Over the past few months I haven’t been baking much, well the odd cake here and there but nothing to write about. That changed a few months ago when a work colleague asked if I could make her husband’s 60th Birthday Cake. As a keen Gardener she was looking for a Lemon cake that looked like an allotment. Looking for some inspiration I had a look for some ideas online and I had 2 options, decorate with Fondant icing or buttercream. It was decided to go with Fondant so that the cake wouldn’t be too sweet so I go t to work planning it all.
Basic things needed for any respected allotment –
* Vegetable patch complete with Vegetables
* Flower boxes
* Lovely little picket fence
Not a long list, but when you are contemplating making them from fondant it certainly feels like one. I made the decision to make the cake completely edible, which meant that the shed had to also be made out of cake. I would say that the cake was 99.9% edible, had to but some skewers in to hold up my tomato plants!
Part 1 of the plan – make some vegetables and Wellies.
When it comes to vegetable patches I am far from an expert so I decided to keep it simple. The list consisted of Carrots, Parsnips, Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Beetroot, and Tomatoes. Obviously I knew what they all looked like but trying to produce miniature vegetables from icing did prove to be a challenge. Every two minutes I was asking James, ‘what does this look like?’
Thankfully they were all easily identified by James, so on to the Wellies. Stupidly I though these would easier than the vegetables, but that was certainly wasn’t the case. I had 3 attempts until I managed something that resembled some kind of footwear, there could be a plausible debate as to whether they could pass for Wellies.
Part 2 of the plan – make the cake (easiest part!!)
Onwards and upwards, it was time to make the cake, which is something I could do with my eyes closed. I used the zingy lemon cake recipe from the BBC food website as I have used it in the past and it was pretty fool proof. As well as the 9 inch main cake I had to also make a miniature cake that in my head would become the shed. Cake turned out well, as expected as did the miniature one. The bonus was that there was cake left over so I could ensure the cake tasted nice before I spent hours covering and finishing it.
A cake may look good but if it tastes awful then it becomes a waste of time.
Part 3 of the plan – cover the cake and make it resemble an allotment
As the cake was going to be covered in fondant I decided on colouring some white fondant a lovely green colour, although not a dark grass green as I didn’t think that would look edible. I was more than happy with the outcome of the icing, the colouring was really easy and several hours of kneading later I had a lovely shade of green to cover my cake. Once the main cake was done, I turned my attention to covering the shed. Using some brown fondant I covered the mini cake and scored it slightly to make it look like wood. Then added a little window and a flat roof. I did want to do a proper roof, but the icing just wouldn’t sit properly so I had to go with the flat one, and it didn’t look too bad. I also made some little flower boxes, and also the beds for the vegetables.
With all the elements ready all I had to do was put it all together. Once it all came together I was really pleased with how it looked, I added the little fence and a gate, as helped to hide a few little imperfections.