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Recipes // Floral Birthday Cake

On Friday I slaved away in the kitchen for 9 hours (okay, 8 if you take away the trip to Asda to buy energy boosting supplies) baking my Nan a birthday cake. 9 hours does seem a bit long but I wanted it to be perfect and, in my eyes, it is.

I decided to use a Madeira Cake recipe as it is like a Victoria Sponge but it's heavier, meaning the cake wouldn't collapse underneath the icing.
Madeira Cake Ingredients:
175g/6oz of butter at room temperature
175g/6oz of caster sugar
3 eggs
250g/9oz of self-raising flour
2 - 3 tablespoons of milk
1 lemon, zest only

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 identical round cake tins, then line the bottoms with grease-proof paper.
2. Cream the butter and the sugar together, either with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk, until pale and fluffy. (Mine didn't look pale and fluffy, it looked more like breadcrumbs but go with it!)
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour before the last egg to prevent it from splitting/curdling.
4. Sift in the flour and gently fold it in to the butter mixture, with 2-3 tablespoons of milk so the mixture falls off the spoon.
5. Fold in the lemon zest.
6. Spoon the mixture out evenly between the two cake tins and smooth down the top.
7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Insert a skewer to make sure it's cooked.
8. Once the cakes are baked, take them out of the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing them upside down on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

As the cake is cooling you can get started on the filling!

For the filling:
A jar of strawberry jam (seedless preferably)
140g/5oz of butter, softened
280g/10oz of icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk
(OPTIONAL: a few drops of food colouring for a coloured frosting, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder for a chocolate buttercream, a few drops of lemon juice for lemon buttercream)

1. Beat the butter to a smooth/soft consistency in a bowl.
2. Sift in half of the icing sugar and beat it together with the butter until it is smooth.
3. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar and add a tablespoon of milk. Beat until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
4. If the mixture is a bit thick, add some more milk.
(Now is the time to add your food colouring/cocoa powder (sifted) and your lemon juice - beat it in until it is all incorporated)
5. Once the cake is cooled completely scrape the buttercream out of the bowl onto one half of the cake and, using a palette knife or the back of a spoon, smooth down until it is completely level. Don't forget to take it to the edges!
6. On the other half of the cake, scoop out two tablespoons of jam and smooth down onto the cake using the back of a spoon. You can use more jam if you require it.
7. Carefully put the jam half of the cake on top of the buttercream half.
8. Put the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes so the cake can set a little.

You can either leave it there and eat it or if you plan on using this recipe as a birthday cake then you have two choices to make. You can either cover the entire cake with jam using a pastry brush or you can make some more buttercream (half of the above recipe) and cover the cake with that. It is essential that you cover it with something, albeit jam or buttercream, as the icing needs something to stick to!

For the icing:
For the next part I went to HobbyCraft and bought a few things:
2 x Regalice Fondant Icing in Lilac (250g x 2) - £2.29 each, click here to view online.
1 x Renshaw Professional Fondant Icing in Duck Egg (250g) - £2.29, click here to view online.
Wilton Flower Fondant Cut-Outs - £3.29, click here to view online.
Culpitt Round Cakedrum, 12 inches - £2.99, click here to view online.
I also bought Ready to Roll White Fondant Icing in ASDA for £1.33, click here to view online.

You don't have to buy these things, of course. You can buy different icing (there is loads of colours to choose from!) and you can buy different cutters in a variety of different shapes but I chose these as I thought my nan would like them the most. You can also buy plain white icing and colour it using a paste food colouring but I bought mine ready-coloured as I didn't have time.

Icing directions:
1. Clean and dry a work surface then shake some icing sugar where you will be working. 
2. Open the packet(s) of the icing you will be working with and squash them together. Knead them for 2 minutes then squish it into a ball.
3. Sprinkle some icing sugar onto a rolling pin then carefully roll out your icing. DO NOT turn the icing over, roll only one side. Keep moving it as you roll to ensure it doesn't get stuck to the work surface. Count how many times you roll, for example, roll it 4 times to each corner then think about whether or not it will cover your cake. It took me three attempts to get this correct, for the first two times I rolled it out too thin and it broke when I tried to pick it up.
4. Once you have rolled it enough for it to cover the cake, carefully pick it up and drape it over the cake.
5. Smooth down the top of the icing with your hand, ensure you do it gently so you don't accidentally make holes in the icing or rip it.
6. When you smooth down the icing on the sides, brush your hand upwards, not downwards. If you brush the icing downwards with your hand you will be stretching the icing at the top.
7. Cut off any excess icing and keep it to one side for your decorations. At this point your cake should be nicely covered with your base icing!

Decorations directions:
1. Rip off small parts of the other icing colours you have and roll them out.
2. With your cutters, cut out different size flowers/hearts/etc in all of the different colours so you have more of a variety.
3. Roll the excess icing into a ball and cover with separate pieces of clingflim, along with the rest of your icing. This is so you don't dry out the icing and you can use it again another day.
4. Fill up a small cup/jug with a bit of cold water and dip a pastry brush into it. Ensure you knock off the excess water before brushing the flowers/hearts/etc with water. You can then stick the icing together to have little flowers on top of middle sized flowers on top of big flowers etc. You can have loads of different variations so have a little play with it. Please make sure you don't use too much water on the icing: this will make the icing very weak and it could fall apart. It also stays and drips down on the cake and you'll have water stains. It's also worth waiting a few minutes before you place them onto the cake, just to make sure the decorations stay stuck together and harden a little. It's also worth noting that the longer you leave the icing decorations out the more they will harden. This is good as they won't break as easy.
5. Very carefully place the decorations onto the cake, the backs of them brushed with a little water. Hold them onto the cake for a few seconds, just to make sure they stay in place.
6. Repeat 4 and 5 until you have a cake covered in icing decorations!
7. Photograph cake, feel a sense of pride and wish you didn't have to give it away!

I took this to my Nan's on Saturday afternoon. She cried with pride. I nearly cried when I put it down and saw some-one had already given her a birthday cake.


  1. awwww, it looks so cute and delicious! yummy! x

  2. I dont have time to do the recipe but judging from what I see, I can tell it must be delicious!You are very talented :)

    P.S: Fabulous giveaway here..

  3. Wow this is amazing! I would not want to eat it though because it looks too nice!


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