When it comes to celebrations, the cake is so often the centre piece of the occasion. For as long as I can remember, my hobby has been to make novelty cakes for my children’s birthdays, school fetes and any occasion where there was an excuse!
It all started with a sailing boat for my son Max for his first birthday. Obsessed by healthy eating edicts, I carefully crafted a boat with a cream cheese icing sail, without sugar and flavoured only by honey. The blue boat was coloured by blueberries boiled and strained to avoid food colouring or additives. If all this sounds like a huge effort to go to, it most definitely was, and the irony lay in the fact he went to another of his little friend’s first birthdays the following week, where there was an almighty chocolate cake with tons of sugary icing that he of course devoured!
Since this life lesson, I have not had the slightest concern in allowing sugar to slip in to recipes, for after all, what is a birthday party without a little bit of sugar? In line with the themes of parties that have come and gone for Max, now 14, and our little girl, Georgia, now 7 – there have been many cakes of different shapes and sizes with everything from pirate ships and treasure chests to trains and a fairy garden.
One of the biggest challenges was a request for a replica Nerf Gun for Max’s 11th birthday when all his friends came to Treseren armed with nerf guns and those foam blue and orange bullets. We found them for months afterwards turning up in the camellias and rose bushes!
We have had lots of fun creating cakes, with the children helping with everything from mixing to cleaning up!
Recently I have branched in to making cakes for grown up friends –
Including Mary, a fabulous Art Director who we surprised at the beach with a butterfly cake, laden with fresh fruit.
Then there was the birthday cake creation for my friend Lynda’s 50th, finished with delicate real flowers…
And we went up another layer for my mum’s 70th birthday celebrations at Treseren. There was a serious amount of chocolate in this birthday cake, and an autumnal theme inspired by her October birthday. We held a wonderful family celebration at Shepherds House and the cake became the centrepiece!
For her seventh birthday a couple of weeks ago, Georgia gave me the challenge of creating a mermaid cake for her Mermaid and Dolphins swimming party. Conceived with a lot of sugar work, sea glass shells and a wave were positioned around a mermaid tail. This one had to be assembled on site at the pool party as everything was precariously balanced!
I so enjoy the process of creating these special celebration cakes – I hope this snapshot of my baking creations gives you a little inspiration if you are planning a party soon!