A Birthday Cake

June 11, 2013

If you've been following me over on Instagram, you would have seen this beauty I slaved over whipped up a few months ago. I've had so many (very kind) comments and questions about the creation of this cake since, I thought it was time to share the finer details of it with you here. In truth, I had always planned to blog about this cake, and how I surprised even myself with my culinary prowess and totally missed my calling as an artisan cake creator. However, my foray into the world of cake making turned out to be more of a rescue mission than a masterpiece.

My version of the iconic Choo Choo Train Cake, from the Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book, was going to be a fresh, fun take on the original. There'd be sprinkles and buttons and cookie wheels! Oh my! I'd replace the colored icing with luscious butter cream expertly covered in sprinkles, and the colored popcorn 'cargo' would instead be the fancy salted caramel variety. It was going to be a rainbow-colored spectacular. I already had my 'Best Mum Award' smug face on. I watched this tutorial many times.   

Fast forward to the day before the party and it was a sweltering 34 degrees in Sydney. Note to self; a dame should never attempt to ice a cake with butter cream on a hot day unless you have arctic-strength air conditioning. Note also; lose the arrogance and familiarise yourself with "handy" information like Crumb Coating and Sprinkle Coating before attempting said cake. My masterpiece quickly became a mess of melty icing, rogue cake crumbs and was on a perpetual lean. An ambitious three carriages were quickly cut down to one. I'm still finding sprinkles in crevices around my home today.

Alas, after a brief encounter with post-traumatic stress and some emergency Googling, I found short stints in the fridge worked wonders between icing layers, sprinkle coating was much easier (and cleaner) when sprinkles were laid out in a baking tray (duh) and that coloured chocolate buttons can hide all manner of indiscretions. Did the birthday boy notice that the sprinkle coverage was uneven at best? No. Did he care that there was only one carriage? Not a bit. Did he eat every last crumb with the enthusiasm of a terrier on a treadmill? You betcha. So while the perfectionist in me hung her head in shame, I still awarded myself a gold star for effort - and a blue ribbon for bravery.


Simone - honeyandfizz said...

I love it. Very cute! I've never attempted a train cake, always seemed to hard but you've inspired me. Maybe next year :)

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I had similar cake experiences when my daughter was growing up, and, like you, I worried about them more than anyone else did. Now, as a grandmother, I leave cake issues to my daughter, and I just sit back and enjoy the party. One of the perks of getting old...:)

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