Leaf my cake alone - Happy 6th Birthday Hamish!

Inspired by Andy Griffith's Treehouse books this cake required a fair bit of structural engineering! Especially as it needed to be robust enough for Hamish to take to school.

I started with the fondant work, using molds for leaves and flowers and free hand to create small fondant books (edible pen is used for the book covers), string ladder steps, house planks and windows. This part was completed about a week before the cake was due to allow everything time to dry.

The base for the cake was a simple vanilla sponge cake, also made a day or so in advance so it had time in the fridge to firm up. I cut the cakes into shape for the tree base and the house component. The tree trunk was iced with chocolate buttercream (I used a toothpick to make the finish look a little like tree bark). I also iced the tree house with chocolate buttercream, and then covered it with light brown fondant. I attached the tree house to the base using wooden skewers.

To finish off the main cake I added some fondant 'planks' and windows to the house as well as the other fondant accessories (steps, flowers etc). To accompany the main cake, I made some chocolate cupcakes in medium and small sizes. Using a green buttercream frosting and adding the fondant books to finish.

I really like the finished product and apparently the kids at Hamish's school did too!

The Naked Cake

It's all the rage, so I had to give it a try! It's was way harder than I anticipated and I really should have done more research. Thankfully cream and edible flowers (courtesy of the lovely Brigid! at my fav cafe Alley Cats) saved the cake from being a total fail!

For the actual cake I used a simple sponge cake recipe (check out the go-to page for this). I used three small round pans and added a different amount of purple coloring to each. What I didn't consider was that the edges of the cake would not be purple, they were of course a slight brown from the baking process.

So the main lesson is that for coloured naked cakes, you need a cake cutter! Really you can make one large cake and simply cut smaller cakes out of it - that's how I will do it next time. Of course if you are doing a naturally coloured chocolate or vanilla naked cake (no colours) this is probably less of an issue. So to save this project from complete failure, I tried to carefully cut (free hand as I didn't have a cutter big enough) around the edges and top of each cake.

I then whipped some thickened cream with a little icing sugar and vanilla and used this, with some fresh berries between each layer of cake. With lashings of fruit and gorgeous edible flowers the cake turned out ok in the end!