I was asked by a close friend to create cake for her boyfriend’s father who as turning 50 and loved Mountain Biking. This was a scary commission as i’d never been asked properly to do anything like this before. The cake was inspired by internet pictures, my cookie cutter tin contents and generally my mad imagination.
The cake base was my usual classic victoria sponge with royal icing creations on top, plus some cakey mountains for added dimension.
- 225g Sugar
- 225g Stork
- 225g Self-Raising flour
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 250g Icing Sugar
- 80g Butter or Willow
- 25ml semi-skimmed milk
- Home2Bake Green food colouring
- Strawberry Jam
- 1 pack of bright green Royal Icing or use white with green food colouring
- Dr Oetker coloured icing (5 pack)
- White Royal Icing
- Turn your oven to 180 degrees C, ensure you have your shelf positioned to the middle of the oven and prepare two sandwich tins – greased bottom and sides with a greaseproof paper bottom also.
- At this point get out a muffin tin or cupcake tin. Grease 2 of the tin sections (this is when the mountains start to form! with Stork and set aside with the other tins.
- Cream together the Stork and sugar until pale and fluffy…I like using a food mixer because i’m lazy!
- Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time but always add a spoonful of sieved self-raising from your above quota to prevent it from curdling.
- Sieve in the rest of the flour and fold it through.
- As soon as it is all combined distribute the mixture between the two tins but reserve a small amount; level the tops with a wet spoon. Put the reserved amount in to the two cupcake tin sections and level their tops.
- Place in the oven for 20mins or until they are golden brown and spring back when touched…the ‘mountains’ will need to be removed from the oven 5mins earlier or so as they take less time to bake.
- Leave all the cake parts to cool in the tins for about 10mins then turn out on to a wire rack to go completely cold.
- Meanwhile make your filling; combine the butter with the icing sugar in a food mixer, pouring the milk in gradually and slowly until the mixture is smooth and well combined. At this point I added the green icing so that the cake was green inside the cake too. The Home2Bake range is fantastic and you only need about the size of a pea for light green. I’ll let you judge the depth of colour but I tried to keep the grass icing a slight shade darker than the royal icing colour.
- I needed to trim one of the cakes down as it had domed and so reserved this bit to plae on top (creating more of a hilly effect). I also trimmed the two cupcakes and these created more 3D mounds for the top…you can see these in the image to the right of the grey mountains.
- Sandwich the two cakes together with jam and about half of the utter cream icing, then ice the extra ‘mounds’ of cake on top.
Once you have your basis of the cake the rest can be up to you. I used about 2/3rds a block of white icing which I then kneaded to a light green shade with the Home2Bake food colouring on a lightly icing sugar’d work surface. The food colouring can be purchased from Morrisons and come at about 2 for £3…a bargain considering how far they go and the intensity of the colour you get.
Roll out your green royal icing so that it covers the cake and more. Place your prepared sandwiched cake on a cake board and cover it in a thin layer of the green butter icing using a palette knife…it acts as your glue so don’t miss any spots else you’l end up with royal icing lifting up!
Lay the royal icing over it and gently smooth it over the mounds and edges. You now have your Teletubby-esque hilly cake basis!! It’s up to your how you finish it around the edging. I wanted a more spikey, grass-like approach so I cut away excess in zig-zags.
Now for the fun bits! I used to love playing with Play Dough when I was a kid which then progressed in to a love for Fimo and jewellery creations when I became a teenager; all thanks to my fabulously creative mummy. If you are anything like me you will LOVE playing with royal icing and gum paste. It’s malleable, enables you to be super creative and most of all it’s fun.
After browsing the web I decided the following things needed to be on the cake:
- Some sort of tree collage
- Mountains & rocks
- A trail sign
- A path
- A rucksack and water bottle
- Flowers and foliage!
- If you’re brave enough…a bike! (eeek!)
Here’s how I made each:
Trees: I have wonderful friends who buy me the best baking based gifts! My friend Nic bought me a mini Xmas tree cutter last Xmas and i’ve never used it. Coupled with a larger one I already had, I alternated between dark and light shades which I then refrigerated and ‘glued’ on with the butter icing through a tiny nozzle.
Mountains & Rock: I covered the two cupcakes with green and turned them upside down. I then mixed some black royal icing (about a pea size) with a handful of white, giving me the grey. I then wrapped this around the cupcakes and iced them on to the cake. Strategically placed white ‘snow’ was also rolled out and cut to shape with a knife. Any leftover grey can have some more black added to create the rocks. I left mine ‘marbled’ to give more texture and make them more realistic.
Trail Sign: The trail sign was made from mixing red and black together, leaving them marbled for a wood texture. Cut in to arrow signs, ice on the font with your small nozzle green butter icing and refrigerate along with the rolled ‘pole’ for the posts. A cocktail stick or cut down skewer goes through the post to create rigidity for the signs. These were then iced in to place and I rested the pole against the mountains to make it all more sturdy.
Path: The path consisted of green butter icing drawn on in a wiggle pah with chocolate flake toppings (from asda) sprinkled oer the top and any excess brushed off.
Rucksack & Bottle: These were formed form various royal icing colours and I made them more ‘cartoon’ like in their outline..i was aiming for more of a camel style backpack and a water bottle to compliment each other.
Flowers & Foliage: I used some small sugarcraft flower stampers in contrasting colours wit yellow middles to make them pop. The foliage was created with short bursts of green icing using a grass nozzle and then placing the flowers randomly in ‘gaps’.
A bike: This was a bit scary! It took my fiance to come downstairs and say “S**t, you’re getting good at this cake mallarkey!” for me to feel brave enough to try it. I used an internet picture to help me and then after refrigerating briefly I then iced it against the cake as if it was ‘resting’.
Overall this cake was great fun. It took about 4hrs in total and I found that working things out as I went made it more unique to my style of baking and my new sugarcraft skills. I find that trialing things can be more beneficial sometimes. I looked up some tutorials and then trusted my eye for what looks good to guide me.
Have fun and be prepared to look like the incredible Hulk by the end