How I made my first ever birthday cake for my daughters 1st birthday

I’ve only ever made basic cupcakes and muffins before. I’ve never made any bigger cakes than that, let alone in a fancy shape with icing.
This was my first ever attempt, and you know what I’m proud of it!

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I decided to go for a classic Victoria sponge recipe, with a few slight changes such as adding some honey and food colouring.
For the filling I used double cream and strawberry jam.
I wanted a number one shape for my daughters first birthday and the very hungry caterpillar theme.
I did not know how I was going to design the icing and how i was going to arrange it, until the very last moment! The only thing I did know is that it was going to be covered in white icing and lined with coloured icing shaped balls!

I’ll admit, it was extremely hard work! The energy I needed to create it, and look after 2 young children at the same time.
I made the sponge and some of the icing at my parents house, so I had an extra pair of hands to entertain the children. I’m very thankful!
In between the mixing and the baking, we were playing buses, and potty training my little boy.
It took me up to 6 hours (the day before her birthday) and another 2 hours the following morning to finish it off.
I can tell you now, my pain surged, and I used days of reserved spoon energy (that I didn’t even have!).

What ingredients did I use?

Sponge
I doubled this mixture to make 2 separate number 1 sponges. Or you could just divide this mixture to make your 2 number one sponges.
Butter 8oz
Caster Sugar 8oz
Self raising flour 8oz
4 medium eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 teaspoons of honey
Food colouring (I used green and red)

(If becomes too dry can add a very small bit of milk, but I found the opposite, I had to add more self raising flour. I think that’s because of the honey and food colouring I added)

Filling
Strawberry jam (I just bought a jar and used how much I personally wanted to spread for the filling)
500ml of double cream

Icing decoration

White fondant icing 1kg packet
Green, blue, yellow and red fondant icing
Icing sugar 3oz
Butter 1oz

Method for the sponge

Step one
Preheat the oven to 180C

Step two
Grease the number one cake tin with butter, making sure get in all those corners.

Step three
Cream the 8oz of butter and 8oz of sugar together in a mixing bowl.

Step four
Now beat in the 4 eggs.

Step five
Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and stir, followed by the 4 teaspoons of the honey, and stir.

Step six
Sieve and fold the flour into the rest of the mixture.

Step seven
Add a few drops of the red food colouring. (When I made the other half of the sponge I choose a green colour instead.)

Step eight
At this point, when checking the texture and dropping consistency, add a little extra flour (if needed) to compensate for the extra liquid that has been added from the food colouring and honey.

Step nine
Add the mixture into your cake tin.
Give it a little shake to even it out a bit.

Step ten
Put it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Depending what your oven is like the time may have to be altered slightly. Have a check on it at the 20 minute mark.

Step eleven
Leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then begin to carefully go around the edge with a sharp knife to help loosen it, and can also gently give the tin a shake. Put on a wire rack to cool.

Step twelve
Wash the tin and repeat again from the beginning to make the other half of your number 1 sponge.

Method for the filling

Step one
Whip the double cream until it becomes a thick enough consistency that it doesn’t run. It will thicken may just take a while.

Step two
Spread the jam on one half of the sponge and spread the double cream on the other half, and put them together on top of each other.

Method for the icing decoration

Step one
Making the buttercream to cover the whole of the sponge to help aid the icing to stick to the sponge. A bit like a glue.
Mix 3oz of icing sugar with 1oz of butter.

Step two
Spread the buttercream thinly all over the sponge.

Step three
Knead and warm up the fondant white icing in your hands until it is at a more workable texture.

Step four
Spread a small bit of icing sugar on the table top surface, and begin to roll out the white icing.
It may be a good idea to measure how long and the width of your sponge is, remembering to include the height of it too, and then add a further 2 inches onto the measurement. So you know you will have enough icing rolled out to cover your sponge all the way around.
I would say the thickness should be maximum 5mm thick.

Step five
Roll the icing around the rolling pin and then roll the icing back out over your sponge.

Step six
Gently start to press the icing around each corner and bend, following the shape of the number one.

Step seven
Once happy with the icing around the number one shape, with a very sharp knife cut away the excess.
I did notice a few little tiny cracks appear on a corner, so I dipped a finger in some water and smoothed it out a little.

Step eight
Roll out the balls of coloured icing, red, green, blue, yellow.

Step nine
Add a little tiny bit of butter cream to give them a bit stickiness like glue to line the outside of the number one shape.

Step ten
To get a bit of orange / yellow colour for the sun, in my hands I mixed a tiny bit of red icing in with the yellow, kneading it lots until i got the desired colour, then rolled the icing out with a rolling pin.
Make a half circle ish shape with sharp knife and gently placed it on the cake at the top of the number 1. I didn’t add buttercream (the glue I call it) to stick it down until I was happy with it.
Cut out thin lines of the same colour to make the rays of sunshine. Followed by the same principle not sticking it down until it was what I wanted it to look like. I just re rolled the icing and re cut it.

Step eleven
To make the red apple, roll the icing out and make a circle shape. To make a hole in it to look like the apple from the story, use the end of a straw.
Once happy, I used icing sugar on the back of it and placed it at the bottom of the cake.
It was handy to have reference to the story or pictures so you could cut a better shape / create the colour you want.
The next is the green pear, roll, shape, cut, glue and position on.
For the plum, mix in blue icing with a bit of red, knead in your hands until desired colour, roll, shape, cut, glue and position on. Get a tiny bit of green icing to make the leaf that comes off the stalk.
To get the brownish colour for the stalk, mix a bit of green, blue and red icing in your fingers, then pull a bit off and stick on to create a stalk.

Step twelve
To make the hungry caterpillar, I rolled green balls for the body and a red ball for the head, and use icing sugar to stick it to cake.
The hungry caterpillar has yellow eyes on a green backing, only need a tiny bit to make the eyes, and carefully stick to the red head.
The antennas were made by using the left over colour icing made for the plum. Only need a pinch and stick on with icing.
A tiny pinch of green icing for the nose, stick on and finished!

All there was to do next, was to sing happy birthday, blow the candle out and tuck in!
To be honest I’m not much of a fan of eating birthday cake, but this was rather tasty! And that’s not me being biased, as I wouldn’t eat it if I didn’t like it!

When I added the candle I was ummm-ing and arrrr-ing where to dig it in. Decided to place it in one of the holes on the fruit.

Let me know if anyone does have ago at this, even your own alternatives. Be good to see, take a picture and share it with me.

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