The first week in our new place was quite stressful for an added reason: I'd been asked to bake a cake for my Dad's 60th birthday! A table had been booked at the Marsh Cat in Parkgate and so I knew my cake would be coming out from the kitchen for all to see - argh! This was extra worry because the part of baking I really need lots more practice in, is the presentation...
Luckily, my Dads cake of choice is Victoria Sponge and so I knew it wasn't going to have to be too complicated, but I still did a practice run as I'd actually never baked one before (despite it being my favourite too) and to get used to the new oven (convenient excuses to have a whole victoria sponge all to ourselves!)
I used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website which I'd highly recommend. I've used it three times now (more on that in a later post) and it's not let me down. I just used strawberry jam (Bonne Maman to be exact) to sandwich it together and doubled the buttercream to spread over the top and sides.
We decided to keep the decoration fairly simple - my Dad is into amateur dramatics and originally I wanted to make the whole cake in the shape of the masks but decided that would be a bit too much of a stretch (next year will definitely have to have a go!) so just went for icing them on. It was a joint effort really as Mike made me a template to ice around for the masks. This is the finished article:
I also wanted to share this picture, despite not really wanting photos of myself on the blog, this just always makes me smile! A bit of background is required: when we first moved in, all the windows had been left open for days to air the place, and so we were plagued by flies... to begin with, we were quite humane and tried to shoo them out through the windows but it got the point where you'd think they'd gone, sit down and get comfy, and then hear an ominous buzzing starting up again...! At one point I thought Mike was going to fall through the window brandishing the Argos catalogue during a particularly frantic fly chasing session!
So we were taking some pictures of the cake in the kitchen and who do you think intruded on the first one...
I love his pose aswell, he looks like he is doing a little star jump! Cheeky little bugger.
Anyway, the cake was a success and I felt quite proud at seeing one of my creations come out of a restaurant kitchen with the candles all lit. The stress was worth it!