Meet Roxy, my '80s inspired Punk Rocker Cake.
Roxy is my entry into the amateur category of the 'Cake on the Catwalk' competition at this weekend's Cake and Bake Show. The brief was 'London Fashion Through the Decades' and Roxy will be on display all weekend at the show at Earls Court.
I've absolutely no idea what possessed me to enter. I have no experience whatsoever of sugarcraft and decorating a cake. Nil. Nadda. Heck, I can't even pipe icing on a cupcake in pretty swirls. I've only entered one other cake competition in my life. And that wasn't exactly a roaring success.
Having said that, it was an incredibly enjoyable afternoon baking and decorating Roxy. But there ere problems. Yep, I know her eyes are a bit wonky. That'll be the recreational drugs this particular Punk Rocker was partaking in (don't do it kids!) and not because I was decorating at an angle (schoolgirl error). I had to free form the letters for 'The Sex Pistols' because I couldn't find my letter cutters despite turning the entire kitchen upside down. And there are more dents and fingerprints in the white icing than in a luxury jewellers window in an attempted Bond Street diamond heist.
Despite her faults, after five long hours baking and decorating I collapsed on the sofa with a welcome cup of tea and feeling just a little proud of Roxy and my first ever effort at sugarcraft.
Then I made the mistake of googling the winner of the same competition at the Manchester Cake and Bake Show earlier this year. Holy moly the winning cake was incredible. This cake was made by an amateur!? It is appears to be the equivalent of Fiona Cairns entering a sponge at a local village fete.
I now feel somewhat embarrassed of poor Roxy. Amateur category? 'Under Sixteen' category more like. I was a little tempted for Roxy to have an accident on the journey over and have to withdraw my entry. And thanks to the Formula 1-esque bus driver of the 328, Roxy did almost meet her end on the shiny jacket of the gentleman infront of me.
But then I figured we all have to start with cake decorating and sugar craft somewhere. Even if it is with a wonky-eyed, child-like Punk Rocker at the super prestigious Cake and Bake Show. Plus, with 'The Sex Pistols' on Roxy's shirt, I can only hope sex may just sell in baking.
If you fancy making your very own Roxy, here's how:
For the cakes (two 7 inch round cakes):
350g soft butter
300g caster sugar
500g self raising flour, sifted
4 tbsps softened apricot jam
2 oranges, zest only
6 large free range eggs
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
Splash of milk
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
Splash of milk
500g ready to roll white icing
50g each of ready to roll blue, red, green, black and pink icing
Five cocktail sticks
14 inch cake board
To bake the cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 7 inch round cake tin
2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy- this will take at least five minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if thr mixture looks to be curdling
3. Fold in the flour and gently stir in the jam and orange zest. Spoon into the prepared tins, level the top with a spatula and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
4. Allow to cool in the tin for around ten minutes before turning out to finish cooling on a wire rack
To assemble and decorate:
1. Beat together the icing sugar and butter, adding a splash of milk if needed to make a nice, smooth buttercream
2. Place a 6 inch plate in the centre of one of the cooled sponges. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut around the plate leaving 'ears' either side of what will be Roxy's face. Cover the top and sides with a thin layer of the buttercream
3. Roll out 200g of the white icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Using the rolling pin as support, lift the icing and ease it over the cake. Starting from the centre, use your hands or a cake smoother to smooth the icing over the cake and down the sides
4. Using a 1 inch circular cutter, cut out white icing circles for Roxy's eyes, followed by half an inch circular cutters for Roxy's irises. Finally use your fingers to form Roxy's pupils from a little black icing.
5. Use your hands to form Roxy's nose from a two inch strip of white icing. Roll a small amount of black icing into a sausage and curl into Roxy's nose ring. Use a sharp knife and blue icing for Roxy's eyelashes. Roll a little of the pink icing into a sausage shape to form Roxy's smile. Brush a little warm water on the underside of Roxy's features to stick to the face. Set aside Roxy's face.
6. For Roxy's shirt: use the six inch plate as a guide to cut a semi circle in the second cake. Cover in buttercream. Roll out 125g of the icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Using the rolling pin as support, lift the icing and easy it over the cake. Starting from the centre, use your hands or a cake smoother to smooth the icing over the cake and down the sides
7. Using a sharp knife, cut 1 inch wide strips from the blue and red icing to form the Union Jack on Roxy's shirt. Use either letter cutters or a knife to cut out 'The Sex Pistols' with black icing. Brush a little warm water on the underside of the Union Jack stripes and letters to stick to Roxy's shirt. Place three cocktail sticks in the upper side of Roxy's shirt and gently join together the two decorated cakes
8. Form Roxy's stud choker with a sausage shaped black choker and diamond shaped studs. This will hide the join between the face and shirt
9. For Roxy's Mohican: Cut a triangle 2.5 inch in height and 2 inch at its widest from the reminding cake. Spread with the rest of the buttercream and roll over the rest of the white icing sugar. Cut approximately 14-15 strips of green icing to cover the Mohican. Use two cocktail sticks to attach the Mohican.
- I used a further 150g of white icing to cover the cake board and Halloween skull shaped cake decorations for Roxy's earrings
- There will be left over cake. Think of it as a Baker's Bonus or pop it in a terrific trifle
- Are you off to the Cake and Bake Show? Enjoy! Please root for Roxy. I'll be the one hiding behind the nearest pillar to the Cake on Catwalk competition stand, trying to distance myself from poor Roxy...
*UPDATED* Sadly (but not unexpectedly) Roxy didn't win. And when you take a look at the calibre of the entrants, you'll see why:
Roxy can be seen in the bottom right of the 'Cake on the Catwalk'But what a lovely day out. Earls Court was packed full of home bakers eager to learn the latest trends, be inspired by the professionals and, possibly, buy a life time's supply of cake sprinkles. There were some breathtaking cake designs and decorations. A great selection of producers, from the always welcome Outsider Tart and Flour Power City Bakery to exciting new discoveries such as Marriages Flour, Meringue Girls and NZ Gourmet Pie Company. And there were baking and caking celebrities everywhere. Eric Lanlard. Stacie Stewart. The always entertaining Paul A. Young. Britain's Best Bakery Judges Mich Turner and Peter Sidwell. Three generations of Great British Bake Off contestants: In the Press Room, Series One's Edd was chatting to Dan Lepard. James and Cat from Series Three were competing in the Sainsbury's Competition Theatre. Christine from the current Series was queuing for the loo while everyone was trying not to stare. Meanwhile, I had a lovely chat with Rob and Toby who explained that their lives haven't changed since the Bake Off has started to air and outside the Cake and Bake Show are barely recognised. Yet. Didn't make it to the Show this weekend? Pop 'Manchester' and '4-6th April 2014' in your diary. Meanwhile, coming soon on What Kate Baked will be interviews with Rosemary Shrager and Mich Turner from this weekend's Show.
Note: With thanks to The Cake and Bake Show for a Press Pass to the Show. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.