As I am sure you will all know there is a Royal baby on the way! If you don’t know, then where have you been?? It is all quite exciting and what better way to celebrate the arrival of a Royal baby than with cake! I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their ‘Royal Baby Cake Competition’ and they even sent me the icing and marzipan to do so. As if that wasn’t incentive enough to get involved in the competition, the first prize is a place in a class at the Peggy Porschen Academy, I couldn’t say no – I would absolutely LOVE to win that! All I had to do next was come up with an idea. I played around with a few ideas, but not knowing if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl made it a little bit more tricky. Last time I made a royal themed cake was for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I used a stencil on that cake, you can can see it here. This time I wanted to use the icing I was sent to create a topper for the cake, this isn’t something I do very often so thought it would be a good chance to get some practice in! In the end I opted for a red, blue, white and gold colour scheme for the cake. Red, white and blue for the Union Jack colours and gold to add a bit of royalty. For the theme of the cake I decided on ‘From Cradle to Crown’, after all this baby may be King or Queen one day! This is the result:
The cake itself is a fruit cake, I chose to make this for a few reasons, one is that it is traditional and the Royal Family is something that is traditional so I thought it well suited. Another reason is that the fruit in the cake bejewels the cake, especially the glace cherries, again making it suitable for a royal cake. This recipe is a quick and easy fruit cake, you can even alter the fruits that you put in to your taste, I used dried figs, sultanas, raisins and glace cherries.
To make the cake you will need (makes a 6 inch cake):
120g chopped dried figs
150g glace cherries (halved)
150g unsalted butter
175g golden syrup
225g plain flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
Rum (or brandy or sherry)
Heat the butter, syrup and milk in a pan until they are well combined and the butter has melted, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the figs, raisings, sultanas and cherries. Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and eggs. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6 inch cake tin and bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours at 150C until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the cake with a skewer several times and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of rum, repeat on the bottom. You can keep feeding the cake with alcohol a couple of times a day until you ice it.
To decorate you will need:
White ready to roll icing
Red, blue and yellow icing
Gold lustre powder
Now it is time to ice it. I was sent this lovely box of marzipan and icing from Renshaw Baking, it contained a packed of natural marzipan, a packet of white ready to roll icing and a primary colour pack of ready to roll icing that contained blue, red, yellow, black and green icing. Plenty to work with! Renshaw Baking are the royal warrant holders for their almond products so I definitely wanted to include marzipan in the cake. I decided to both fill and cover the cake with marzipan.
Heat the apricot jam gently with a tablespoon of water until it is runny. Cut the cake in half and brush both cut sides of the cake with a little apricot jam. Roll out the marzipan to about 5mm thickness and lay over the bottom half of the cake. Trim the edges and place the top layer on top. Roll out the rest of the marzipan, brush the top and sides of the cake with some more apricot jam and then cover the cake with the marzipan, trimming the edges and smoothing down to give a neat finish.
Next cover the cake in white icing, rolling it out to about 4mm, draping it over the cake, smoothing the top and the sides and finishing it by trimming the edges. I used a patterned rolling pin to create texture on the top of the cake and then brushed the top of the cake with gold lustre powder. Make the feet out of red and blue icing, make the soles of the feet and then add little balls of icing for the toes. Make the crown out of yellow icing, brushed with gold lustre and finished with red icing for the jewels. Make the cradle out of white icing, creating a base first, adding a rim around the top and a pillow. Make the baby out of marzipan, a ball for the head and a sausage for the body. Finish it by making a blanket for the baby, use the edge of a metal knife to create a criss cross pattern and brush the blanket with gold lustre powder. Finish both the cradle and the crown with a thin gold ribbon and use the same ribbon around the top of the cake, tying it in a bow.
Position the baby in the cradle, the footsteps and the crown on the cake so the footsteps lead from the cradle to the crown.
The final step is to finish the cake off with some ruffled butter icing on the side of the cake in red and blue.
To make the buttericing beat together 200g unsalted butter with 400g seived icing sugar until well combined. Divide the icing into 2 bowls. Add red food colouring to one and blue food colouring to the other and mix well. I like to use paste food colourings. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with petal nozzles with the butter icings. I like to use the Wilton 104 nozzle, it is also good for creating rose petals. Alternate red and blue around the cake moving the nozzle from side to side to create the ruffle as you pipe a line from top to bottom. You can read more about the ruffle piping technique here. The cake is now finished and ready to enjoy if you can bring yourself to cut it!
Thank you to Renshaw Baking for inviting me to take part in the competition and sending me the icing and marzipan. I found all the products really easy to work with and was very happy with the finish they gave. I also love the colours in the primary colour ready to roll icing pack, they are lovely and vibrant.