In my husband’s family, highly decorated birthday cakes are a bit of a family tradition. Since I have joined the family, I have seen a Welsh dragon, Thomas the Tank Engine, Kermit the Frog and Mrs Potato Head. I knew I had to live up to the challenge for Ben’s first birthday.
We took the opportunity to combine his first birthday with his dedication at church, and used the church hall for a little party – bacon sandwiches and birthday cake – after the service. This meant that our families only had to travel the length of the country once, and also gave us a good excuse for a party. Otherwise I think it would have been a quiet family tea.
I posted a while ago about watching Abney and Teal as part of Ben’s bedtime routine, and Tim suggested making an Abney and Teal-themed cake, complete with sugarpaste figures. I had covered a cake with royal icing before, and used stamps to make butterflies and flowers, but this was definitely a step up.
I had a huge amount of help and advice from one of Tim’s colleagues, who was actually kind enough to lend me her colours. The paste-style dyes were really easy to control, and I managed to mix together the right kind of colours. However, I couldn’t achieve the muted tones that make Abney and Teal so whimsical; lurid was more like it.
The cake itself was a simple Victoria Sponge. I then sandwiched it together with jam and buttercream, and used buttercream to cover the whole thing. I put that in the fridge to set, and rolled out the blue royal icing.
I made the characters using ideas from Bake Happy, but I have to say they were very complicated – I really tried, but both Abney and Teal looked a little on the portly side.
I think I managed Neep ok though.
I used a brown-grey colour to represent the island, and cocktail sticks to spear the characters in place. However, this didn’t entirely work to my satisfaction. By the time we came to cut the cake, Abney looked like he’d been drinking too much birthday booze.
Tim’s colleague kindly allowed us to use the sugarpaste flowers, and suggested grating the icing in a cheese grater to create grass. Little ‘rocks’ helped to cover up some of the lumps and bumps in the icing.
As a first attempt, I don’t think it’s too bad.