Yesterday I was in Stockport visiting family for a bit of a get together in honour of my little cousin and the approaching arrival of her little bundle of joy! I offered to make cakes, and I had my work cut out for me from the beginning, as just two weeks ago when she came to visit, I gave her four cupcakes to take home and she ate all four. So I knew I had to make plenty of cake so that there would be some left over for the other 18 people at the baby shower!
We already knew she was having a little boy, so I wanted to use a blue and white theme, but equally I didn’t want to do something too elaborate – I’d rather do a simple design and do it well, than come up with some magnificent over exaggerated beast of a cake and cock it up. I also knew I wanted to do both a main cake and some cupcakes, all with the same blue and white theme.
The first thing I found was the adorable cupcake toppers, on a wonderful website called Cake Craft Shop. I only ordered 2 boxes (24 toppers) because I hadn’t yet realised how much Rebecca could eat! So I then fashioned some little building blocks to go on the other 12 cupcakes, which I think have turned out rather well!
I then came across these adorable cases in Lakeland when out on a shopping trip with my Mom. They’re just so cute! They don’t exactly match the blue and white theme but they do match the baby shower theme (I mean, they’re called baby shower cupcake cases!), and they just happened to fall into my basket, so…
When it came to designing the cake, I didn’t want to go over the top with the blue or boy stuff. When I was buying the toppers for the cupcakes, I also saw these little keepsake claydough booties, which came in white, pink or blue. I decided to go with white, because I didn’t want the added hassle of trying to match a blue icing to the blue of the topper. So then I iced the cake with a pale blue icing (I used a mix of royal blue and navy gel colouring in about 1.25kg of white ready made fondant icing) and then added the white bunting and the congratulations.
The bunting turned out better than when I did it for my friend’s cake a while back. I found that when I was cutting the bunting with a knife that time, it pulled and I ended up with misshapen flags! But then I came across a great tip. You cut out a star shape with a large star cutter, then cut off the points! So simple! My only large star had rounded points, but I like the softness it gives to the effect, and I think it matches the cupcake edges too. I edged each flag (and every letter!) with the side of my new stitch tool (also from Lakeland) – it took ages! But I absolutely love love love the effect.
I also ventured for the first time into writing icing. I made a very thick paste with icing sugar and water, and fitted my bag with the smallest nozzle I own. It felt too runny at first so I added more icing sugar. I wish I hadn’t – although it felt soft in the bag, it was a nightmare to squeeze out! I genuinely hurt my hand from all the squeezing. But I managed to pipe the strings for the bunting around the edge of the cake quite successfully, if a little wonkily! I added a little blob of icing at intervals along the strings to attach the flags, piped bows at the top of each loop, and used the rest of the icing to stick the toppers to the cupcakes.
Originally, I was going to just do swirls of buttercream for the cupcakes and plonk the cupcake toppers on top of it. But after the reception the Mother’s Day cupcakes I made received, I changed my mind and decided to do them that way instead! They just look more fancy don’t they? So much more work but so worth it. For fun I added up how many sugar pearls I used, and not including the ones that escaped onto the floor, I used 1,008. That’s a lot of sugar pearls, yo.
The cakes were all double quantities of the recipes I have listed in my Mother’s Day special post – I made 18 large vanilla cupcakes and 18 large chocolate cupcakes, and two large (23cm) cakes which I sandwiched with buttercream and strawberry jam. The whole process took me 9 hours – I finished about 12:30 Saturday night. I have never felt so mentally and physically drained after making cake! But the look on my cousin’s face on Sunday when I had set it all up on the buffet table at my Aunt’s house made it all worthwhile. She was really thrilled, and I was thrilled that she was thrilled! I have no idea how people do this for a living though, I don’t think I could do something that big or bigger every single week! Yikes.
But that said, I’m incredibly proud of what I pulled off, even if it’s a bit wibbly wobbly in places!