Sunday, 23 December 2012

Another Penguin Party

The original Penguin Party cake has always been my most popular cake. Whenever friends mention my blog it's always this cake that they find the most memorable. This year's Christmas cake, therefore, had a lot to live up to. I think I've managed to match the original festive fun!

Penguin christmas cake

Smoothing marzipan on a cake
My dear Nanna had kindly baked my two Christmas cakes a while ago and they have been left to mature (with plenty of added brandy of course!) However we only needed one cake this year so I decided to sandwich the two cakes together to create a really tall cake. I then gave the cakes the classic coating of apricot jam and marzipan using smoothers to ensure the marzipan had a very even finish which is a great base for the icing. I often mention my magic smoothers so I thought I'd take a photo to show you what they look like!

Covering a cake in sugarpaste icing
I find that it really helps to roll out an excess of sugarpaste when covering a cake - too little and it's hard to cover the edges without it folding or creasing. I lay the icing over the cake and using my hands start smoothing it down from the top to the bottom. I then use the smoothers again to ensure a really flat and polished finish. I always remember to follow my old teachers advice and clean the surface and tools between the marzipan and the icing as the oils in the marzipan leave a residue that could impair the icing.

Perfect! I could have just left it like this - but where would be the fun in that :)

Plain iced christmas cake with tartan ribbon

Making model penguins from icing for decorating a christmas cake
When I was a child I used to make things out of Fimo, a kind of modelling clay that sets solid once baked. Making figures from modelling paste is incredibly similar.

Making model penguins from icing for decorating a christmas cakeThe models themselves are just made from regular supermarket sugarpaste with added Tylo powder (CMC). Working this powder into the paste and leaving it to rest turns it from a soft and sticky icing into a very pliable yet strong gum that you can do fine work in and will also hold it's shape. This kind of work would be impossible without something like Tylo.

It's important to use good quality colouring pastes to get a really deep colour - liquid ones will just not work. I use Sugarflair colours. I did concede and buy the black paste, however, as I've found it's a pain in the ass to make your own truly black icing. I also use an edible glue to stick the different components together and reinforce them with dried spaghetti - everything you see is entirely edible - well except the ribbon!

I think I love the simple gold baubles and the fish shaped present the most. It's really the small details that make this cake what it is.

Merry Christmas Everyone! :D

Model penguins made from icing for a christmas cake

Model penguins made from icing for a christmas cake

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! Such a lovely penguin party. Seriously loved your cake. It’s just adorable. Loved the top little penguins placed. Planning to throw my son a penguin birthday party this time at one of local Chicago event venues. Will use your cake making idea. Thanks to this amazing post.