Lessons learned in icing cakes

To celebrate 1000 episodes of F1Minute, I baked a cake and iced it. It was my first attempt at icing, and the whole concept is quite new to me. I was inspired by a colleague at work who makes some pretty outstanding baked goods, and is the go-to person when it comes to celebration cakes. I think at the moment she has orders from at least three people for at least five different birthdays.

I did a bit of research before heading to the supermarket to pick up some bits and pieces. It turns out they do try and make icing very easy for you – there are all kinds of ready made items that can add the finishing touches to the cake.

Here are my baking notes for future reference:

  • Made this madeira cake as apparently sponges don’t hold up to the weight of icing too well.
  • I made two halves and put them together with apricot jam and buttercream. One of the halves was slightly overcooked and stuck to the tin. When I gouged it out, it crumbled a bit. I felt just like those people having disasters on the Great British Bake Off.
  • The apricot jam was great though, and worked a treat at sticking the icing to the cake. Jam as glue, who knew?
  • I mixed some ready made red and yellow icing to try and make the orange. It came in a small box like plasticine. Unfortunately I could have done with more yellow as it wasn’t the orange I quite wanted.
  • The buttercream mentioned above could have been more plentiful but I ran out of icing sugar – particularly as I’d used lots to “flour” the surface. Note to self: always restock the icing sugar.
  • There was far too much icing. I struggled to roll it out and the centre remained thick – which meant the top of the cake was a bit over-iced. It was nice, but overpowered the cake.

The adults that tried it said they liked the cake but there was too much icing. The child that tried it said there was far too much cake and not enough icing. That sounds about right.

Next time I think I’ll try cupcakes and play around with some frosting instead. I want to work my way up to attempting something with a piping bag.

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