I think my favourite part of baking is the decorating. Sometimes I wish it were someone’s birthday every day just so I can legitimise an afternoon of cake decorating (the only creative bone in my body is related to food…typical). I usually just do a vanilla sponge and top it with fondant icing, but then try to make the decorations relevant to the person I’m creating it for. The recipe is super easy and hardly takes any time, but you can spend as long as you like on the design!
- 220g self-raising flour
- 220g softened butter
- 220g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 100g butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 500g ready to roll fondant icing
- Decorations of any kind (including writing icing, if desired)
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease an 8 inch cake tin, or line with greaseproof paper, or both, depending on the tin.
2. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Loosen the mixture with a bit of water – I used 4 cereal spoons’ worth – and beat until it is lump-free.
3. Pour the mixture into the tin, spread evenly, and bake in the middle of the oven for approx. 50 mins. If it starts to go dark brown, make a tinfoil hat and put it on top to prevent it from burning.
4. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer or knife in the middle – it will come out clean if done. Leave in the tin for 5 mins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Cream together the butter and sugar for the icing with a spoon, and then beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
6. Once cooled, take a bread knife and cut the cake in half horizontally. Sandwich half the icing in the middle of the cake halves. Spread the other half of the icing on the top and sides of the cake (it doesn’t need to be perfect – it’s just to help stick the fondant on top).
7. Sprinkle a small amount of icing sugar on a cleaned work surface and roll the fondant out so that it will cover the cake and sides (about double the diameter of the cake). It should be roughly ¼ – ½ cm thick.
8. Flip the icing over the rolling pin and lift gently. Place on top of the cake and use your hands to smooth out any creases.
9. Use a knife to cut away the excess and continue to smooth it out.
10. Cut the ribbon to size (if using) and use a pin to keep it in place.
11. Use a drop of clear alcohol (vodka works best) to stick any sugar decorations onto the cake so they don’t fall off. If you use too much alcohol it will make the colour seep out of the decorations.
12. Write on a message with writing icing.
13. Slice and enjoy!