooo old it would have blown a fuse and I got a blister between my fingers!. Luckily I now have an electric mixer, even if it is Tesco Value (cheap for all the non-UK readers!) so I might avoid an injury this time!

Cake Layers

Covered up overnight

I sandwiched the layers with jam and buttercream and then cut it into the van shape (there was a lot of leftovers to nibble on!) I then ‘covered’ it with red icing. However, I didn’t have enough to cover the whole cake and the sides. This really annoyed me because the icing looked awful! There were loads of little holes in it and the joins were showing. I have learnt from this mistake and have ordered A LOT more icing for this next cake!

I put two strips down the cake where the awful joins are. This isn’t what the van looks like but it did make it look so much better!! Then I decorated it. I stuck various things on with buttercream. It did look quite messy so this time I will use jam to ‘stick’ the icing on and be much more careful.

Finished!

Looking at it again now, it doesn’t look too bad!! It was very much appreciated at work and everyone thought it looked good. It definitely tasted nice and that was all that mattered. We managed to make it stretch for two days, but not a crumb was wasted!! I am really looking forward to making this next cake and am hoping that it looks much more ‘professional’!

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