Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rock on!

Love my family!  Being away from home and most of my family members can be especially hard so when I get the chance to spend time with them in England I get very excited about it.  Back in September we visited my aunt and uncle (mentioned before here and here).  Their son, his wife and their gorgeous baby boy were visiting from Canada and there was a hoopla in their honour.  My uncles family came over and family friends - there were over 20 of us!  We drove up on a Saturday morning and arrived just after lunch.  Just in time to hit margarita ville!  Don't worry, I was quite sensible - there was no mexican hat dancing, let's put it that way!

Dinner was a sweet sweet carb fest!  We had pasta, chilli on jacket potatoes, garlic bread, a mashed potato and cheese bake (I opted not to ask how much cheese was actually in it - best not to know!), swedish meatballs (IKEA style), fried rice, and a few salads (gotta get your 5 a day).  I had two, yes two (don't you judge me) big plates full.  I had to, I couldn't get everything I wanted all in the first helping.  Then there was dessert...

I had mentioned to my aunt that I would be bringing cupcakes for dessert (any excuse to make and eat cupcakes) and thought in honour of the newest little family member I would make some decorated with little baby footprints.  But then I remembered it had been my cousin's birthday a few days earlier and I thought - as he is a guitar player, I could hone my skills in cake making, and make a guitar shaped cake.  I saw a recipe for one in my Canadian Living magazine and thought I might give it a try.  I have had a go with a few novelty cakes before but never quite like this.

First, I made 2 chocolate cakes in 8 inch square tins.  I followed the recipe from the Canadian Living magazine (my aunt in Canada gets me a subscription every year for my birthday-love it! and her!) with a few tweaks.  Here it is:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder (this I tweaked since I couldn't find any-I melted 2/3 cup of milk chocolate and reduced the oil by about 3 tablespoons)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of cold water or coffee (I used coffee)
1 cup vegetable oil (I reduced this by about 3 tablespoons)
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp cider vinegar (I used distilled malt vinegar and at first I was a bit worried but there was no taste, not even a hint of maltness)

Grease and line cake tins (I used sillicone ones and just lightly greased them).  Bake in 350°F or 180°C for about 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto rack.

While the cake cooled I made the icing.   A huge batch of buttercream.

1.5 cups of butter, softened
6 cups of icing sugar
1/4 cup milk or cream
2 tsp vanilla

Beat the butter until smooth and then alternately add the sugar and milk and finally beat in the vanilla.  The measurements can vary depending on the consistency I want.   Add a little more liquid or sugar as required.  This can also be made in advance, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Allow about an hour to stand at room temperature before use.

I cut out a template for a guitar from plain paper.  After the cake had cooled, I placed the template (in 3 sections-bottom of guitar, middle and the neck) on the cakes and cut them out using a small knife.  Then I divided and coloured the icing as I went along, so as to try and not make too much of a mess (bit late since there was icing on the walls, floor and probably ceiling!) 

I then needed a plate long enough to accomodate the nearly lifesized cake instrument.  My cutting board was too small, and so was a baking sheet.  So I got my saw on!  I found a piece of wood-with all the DIY going on around here it's not hard to find - and neither was the saw what with all the tools hanging on the kitchen wall!  I ended up with a good sized rectangle and covered it in foil.  I put the cakes together and used a little icing between each piece to secure.  Then I gave it a crumb coat.  A new thing for me.  Which worked a treat!  I have always just dived right in with the decorating - no preparation for this gal.  The crumb coat seals in all the crumbs and gives you an easy working surface for decorating.  Here she is:

I cheated and used a packaged chocolate icing (it was nearing 10pm at this point so I thought it would be allowed).  You could always add cocoa powder or melted chocolate the the buttercream (or at least I think so-I've never actually made chocolate icing).  I used about a cup of the vanilla icing and tinted it blue.  I then spread the different colours with a knife (I really need some icing tools) like so...

Then using about a quarter cup for each I tinted the icing red, orange and yellow.  I used about the same amount to tint grey and green.  I spread the white on the cake first.  The yellow for the flames went on next, followed by orange and red and finally, I did the frets in grey and used licorice for the strings.

Turns out my cousin doesn't really like a fuss!  Whoops!  We didn't sing or anything and kept all birthday kerfuffle to a minimum.  And everyone loved the cake and cupcakes, even without the baby feet decor!

Scrummy cupcakes with edible blue glitter!!


  1. I am so proud of your cooking abilities. I had often thought that maybe I had failed you in the kitchen, me being such a control freak. I guess you at least absorbed my love of cooking. Bravo, Chloe!

  2. Hey Shlobo, great post. Don't forget to use labels, they will help with indexing.

  3. I think this blog is great. I love your writing style. Oh and the food looks good too. Are you thinking of making your own wedding cake...Don't do it, that has Manic written all over it. Ask your Mom.

    Keep the stories coming