Friday, 26 October 2012

The Icing On The Cake

So it was The Hub's birthday and, with a little help from Baby, I made him a cake. 
A Panda Cake!
This is not news, exactly, but following an enquiry from someone on Facebook, concerning the icing I used, I've put this post together.

Really, I should make my own icing. I know how, but lack of cooperation from a certain little person that day, eventually put paid to that one!

I don't have a recipe that I use as such. Usually, I just put some icing sugar in a bowl and mash in dairy free margarine, first with a fork and then with a spatula, until there is a fairly stiff mixture. Then I add a dash of warm water from the kettle to make it spreadable. 
The food colouring I meant to use!
Cocoa goes in at the icing sugar stage (if needed) and food colouring just before the water stage. I don't want too much liquid added, as the mixture can soon become too soft. Dr Oetker Food Colouring is usually my food colouring of choice.

On this occasion, being short of time, I opted to use a tub of Vanilla Flavoured Butter Cream Style Icing by Betty Crocker (I try to keep one in the cupboard at all times, just in case) for the white bits of the Panda and a tube of Silver Spoon Designer Icing for the black bits.
Note the word 'Style'.
Now the Betty Crocker icing I have mentioned before, but I think it is worth mentioning again, that Betty Crocker have two Buttercream products, which are sold in almost identical tubs. If you want one that's dairy free, you need to select the 'Style' version.

Usually, I just spread it on and use a fork to create a furry effect - when I'm making a bear cake, but this time I elect to try using an icing squeezy bottle. Unfortunately, the nozzle kept coming loose when I was near the end and it was difficult to clean out the bottle, so I'm not sure I would use it again, in a hurry!

This is the white version, bought (but never used) for a previous project!
The Silver Spoon Designer Icing was a product that I'd not tried before. Unfortunately the label said that it may contain wheat and gluten, so it's not exactly suitable for me, but I was pushed for time and decided I could avoid those bits of the cake!

I was hoping that the icing tube would be easier to use. The three nozzles were a good idea and stayed in place, but the icing seemed very firm and so I failed to get a good result. In the end, I just blobbed it out and then spread it over the areas that I wanted to be black, with a palette knife. I was lucky, in that I had just enough icing, in the tube!

Following that, I emptied some Moo Free Chocolate buttons and some Humdinger chocolate buttons into a bowl and got baby to help me place them in the appropriate places.  The bigger, Humdinger, buttons were used for the pads on the Panda's paws and the nose. The smaller, Moo Free, buttons were ideal for the smaller pads and the eyes. Of course not all the buttons ended up on the cake. I'll leave you to decide what happened to those! ;)

The next stage was to draw the mouth on the Panda, using Silver Spoon Writing Icing. Again this may contain wheat and gluten (can't believe I missed this before).

Ideal for an emergency!

The Writing Icing can be a little stiff to use, but is slightly easier than the Designer Icing. Before long, our Panda had a cute smile. And then all he needed was a pack of birthday candles (again Dr Oetker) to finish him off!

Et Voil√†! C'est finis!
From that moment on, all Baby wanted to do was eat the cake!!

One further product to mention is Renshaw's Cool Coloured Sugardough. This useful for any modelling work you want to do.
In Tesco
It comes in a pack of four colours: the primary colours and green. It's not a bad product, but takes a little bit of practice. I'm used to working with clay, but I found it quite tricky. The main thing is that you have to be careful not to let it get too warm, in your hands.

This icing came in very handy when I made a cake for Baby's birthday, last year. No piccie, unfortunately, but probably just as well!!

If you're on Twitter, and you want to see work by someone who's both dairy free and much more accomplished at this decorating game than I am, look out for Nicola@N1C79. She's really good!!

Now, anyone know where I can get a mould for my next project - a guinea-pig cake?

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you :) It was fun to be a bit creative - whilst fielding Baby!!