Novelty 80th Birthday ‘Garden’ Cake

This cake is a simple victoria sponge cake, decorated in sugarpaste, butter icing and water ice.  The decorations are hand made using a mixture of sugarpaste and marzipan.

Ingredients (The Sponge)

Using the following quantities make the sponge as in (Victoria Sandwich)

12oz (340 grams) Soft Margarine
12oz (340 grams) Caster Sugar
12oz (340 grams) SR Flour
6 Eggs
Vanilla Extract
Two 7″ x 11″ rectangle cake tins greased and floured
13″ square cake board

For the Decoration

8 oz (230 grams) Butter
1 lb (455 grams) Icing sugar
1.5 lb (680 grams) white sugarpaste (Fondant)
Seedless Jam

4 oz (115 grams) icing sugar
Small amount of marzipan
Sugarpaste in various colours
Candy Laces
Selection of food colours
Green Colour Mist Spray

Take the white sugarpaste and roll it out to the size of the cake board.  Dampen the board with water and cover with the sugarpaste, smoothing from the centre out to disperse air bubbles.  If you wish to create a more interesting edge, you could press a modelling tool into the icing to create a pattern.  Allow to dry for 24 hours.

Using the remains of the white sugarpaste roll out and cut out a plaque.  This could be any shape using a cutter, or creating your own from card and cutting around it with a sharp knife.  Also cut out some numbers if required.  Again you could use cutters or create your own template.

I used a letterpress set to create the name and then impress into the soft sugarpaste, but the piping can also be done freehand.  Leave the shapes to dry.

To add the blue ‘glitter’ to the numbers, take two tablespoons of icing sugar and add one or two drops of food colour.  Mix until the sugar turns blue.

Slightly dampen the numbers with water and place them in a bowl and spoon over the coloured sugar.  Shake off the excess and leave to dry.

Make any novelty figures and items you wish to add to your cake. See below for how to make the items on this particular cake.

Assembling the Cake

Using the cake tin as a template cut out 2 pieces of paper the size of the tin.  Using one piece, lay this onto the iced cake board in the position that the cake will sit, 2″ from the back edge of the board and evenly each side.  Mark round the edge of the paper with a round bladed knife or modelling tool.  Spray the board with the green Colour Mist Spray to create ‘grass’, avoiding the maked out area.  Do not worry if it does not spray evenly, it will give a more natural look to the grass when the cake is finished.

Make the butter icing by mixing sifted icing sugar into softened butter until soft and creamy.  You could add a little water if it is too thick and also some vanilla extract for flavour.

Take the two halves of the sponge and place one on top of the other, turning to create as flat a surface as possible.  I always use the underside of the cake as my surface to decorate as the ‘crust’ of the sponge sometimes lifts away making it difficult to cover.  I try not to trim my cakes unless they have risen very high.  Instead I use buttercream to fill in any gaps.  Spread the one piece of sponge with the seedless jam and the other with buttercream and place the two halves together.  Spread a little buttercream on the board and gently press the cake into it.

Then using a flat bladed knife, fill in any gaps with buttercream.

Decorating the Cake

Next take the second paper template and fold it in half diagonally.  Cut along the folded edge. Place on the cake and using a flat bladed knife, just cut into the surface of the cake to mark the shape from corner to corner.  Using some of the white sugarpaste, cut out a white triangle and cover one half of the cake, using buttercream to ‘stick’ it down.

Repeat with sugarpaste coloured with green food colouring.

Trim the edges to neaten.

Using buttercream, cover the front of the cake and smooth with a flat bladed knife.  Using a piping bag and a rose tube, pipe rosettes all around the bottom and top edges of the cake and also accross the top of the cake to cover the join between the green and white icing.  Finally cover the three remaining edges with rosettes until the cake is sealed in the buttercream.

The cake is now ready to be decorated.  Use your imagination to create a colourful and interesting design.  I try to incorporate items that relate to the recipient of the cake.  This particular person had a large piece of grass at the back of the house.  He also has a rabbit, so I used these items to create a scene relating to this.

Making Individual Decorations

To make the trees in tubs, take two balls of marzipan and flattened them top and bottom.  Cut them in two, but not quite in half and leave the two larger halves to dry.  When dry, paint them with brown food colouring. Using a little buttercream, stick them onto the board, but also gently pushing into the buttercream on the side of the cake.

Make four more marzipan balls and stick them in a line on the cake baord accross the front of the cake.  Using black sugarpaste, make a sausage and roll up to form a hose pipe and leave to dry.

Make the rabbit going down the hole by taking a piece of the green sugarpaste and shaping it into a cone.  Flatten the cone to form a base and using a ‘balling’ tool or your little finger, gently hollow out the cone.  Stick to the top of the cake.  Make a small ball out of brown sugarpaste and place into the hole with a little water.  Make the tail with a small ball of white sugarpaste and the feet with flattened oval pieces of white sugarpaste.

Using blue water icing (icing sugar mixed with just enouth water to form stiff peaks), pipe over the imprinted name on the plaque and using white water icing stick to the top of the cake in the white triangle along with the numbers.

Mix a little water icing and colour brown.  Then using a large writing tube, pipe a trunk up the side of the cake from the pot and branches growing out from it.  Use a little green water icing to pipe leaves onto the branches.  Finally using some red sugarpaste and a plunger blossom cutter, press a few red flowers onto the branches.  If you do not have a blossom cutter, small balls of red sugarpaste flattened will do equally as well.

The watering can is also modeled out of marzipan and then painted with green food colouring.

Using a little brown water icing and a large writing tube, pipe little dots all over the four rounds of marzipan to make molehills.

Make flower pots out of marzipan by hollowing out little balls and painting them brown.  The trowell and fork are also made out of marzipan.  The handles are painted with brown food colouring and the metal part is created by using silver food grade paint.  Pipe a little pile of brown dots on the top of the cake to look like soil and set the flower pots round it.  Place the trowell and fork nearby.

Make boots out of black sugarpaste, moulding them into a boot shape and hollowing out the legs.

The butterfly and ladybirds are made from red sugarpaste.  Black balls of sugarpaste flattened make the ladybirds’ spots.  Yellow flattened balls make the butterfly’s spots and a black sausage makes the butterfly’s body.

Finally using a little green water icing, pipe ‘grass’ round the rabbit hole to hide the join and also blades of grass on the top of the cake and add a few yellow flowers.  A candy shoelace snaking across the board looks like a discarded hosepipe.


Leave a Reply

All comments and names entered will be publicly visible to other site users, by entering a comment you agree to your comment and name being published.
Please see our privacy policy for more information.

Your email address will not be published.