Little Man had requested a Lightning McQueen cake for his third birthday. I had toyed with the idea of just popping down to the supermarket for a cake, but then decided home-made would be cheaper, bigger and better quality.
Little did I realise what I had let myself in for: I asked my friend Jenny to help me. The logistics were a bit complicated- she ended up staying over with her 2 Littlins (an absolute treat for my 2 and her Little Miss), we needed to have all children, including the 4 month old baby asleep before we could comfortably start decorating.
I baked a chocolate fudge cake and a raspberry sponge (from raspberries from our garden) in the morning. Neither had risen as I had expected, the raspberry sponge looked especially flat at a mere 1.5 cm. Hence, we realised that these 2 cakes would not be enough, so I bought a hazelnut madeira cake at the local supermarket. This tasted very good and was easy to carve too.
At 10pm, with Little Baby still awake, we started. We had a model car, several pictures of Lightning McQueen from the Disney site and a few other blogs up as references.
I wrapped tin foil onto a large chopping board, then placed 2 smaller chopping boards wrapped in tin foil on top. The idea was to raise the cake slightly, so it would seem like the wheels were actually supporting the car. (This sort of worked.)
The bottom layer was the raspberry sponge, it was pasted to the chocolate fudge cake with chocolate flavoured butter cream (chocolate powder for the flavour and the pinkish colour came from us playing with some food colouring paste). When making up the buttercream with the whisk (nothing special at first, just the recipe on the box of icing sugar), it didn’t want to stick together. I had to kneed it by hand for it to make a nice gooey paste.
On the base I marked out the cut-outs with food colouring pen and carved slight half moons out of the side to give the car body a bit of streamlined effect. These half moon slithers then went onto the top to make the bumps for the 4 wheel arches.
The top section of the Lightning McQueen was cut out from the shop bought hazelnut madeira cake, also pasted down with buttercream.
Then the next step was covering the whole cake with buttercream. This gives the icing something to stick to and also evens out the surface (…or so the theory goes.) It was rather hard work. The buttercream did not want to stick to some of the freshly cut bits of the cakes. It just dropped off, with crumbs sticking to it.
I persisted. …and the results were pretty good.
Next step was the icing … (please come back tomorrow for the rest of the story)
Do you have any special tips and tricks for next time I attempt a special birthday cake?