I honestly never know what is going to come at me each day. My days are filled with random occurrences, challenges and tasks that sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Today as I was walking back from the doctors with Florence my sister text me asking if I could make her a cake. That’s all the information she gave me. When? What sort of cake? What for?
It turned out a friend of hers had been let down at the last minute by her cake maker for her son’s birthday party today and was in a bit of a panic. Libby had had the idea that I might be able to help and while I might have been a little uneasy about how well I could actually make a birthday cake (I mean, it’s okay when it’s just me and the kids who are going to eat it, frankly they couldn’t care less what our baking efforts look like!) it was a challenge I was prepared to take!
With such limited time and my questionable baking skills I decided to try and find a shop bought birthday cake and decorate it myself. The closest one in Tesco to the shape she wanted was this Unicorn Celebration Cake (£12). It looked fairly easy to remove the unicorn detailing and as it was white in colour It would be a perfect blank canvas.
I also purchased some cooking chocolate, TESCO vanilla fondant, green food colouring, some Kinder Buenos, Cadbury & Lindor Chocolate Eggs, some mini Cadbury eggs, a pineapple, and some fresh mint leaves.
From Unicorn to Dinosaur Swamp Birthday Cake
I started off by removing all of the unicorn detailing from the cake. It was mostly white chocolate and butter cream icing and was fairly easy to remove. As the chocolate parts were pointed and poked in to the sponge it did leave a couple of holes but that wouldn’t make too much difference as they could be filled in.
Next I spooned half of the pot of vanilla icing into a bowl and mixed in a couple of drops of the food colouring. I wanted a fairly pale green and because of the effect I was going for it didn’t really matter if some parts were greener than others.
Using a spatula I spread about 2 heaped tablespoons of the buttercream across the top of the cake and then proceeded to cover the sides too, using the blunt side of a dinner knife to smooth over any particularly bumpy bits. Again, it didn’t matter too much about it being super smooth – just as long as the edge of the top was.
I roped Sean in for the next bit as I’ve always been a bit useless at melting chocolate and the drip bit made me a bit nervous! He melted the chocolate over boiling water and added a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier.
Pouring it on was a bit of a joint effort as I was so worried about ruining the cake! We poured it into the centre of the cake and allowed it to spread out and drip down, pouring more on in the parts which weren’t dripping enough! I think we might need a bit more practice on this front!
I then added the larger eggs (with their bottoms cut off at different angles using a hot knife, so they’d stand!) along with the whole smaller chocolate eggs around the top of the cake.
For the greenery I cut varying sized leaves from the pineapple and stood them up around the eggs and added some sprigs of mint by simply poking their stems into the cake.
Next I sprinkled on some flakes of Kinder Bueno which Florence had ever so enthusiastically bashed with her (clean) toy hammer to create a bark effect.
Once the initial decoration was done, it was time to move the cake from its original cake board to a large round one.
I used the remaining chocolate to cover the silver board and also help make the cake stick to it! Sean carefully lifted the cake into the centre before I added some final touches to the swamp decor. A couple more eggs, leaves and Bueno crumbs were scattered around the board along with some artificial ivy I had in a craft box.
Finally all that was left to do was add the dinosaurs!
I think they look quite at home there don’t you?
I was really surprised by how easy it was to transform the original Unicorn cake into this dinosaur Swamp birthday cake and the whole decorating process only took about an hour! Not to mention the fact it cost a fraction of the price paying a cake maker would cost!