Although I find that for the most part baking is a good stress relief activity, for more demanding tasks such as birthday party cakes, a more balanced and relaxed mood is essential for ultimate success and so I knew that I had to do something to reduce my stress levels.
So first thing in the morning I popped over to check on the signet and then called the RSPCA (details of this saga can be found in my post ‘Swanning around’). Having finally arranged for a visit from an inspector, I was more able to relax and set about mixing the batter for Little Mudlets’ cake and it wasn’t long before the chocolate mixture was in a rectangular tin, in the oven.
Having given the construction of the Fairy Castle cake much thought over the last few weeks, I had decided that my best option was to make a rectangular cake (8” by 10”), then cut a smaller rectangle out of the centre, (leaving 1.5 inch wide walls) and, using a small scone cutter, use this smaller piece of cake to make the upper storey of the corner towers.
As luck would have it the cake was out of the oven just as the RSPCA phoned to say they were about 5 minutes away and so I was able to turn it out onto a cooling rack whilst I headed back to the school to meet the inspector.
With the signet at last being chauffer driven to the nearest stretch of swan free water (release it too near other swans and they would probably kill it), I was able to head home and start constructing the cake.
I cut the slab in half and then sandwiched it back together using vanilla butter cream. Next, using a template I had carefully measured and drawn earlier, I cut out and removed the middle section of the cake which was then used to make the tower pieces using the aforementioned scone cutter.
The tower sections were carefully stacked and then I had to leave the cake making to head into town to get the last few things for the party bags and some food shopping, so that we could feed Eldest Mudlet who was coming home for the party.
Back home and it was time to start icing the walls. I should mention at this point that icing cakes in not my forte, as I find the process fiddly and also can never seem to get the butter icing onto the cake without getting unsightly cake crumbs caught up in the icing. This time I decided to apply the icing in two layers, the second being a thinner covering designed, I hoped, to cover the first layer which would be speckled with the inevitable cake crumbs. This approach worked quite well, although there were still a number of crumbs visible but the vast majority were buried under the ‘top coat’!
I had made my cake board from the front and back sections of a cardboard box and covered it in foil. Next I used food colouring to paint grass and a moat onto some white paper which was then fixed to the foil board and then I covered the whole thing with cling film to protect it from the moisture of the cake and icing. Little Mudlet was thrilled with the scenery and was eager to see what her finished cake would look like.
Square Dolly Mixture sweets added turret detail to the cake, with the rounded ones placed along the walls to act as windows. Chocolate fingers made for an excellent drawbridge and tower doors. Little Mudlet was thrilled with what she thought was her finished cake and went up to bed happy and no doubt dreaming about her party.
Unbeknown to the birthday girl, I had one more magical trick up my sleeve and once she was safely tucked up in bed, I sprinkled silver edible glitter over the cake, giving it a fairy dust sparkle which made my little girls day when she saw it on Saturday.
Party bags, cake, candles and not forgetting the Mudlets, were all in the jap’ truck ready for the off by 9.15am and we set off for the venue which was the party room of a relatively close organic farm and farm shop – the Pink Pig. We were lucky that the weather held and the Mudlets and 8 of their friends were able to enjoy a tractor/trailer ride to see the pigs and piglets, had the chance to hold some of the animals and then feed others before heading back to the party room for lunch ….. after thoroughly cleaning their hands that is.
Once the last of the guests had been collected, Eldest Mudlet offered to take her sisters across to the play barn and zip wire area, so that they could run off some more steam, giving me chance to pack the cake and presents away in the truck. I also took the opportunity to have a good look around the shop before rounding my three girls up and heading for home, where I hoped to indulge in a coffee, a sit down and a well earned rest.